The Black Beauty types who envision every horse knee deep in green pastures never ask who is paying for the acreage, floating the horse's teeth and checking on the worming. In truth, most of them know nothing about horses at all and regard them as outsize cats or dogs available for petting. Horses, like most people, have to work for a living, be it on the racetrack, in the show ring, at a riding academy or, horror of horrors, in a rodeo. Well, horrible, according to Miss Alice Herrington, president of the Friends of Animals, Inc. Miss Alice has never seen a rodeo, but that is inconsequential. Miss Alice is out to abolish rodeos, and, in the bargain, upstage rival humane organizations, for if there is one thing most humane groups enjoy better than fighting cruelty it is fighting each other.
Miss Alice has been notably successful. Almost unnoticed, Ohio has passed a bill outlawing bucking straps and electric prods—which, in effect, has outlawed rodeos—and New York may do the same.
Indeed, her literature is alarming. "Is Pain Your Pleasure?" inquires a draft for her latest brochure, rather like the Marquis de Sade. The bucking strap, it goes on to say, is "placed in the area of the large and small intestines and kidneys—and in the case of male horses, whether stallion or gelding, in the genital region—then tightened agonizingly by a man pulling on the strap with his full strength." Horsefeathers!
As Gerald Dalmadge, director of field services for the preeminently sane San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says, "One wonders if some people should take a lesson in anatomy." Dalmadge says further that the poor, abused bucking horses are among the most spoiled animals in the country. "Those broncs," he says, "work only 10 seconds a day and get the best of food and care." It's plain economics. Most rodeo entrepreneurs keep their bucking horses fit because they represent an investment. Moreover, George Williams, editor of the Rodeo Sports News, points out that last year 40 animals required veterinary treatment (in the course of more than 500 professional rodeos) while 364 cowboys went to the hospital.
Race Driver Ken Miles, 47, died instantly last Wednesday when a J-type Ford prototype he was testing went off the track at Riverside, Calif. Miles was a marvelously narrow, bony man who loved music, talking, cats, theater, gardening and automobiles. It was a great pleasure to have been driving behind him to the Sebring track last March and to observe him pull off the road to examine a flowering tree before he went on to the business of winning the 12 hours of Sebring.
The death of a race driver is to be received with a certain formality. He is in a line of work which obliges one to be ready for it. However, Ken Miles died with a debt owed him. Before Sebring, Miles won the 24-hour Continental at Daytona. If he had won at Le Mans, too, he would have completed an amazing sweep of three consecutive major endurance races.
Miles went to Le Mans with the powerful Ford team that took the first three places there in an unprecedented American victory. He and his co-driver Denis Hulme led more of that race than any other Ford: Miles himself exceeded the 1965 lap record five times in his share of the race. He was leading at the end when the Ford management slowed him down for a side-by-side finish with their second-running car driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Anion. But what had been intended as a dead heat was adjudged a McLaren-Amon victory because Ford overlooked a Le Mans rule.
Lloyd Ruby, Miles's co-driver at Daytona and Sebring, a man who rarely speaks at all and never with the slightest emotion, said last Thursday in a raw and broken voice, "There'll never be anybody to win all three of them. There'll never be a chance again." In fact, it is proper to consider that Miles did win all three of them.
Trick Golfer Paul Hahn says he will drive 600 golf balls inscribed with the word "peace" into Viet Cong-infested jungles during a two-week visit to Vietnam next month. Hahn says he doesn't expect the strategy will change the course of the war.
Mitch Miller and Santa Claus notwithstanding, the booboisie nowadays free-associates beards with beatniks, Vietniks and civilrightsniks. So when bearded Ted Erikson, 37, a Chicago research chemist whose intention it was to become the first to swim the 32 miles from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco, was pulled out of the water two miles short of his goal, reporters were puzzled to find he was—well, sort of square.
"About that beard," one said. "Do you have a cause?"
"Oh, that thing," said Erikson, stroking it. "That's to protect my shoulders. When you're in the water a long time you grow a stubble, and when you swing your head from side to side you rub your shoulders raw."
According to the distinguished British publication Nature, the recently concluded World Cup soccer matches may have been fun to watch, but if their intention was to determine the best team in the world, they didn't.
Nature reached this conclusion by means of a Poisson distribution, more frequently used in calculating interstellar relationships but also pertinent in determining, say, the number of color blind people in Newark or how many of the telephone calls the White House receives in a month will be wrong numbers.
Nature used a Poisson distribution of the form P(n) = e[-q]q[n]/n! with q = 1.234, to describe the distribution of scores by teams in the cup matches, and claimed that the very fact that it was applicable suggested that the teams were "much of a muchness in talent and their scores were independent of each other." Finding next that the chance of a draw on any one occasion was 27%, Nature said that if teams were equally matched "the chance that the result will be an active injustice to one of them will be 73%."
