The art of pitching baseballs, it turns out, is a little something Sophia Loren picked up from American troops stationed in Naples during World War II—as she demonstrated when opening a sports festival near Rome recently. "I put one finger here," she said, "and another here, and look, a curve!"
Philip Roth has been vacationing in Thailand, where he recently submitted to an interview with Harry Rolnick, a critic for The Bangkok Post. Their conversation spanned several evenings and a number of topics, including the reception of Portnoy's Complaint and some consequent complaints of Roth's own, among them the income tax and Norman Mailer who Roth characterized as being in "the Hemingway style—self-aggrandizing, self-publicizing...." When at a Thai boxing match Rolnick suggested that Roth get up and take a bow, the author declined, adding, "Now if I was Norman Mailer I'd be up in the ring after the first bout, kicking away at the boxers in golf shoes."
On one of the Senators' off days, Ted Williams hopped a jet to North Carolina to film TV commercials for his Sears, Roebuck sporting goods line. He spent the morning hunting dove and quail, but didn't bag a single bird. He had no shells in his shotguns. It was closed season.
The Congressional Record has duly included the remarks of Congressman Morris Udall (D., Ariz.) that preceded the first Congressional basketball game. "We have had the yearly baseball games—the scores of which I decline to discuss," Udall observed, "and occasionally we have had unscheduled, impromptu boxing matches in the corridors. But at long last we Democrats have discovered our thing." He went on to reveal some of the Democratic strategy—the Agnew hook, for instance, which "involves intimidating scowls and feigned throws at the press table, followed by a wild charge to the south end of the court shouting slogans, epithets and five-syllable words. While the ball occasionally ends up in my mouth, 65% of the fans who have watched this maneuver approve of it...another key offensive play, in addition to the Reagan dunkshot, is the Haynsworth-Carswell shuffle. In this maneuver we keep sending in a series of second and third stringers, one after the other, until one of them scores. We are also working on the Goodell shift, in which the entire team lines up on the right side of the court. When the captain shouts the key word 'Senate,' one player sprints to the far left and then heads in for an easy basket...." All in all the speech was a rouser, but the Democrats lost the game in overtime, 13-12.
"If I missed, it was because I hit the arrow with my nose," explained Astronaut Walt Cunningham last week, and he did miss, quite a lot, in the course of the 12th Annual American Indoor Archery Tournament held in Detroit. Cunningham and rookie Astronaut Joe Engle were competing after just a month of practice. NASA Physical Conditioning Director Joe Garino reportedly put them onto it—archery, he claims, strengthens the fingers, which tend to tire in space. Despite being paired with professionals, Cunningham and Engle placed far back in the men's open team division, but they ranked well ahead in the affections of the audience, and Garino must have rejoiced to see the exercise those feeble fingers got signing autographs.
HEW Secretary Robert Finch, an ex-paratrooper, recently had a go at parakiting, a sport that involves being lofted by a parachute pulled by a speedboat. It took more time than it was supposed to for Finch to go up, but less time than it was supposed to for him to come down—a rope broke and the Secretary dropped 150 feet into Acapulco Bay. "It was great for my education," he observed, "but not for my health and welfare."
Cameron Mitchell, who plays Buck in TVs The High Chaparral, designs and collects golf clubs for a hobby. He also plays a mean game of golf, as he proved to his partner, Jimmy Demaret, earlier this month at The Champions Golf Club in Houston. "He told us he had an 18 handicap," Demaret said, "but he's much better than that." One of Mitchell's opponents, Jack Burke, was more impressed with his putter—which is taped, loaded with weights and bent like a submachine gun—and offered to buy it. Noted Mitchell, "I must own 10,000 clubs and a lot of them I made myself." Including the putter. "It bent when I got furious one day and banged it on the floor," he said.
"She has her own seasick tablets," said Queen Elizabeth's physician, and it is presumed that Her Majesty took them for the roughest crossing of New Zealand's Cook Strait she has ever made. Waves towering above the deck of the royal yacht Britannia battered the first officer, Lieutenant Commander D. J. Bird, who was trapped on the fo'c'sle. "I just hung on for dear life," he said when he finally made it to cover, bruised on the hands and about the face. Not so fortunate were three seamen aboard the Britannia's escort vessel, the Waikato; they were swept overboard and one of them was lost. Arriving at last at Picton, N.Z., Her Majesty, white-faced, disembarked and said, with some restraint, "I did not enjoy the experience."