They also gaped when Terry Lentz presented his catch: six groupers and nine smaller fish, totaling 106 pounds. Terry swept the field for individual honors even though the Americans as a team came in behind Spain and Italy. Now his only worry is about the future. "When you become a skin-diver," he says, "it can make a mess of any plans you have for a career. Plenty of good guys have blown plenty of good jobs because of skin-diving. It's a bug. I'll probably end up as a fireman like Don Del Monico...24 hours working, then 48 hours off for fishing."
Otto and the Night Visitors
The natural-born enemy of the starling is man. The natural-born friend of man, who must perforce share his trees, his TV antennae and his suburban peace with nightly droves of gabby, untidy starlings, is Otto D. Standke, The Bird Man. By his own admission, Otto is the most persistent, dedicated and resourceful foe it was ever a starling's lot to meet. And last week, for a $4,000 fee (contingent upon success), he was in New York City's starling-infested suburb, Mount Vernon, to prove it.
For 50 trying years Mount Vernon's town fathers despaired of solving their starling problem, but Otto Standke and his "copyrighted, proven method" of dispersing the clubby birds have given them new hope. "I got my fill of starlings out in Great Bend, Kans. 10 years ago," said Otto, a vigorous, wizened little man of 71� years. "There are 230 elm trees in the six-acre park there, and every summer they used to fill up with starlings. The city got the idea they could scare 'em off with aluminum owls, but I told them they couldn't. So they went ahead anyhow and spent $1,500 on those owls, and the starlings liked 'em so much they took to roosting on their heads." Outraged, Taxpayer Standke captured 24 Kansas starlings, put them in a barn and for two months carefully studied their habits. "Before long, I knew all about them birds," says Otto. "And I didn't learn anything from any tomfool books and I wasn't guessing. The next year when the starlings came, I went out and cleared that park of every one of them, and they haven't been back since." Nor, says The Bird Man, have any blankety-blank starlings returned to perches they occupied in Louisville, Wichita and Indianapolis before being shooed away by Standke. The remarkable fact is that responsible officials in these cities bear him out.
How, asked good burghers of Mount Vernon (and a score of reporters), did he do it? "I do it," said Otto, "with a secret method that I ain't going to talk about. People ask me to chase birds and I chase 'em, but I didn't come 2,000 miles to tell you how it's done. You don't think a man who's as old as I am and has a secret worth half a million is going to blab it all away, do you? No, sir, not The Bird Man. I don't hurt them, but when I chase starlings, they stay chased. I can drive 'em out of one tree and into another if I want to. I can drive 'em out of Cleveland and into Cincinnati if I want to. I can do anything with 'em because I know all about 'em, that's my secret."
That, of course, was only part of his secret, Otto amended. The rest, he said, was in a gray metal box, eight inches square and 24 inches long, fastened shut by two padlocks. And it would stay locked, vowed The Bird Man, whenever there were prying eyes around trying to see inside. A girl reporter shook the box and said its contents sounded to her like a fist-size rock bedded down in some dry Kansas dirt. "Anything you can see," said Otto, plainly relishing the wonderment on all sides, "is merely for show and to make monkeys of all them fellas who hang around watching me while I work."
And with these fateful words, The Bird Man went to work on his enemies. Leaving the double-locked box at his hotel ("There'll be too many monkeys out there a-looking at me"), he fairly raced up and down the streets of Mount Vernon, banging together two aluminum paddles and, on occasion, plinking a metal pipe suspended around his neck by a woven cotton rope. Clang, blang, twang went Otto D. Standke, probing the darkening back yards and driveways over which the starlings slumbered. Chatter, screech, whirr went the birds, put to flight from their bending branches. And while children and grownups alike traipsed along behind, breathless at the exhausting pace, Otto denounced the whole shebang: "All this noise-making and carrying on ain't got a thing to do with chasing starlings ; I do it because it's a good show."
After three nights of this procedure, neither the starlings (whose numbers had not appreciably diminished) nor the people of Mount Vernon could make out whether The Bird Man was a wizard, a spellbinder or an outright charlatan. But one thing seemed clear. Faced with the continuing nuisance of pesky, defiling birds, the solace-seeking suburbanites of a neurotic century are willing to try almost anything—or anybody—that offers them peace.
The International Approach
Three hundred representatives from 38 countries arrived in Helsinki, Finland this month to hold six days of cool ( Helsinki temperatures 57� to 68�, a brochure advised) conference on a hot and difficult topic: the role of sports and physical education in the complex world today.