Nature's remedy: copy the World Series and let the winner be decided by a best-of-seven series Or, should the present system endure, no team should be declared the winner until its score exceeds that of its opponent by three standard deviations of Poisson distribution. In this case, Nature says, "it might be necessary to design the game so that it would be practicable for one side to score 100 goals or so within the limits of endurance of the spectators.... Such a change could easily be brought about, perhaps by widening the goalposts or by abolishing goalkeepers."
Or by playing basketball,
BOWDLER IN KENTUCKY
There is this campaign in Kentucky to dignify the crappie, a favorite panfish. Minor Clark, commissioner of the Fish and Wildlife Resources Department, is insisting that all employees identify the fish as the croppie a spelling that conforms to the more popular pronunciation. This way, he says, no one will be embarrassed writing it or saying it. Oh, come on, Clark, don't be such an oss.
UPWARD AND OUTWARD
It was Casey Stengel who observed some years ago that Japanese ballplayers would never make it in the big leagues because their fingers were too short. The Stengelism no longer applies: Japanese fingers are growing longer, for the very simple reason that so is all the rest of them. Pete Newell, athletic director of the University of California, just back from his fifth basketball clinic in Tokyo, reports that Japanese basketball players, who used to stand around 5 feet 10, are now going 6 feet 3 and 4.
On a national average, young Japanese adults are two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than their prewar counterparts, and six-footers are no longer a rarity. The reason: better and more plentiful nourishing food—a widespread popularity of milk, butter, cheese and eggs, and more protein for growing children. Today the Japanese are consuming 20% less rice but three times as much bread, seven times as much milk, 2.5 times as much meat, 2.5 times as many eggs and twice the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables as before the war. Well, the Japanese may be growing taller and longer-fingered, but over the last few years Americans have indicated that they are not to be left behind. The American Seating Company announced this year that the standard seats in U.S. auditoriums and stadiums had to be increased from 16 to 22 inches.
After a neighborhood baseball game, our Cincinnati correspondent intercepted one of the participants, his 8-year-old son, and this dialogue ensued:
Father: How did you do?
Son: Real good.
Father: Get some hits?
Son: No, I struck out.
Father: Oh, well, you must have done good in the field then.
Son: No, nobody hit one where I was.
Father: I thought you said you did good. How can you say that when you strike out and don't catch one ball?
Son: I was a good sport.
PLUGGING THE MUSCLE DRAIN
Can a two-year-old university located in a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. ever play in the Rose Bowl? Unquestionably, says Gordon Shrum, 70, chancellor of Simon Fraser University (enrollment: 2,000), which is named after the man who explored the Fraser River to its mouth in 1808. Shrum, a Ph. D. in physics, hopes to have Simon Fraser in the AAWU by 1976. The catch: Simon Fraser is the only university in Canada awarding athletic scholarships.
There is little likelihood that other Canadian schools will follow Shrum's lead. The Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union, of which Simon Fraser is not a member, recently voted 52-0 against athletic scholarships. Dr. G. Edward Hall, president of the University of Western Ontario, sums up its position: athletic scholarships, he says, are "as insidious as they are disruptive."
Shrum claims that Canada is losing athletes and coaches to the U.S., often for good, while his detractors argue that universities are for study and sports are for relaxation. Even student bodies are arrayed against Shrum. Thundered the University of Guelph's Ontarion Item: "A university must be known by its education reputation alone, and athletics are not education."
There is, however, little doubt that Canada is suffering a muscle drain. At least 160 Canadians are now on football scholarships in the U.S., although most of them will return to play pro ball since they were steered south by the U.S. coaches of the Canadian Football League. For example, the Ottawa Roughriders have 30 prospects playing in the U.S., the British Columbia Lions 29. The reason: Canadian pro teams may carry only 14 American imports; the rest of the squad must be homebreds, and if they are going to be any good they've got to get U.S. coaching.
Football players are not the only ones lured south. Besides scores of hockey players, about 30 Ontarians alone are attending U.S. colleges on golf scholarships, and the number of Canadians in the U.S. on track scholarships is estimated to be as high as 400.
The antischolarship forces' solid front hardly ruffles Shrum, a crusty type who was retired against his will from the University of British Columbia. This fall Simon Fraser has scheduled games with some of the smaller U.S. junior colleges and within a few years it expects to be meeting Idaho and Montana.
But, says Shrum, "we have to maintain our education standards. We're not looking for athletic tramps. The U.S. can have them."
THEY SAID IT
•Bob Devaney, Nebraska football coach, objecting to the NCAA's 1.6 rule, which says, in effect, that a student must have a C-average to be eligible for an athletic scholarship: "It's not the American way. This is supposed to be a land of opportunity. Should a boy be kept out of school because his parents couldn't afford a TV set and because they didn't have a lot of political and educational discussions at home?"