The itinerant Alces americana twice swam across the Hudson River. Near Poughkeepsie she took a dip in a lake, ventured into a garage sale and ambled through the grounds of an IBM plant. She clambered over a four-foot fence flanking Interstate 84, whereupon police stopped traffic so she could make it safely across the highway.
The moose continued south into Westchester County, until she suddenly changed direction and swam north across the New Croton Reservoir and dropped in on a state park in York-town. Unfortunately, last Friday night the moose was struck by a car near Shrub Oak, a village 30 miles north of Manhattan. The moose hobbled off into the woods, and since the biologists found only a small amount of blood at the scene, they assume she was only slightly hurt. The game of cat and moose goes on.
—ROBERT H. BOYLE
Sign of the Times
Here's an injury for the 1990s. San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn fractured the tip of the middle finger on his right hand on May 26. This occurred when he slammed the door of his Porsche on his finger while he was on his way to the bank.
Cut It Out
Over the last few weeks of NBA and NHL playoff broadcasts, we have heard this phrase several zillion times: "He would have gotten that call during the regular season." No, he probably wouldn't have gotten that call during the regular season. So announcers, please stop saying that.
Going for the Gold
"How have we allowed the Olympic Games, the epitome of openness, democracy and free debate, to be turned on their moral head?" British journalists Vyv Simson and Andrew Jennings ask in their recently published book, The Lords of the Rings, an account of corruption in the Olympic movement. The book criticizes the International Olympic Committee as a whole and IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch in particular for paying lip service to the ideals of fair play while commercializing the Olympics in order to increase profits.
In one section of the book Simson and Jennings report that Samaranch, the man who will preside over the Barcelona Olympics, was a supporter of General Francisco Franco during Franco's repressive 36-year reign in Spain. Samaranch is portrayed as a political opportunist who was willing to side with the Francoists in order to advance his career in the Spanish government. Last week Samaranch and the IOC filed a libel complaint in Lausanne, Switzerland, the home base of the IOC, against the authors. The IOC refuses to comment on the specifics of the complaint. It is now up to a magistrate to decide whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
It is unclear why Samaranch is so offended by the book that he filed a complaint that can only serve to further publicize it. The report of Samaranch's Francoist past was not a revelation, at least not in Spain. Virtually all successful Spanish businessmen of Samaranch's generation were Franco sympathizers—if they hadn't been, they would not have been successful. Much of the rest of the book's criticism of Samaranch centers on his burning ambition and his use of family wealth to insinuate himself into positions of power. Of course, if these were crimes that could be tried in a court, few members of the IOC would be found innocent.
Much of The Lords of the Rings is naive. For instance, Simson and Jennings criticize the IOC for arranging photo opportunities. They are aghast not because the photo op is part of modern politics, but because to them it marks the IOC as a political organization. The book also details the much-publicized allegation that gifts and perks have been given to IOC members by cities bidding for the Games in hope of influencing the members' votes. Readers learn that IOC members stay in luxury hotels and live pampered lives.
The book's theme is that the Olympics are about big money. If Samaranch ascended to the presidency of the IOC partly through back-room deals and favors, it would hardly be surprising. Such information is only disillusioning to those who cling to the illusion that the Olympics are, or ever were, the epitome of "openness, democracy and free debate."