Here's one to ask your group of fellow commuters when they assemble at the station bar: Aside from being sports stars, what do Y. A. Tittle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays and Roger Maris have in common?
The answer is that all five are novelists. With some assistance from Howard Liss, Tittle has co-authored a novel called Pro Quarterback, addressed to the young, and the others have turned out novels on baseball. Or so the jackets of their books, published by Argonaut Books, Inc., assert.
RETURN OF THE ICE AGE
One thing the advanced technology of the electronic age has done for yachtsmen is to make them practically immobile. A modern yachtsman who does things right is as dependent on the electric and telephone lines plugged into his marina berth as a human embryo is on the umbilical cord that joins him to his mother. Taking his ease in the stern sheets of a sleek $75,000 cruiser, a seafarer can watch the ball game on color TV and sip an icy martini while the infrared broiler in the galley works on his filet mignon and an electric dishwasher cleans up the mess from breakfast—but only if he stays tied up at his berth. Electronics have made it possible for any landlubber to navigate in a deep fog from the Grand Banks to the Leeward Islands. Fog and wind and tides are not what he has to worry about. The important thing is: Where will he get his ice cubes if the power is turned off? A company called General Thermetics now has come up with a lifesaving answer: "Weekender"—a handsome new refrigerator based, according to Thermetics, "on the well established 'eutectic' principle of storing up cold and releasing it later." With the Weekender on board, the company proudly announces, the yachtsman can keep ice cubes and frozen foods from thawing "for a full 48 hours after leaving dockside."
THE ESOTERIC SPORTS
Since pillow fighting is a British specialty with robust roots in the first Elizabethan era and beyond, it can be asserted safely that Clifford Walker, a Yorkshire farmer, is the world's champion. At 32, he never has been beaten since his first fight at the age of 16.
Pillow fighters seat themselves facing each other astride a larch pole that is nine inches in diameter and has been stripped of its bark. Each carries in one hand a sack filled with the fleece of a sheep, holding his other arm ready to fend off blows. The rules prohibit a contestant from touching the pole with either hand or dragging his opponent off the pole as he himself falls. Balanced precariously, with legs dangling, the objective of the pillow fighter is to knock the man facing him from the pole while remaining there himself. If both men hit each other simultaneously and fall to the ground, the referee declares it no bout. Two bouts out of three win the contest.
Efforts to defeat Walker have included that of a British television company, which hired a massive professional wrestler to challenge the 175-pound Yorkshireman. The TV people were embarrassed. Their champion was battered to the ground repeatedly. After Walker's brother defeated the champion of the village of Hebden—one Thomas Kitchin, who retired with ears "black, blue and bleeding"—Hebdenites tried a ruse or two to prevent any Walker from winning the annual event. Their most successful: delaying the contest until the Walkers had to leave to milk their cows.
So much for pillow fighting. Albert Bennison of County Durham, England is the new gurning champion of the British Isles. Gurning? It is the fine art of making ugly faces and has been a competitive English sport since 1267. In Bennison's extensive repertoire his best is the expression of an asthmatic bulldog.
There are some 25 million hunters and shooters in the U.S. today, almost 50% more than 15 years ago. One would expect, therefore, that shooting accidents would have risen proportionately. Wrong. The National Safety Council reports that shooting accidents have decreased 13% since 1950. And an insurance company, Travelers of Hartford, has come up with an even happier discovery. A five-year study revealed that hunting and shooting rank 16th on the list of accident claims resulting from recreational activities. Some of the more dangerous activities: swimming, golf, fishing, baseball, football, church socials, theater-going and concerts.
MAN VS. MACHINE