Small wonder the stewards and their findings have been inconsistent. As for their penalties, we wonder if it might be wise to revive the old disqualification rule: if a jock's number comes down, it comes down all the way—not to second, but to last. And stiff suspensions would be a sure cure for frivolous tries at winning a race in the movies.
Politics and love, as waged by the French, have long mystified the non-Frenchman, and he will be equally mystified at what they are now doing to bridge. They have dragged it from amongst the tea sandwiches and off the commuter trains where it belongs and are taking it to court. L'affaire, says the French bridge magazine, Le Bridgeur, is "too complex" to report on, but we're going to try.
Two years ago a Mme. Albarran, widow of a bridge star and owner of a bridge club, accused two other celebrated players, Bourchtoff and Delmouly, of "forming too close a pair" (i.e., cheating). Almost immediately things began to not happen. Bourchtoff and Delmouly, surprisingly, did not sue for slander. The F�d�ration Fran�aise de Bridge did not allow them to play tournament bridge for a year for not revealing the accusation. And it has not allowed Mme. Albarran to play any tournaments for two years, presumably for having created a scandal.
Mme. Albarran, obviously the member of this group who likes a little action, is now taking the F�d�ration into court on grounds that it has caused her "prejudice, personally and professionally." She refuses to discuss it further ("My lawyers won't let me; I don't know why, but they won't"), and neither will Le Bridgeur, La F�d�ration, Delmouly or Bourchtoff. This undiscussed case, resulting from an unexplained accusation, will soon go into court, with a former Prime Minister of France, M. Edgar Faure, representing Mine. Albarran. M. Faure is described as helping with "'one aspect of the case, which aspect is not divulged," because, Mine. Albarran says, "I asked him. And also for a thousand other reasons."
There now, Bridgeur: what do you mean, "too complex"?
SOME RAIN DID FALL
Seminole Indians staged a mock rain dance on the edge of the parched, smoldering Florida Everglades last weekend and—as if truly on call—the showers came. They were scattered but gave relief to weary fire fighters who had battled the blaze across 60,000 acres of Everglades National Park (SI, June 4). By Sunday, park spotter planes reported all clear.
But even as relief came to the Everglades, fires flared afresh on its west coast, threatening the National Audubon Society's 6,000-acre Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary 30 miles south of Fort Myers. The fire had burned 100 acres of the sanctuary's 900-year-old cypress forest, the last big stand of virgin bald cypress in the U.S. Rallying to the new threat, local citizens provided bulldozers and draglines, and firemen worked side by side with state foresters.
At 3 p.m. Saturday an inch of rain fell, and this time the white men danced as the fire, 100 yards from the nearest big trees, subsided. But it still burns underground in the dry peat and could pop up again anywhere. The big rains, badly needed to end the danger and bring wildlife back to the parklands, still did not develop. "These scattered showers are welcome," said one ranger, "but what we need is a real frog-strangler."