SI Vault
October 25, 1965
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October 25, 1965


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"Saturday, Oct. 2.... It is 9:15 p.m. and I am sitting on the little balcony off my room at the Rome Hilton, high up on Monte Mario, the highest spot from which to overlook the Eternal City.... As one's eyes become accustomed to the begins to make out the jagged form of that granddaddy of all the stadiums of the world—the Roman Colosseum.

"On the edge of my balcony (for the sake of good reception) is a transistor radio which emits surprising volume. However, what I am listening to is not the ordinary radio fare of Rome at all.... I am listening to words of music from the other side of the world, from a stadium which is many miles away from the ancient Colosseum—the stadium at Gainesville, where LSU is battling Florida. The shortwave overseas broadcast to our armed forces came in very clearly.... Two bobbles within the five still did not keep the game from being one of the most gripping contests since Constantine bested Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge."


Though Luci Baines Johnson has a herd of hamsters in the White House, which is about as accepted as a hamster can get, the status rodent pet of 1966 may be the gerbil (pronounced "jerbil"), which Webster defines as "any of various Old World burrowing leaping desert rodents forming a subfamily of the vole family (Cricetidae)."

That does not sound too attractive, but the hamster surmounted a similarly dull dictionary description—"any of several thick-bodied, short-tailed Old World rodents (of Cricetus and allied genera) having very large cheek pouches"—and achieved vast popularity.

What the gerbil has going for him is the Creative Playthings catalog, which says that he is tame, does not bite or attempt to escape, is hardy, travels well, is clean, keeps his cage dry and odorless, eats anything, is curious and friendly and likes people. Few pets can match that.

You can get a hamster for $2, but a gerbil will set you back $8, and a mated pair goes for $15, plus shipping charges.

Luci Baines, get with it.

The annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville is always a 50,000-seat sellout. This year, with both teams on a rampage, tickets for their November 6 meeting are very hard to come by, even though there are 10,000 additional tickets on sale. These are seats planned for the Gator Bowl—but not yet built. The new stands will be completed on time, Contractor William E. Arnold Jr. has assured anxious officials of both schools. Arnold bought a block of tickets for the game and told his workmen: "These are your seats. Get them ready and you'll be my guests. If you don't get them ready, you won't have any seats."


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