SI Vault
May 29, 1967
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May 29, 1967


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We know you know all about sending flowers by wire, but would you believe sending a bear by cable?

Last week the sheriff's office in a suburb of Albuquerque got reports that "a guy in a brown jacket" was trying to break into parked cars. Before the deputies got around to checking it out, Roger Thompson, a junior high school science teacher, had mounted a horse and lassoed the malefactor, who turned out to be this young bear.

The bear spent 36 hours in the Albuquerque zoo before state game officials dreamed up a good release site in the nearby Sandia Mountains. To save everyone a long, rugged truck trip, Robert J. Nordhaus of the Sandia Peak ski area offered the use of his 2.7-mile aerial tramway. The bear's cage was slung under a tramcar full of newsmen and carried halfway up the mountainside to a wild canyon. The cage was then lowered some 30 feet to the ground, opened, and the bear lit out. "I've never seen a bear go so fast," says our Albuquerque correspondent, who was along for the ride. "I don't know what he was thinking, but it might have been, ' Albuquerque's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.' "


Music, Carlyle said, is the speech of angels. If such be the case, the angels spoke volumes in Middletown, Ohio earlier this month, when Ed Kovach sat down at the piano. What they said is something else. Kovach's selection was Left Hand and Basketball, "an original modern contemporary musical work," by William E. Svarda, musical director of Middletown's Fenwick High School. Mind you, Left Hand and Basketball isn't any ordinary original modern contemporary musical work. It opens with Kovach, who is 6'5" and played center on the Fenwick High basketball team, walking onstage dribbling a basketball with his right hand. Then he goes over to the piano, bows, takes his seat and starts to play with his left hand, never once interrupting the dribble. The idea is that the bouncing basketball sets the beat, while Kovach rather frantically plays both the bass notes and the melody. "He's got a tremendous reach," says Svarda.

Kovach performed the piece twice. The first night he blew the palming of the ball, which is supposed to be the surprise ending, but few noticed it because the audience didn't know what was coming. The second night Kovach did a perfect palm. "The composition was well received," says Svarda. "It sounded even better when it was replayed on the radio. I was a little afraid the bounce wouldn't be heard."


Owning a Thoroughbred racehorse is keen. NFL franchises are rather amusing, too. But for a real neat plaything you can't beat a race car. It isn't the dough. It's just that with a horse or a team you can't stand around in ratty old coveralls with grease on your nose, drinking beer from paper cups, swearing with the boys and even magnafluxing a camshaft or two. And who can kick the tires on something like Damascus or Fran Tarkenton?

Consider Indy. Gasoline Alley is full of rich guys having the tax-write-off time of their lives. One of them, in a rare burst of candor after his car qualified well up the line last week, told how it works. Remember you read it here.

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