One of the worst single fish kills in the history of the U.S. occurred last week in the Hudson River between the city of Hudson and Albany, N.Y. Warming water temperatures, coupled with enormous loads of raw sewage from Albany, Troy and other municipalities, caused dissolved oxygen values in the river to sink to almost zero in the 30-mile stretch. According to Everett Nack, a commercial fisherman who was the first to report the kill, "It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen." Most of the dead fish were herring, which run in from the Atlantic to spawn. There were also shad up to five pounds and fingerling striped bass. The toll is estimated to be at least one million.
At the moment his affairs are as complicated as his name. Is he Muhammad Ali or Cassius Clay? Technically, the True Champ, as he refers to himself, is still suspended from the Muslim faith and, although he officially has no right to the name Ali, he prefers it to Cassius. Ali's period of banishment expired in March, and by now he should be back in the Muslim fold. Instead, as in boxing, he is still out in the cold. Last week Justice Black of the Supreme Court rejected a bid for permission for Ali to leave the country briefly so he could fight Joe Frazier in Toronto.
Actually, if it were all up to Ali, he would just as soon go to jail and serve his time. "I'll be 31 when I get out if I go this year," he says. "Then I'd be free to travel. I'll be the first black champ that the white man hasn't whupped. They can't stop the True Champ. Joe Frazier and the world, watch out when I get out." The idea that Frazier might beat him in a fight is a joke to the True Champ. "All this talk about Smokin' Joe being too much for Ali is nothing," he says. "I ain't brainwashed by a little boy who made his bad reputation by beating a 300-pound blimp. I know Joe Frazier would be a perfect opponent. He'd be coming at me, smoking, and I'd be hitting him with the fastest jab ever seen in the ring, a jab that's quicker than a blink."
With no fight in the offing and prison still uncertain, Ali is awaiting his fate comfortably in Philadelphia. This past winter he got a reported $225,000 advance for his autobiography, and he promptly bought a 15-room mansion. He says every room has a TV set and a telephone. "I play with my little girl, work around the house and clean out the swimming pool, that's how I spend my time," he says. "And, you know, I enjoy it. But it won't bother me to go to jail, if that's what has to be."
THE SKI WAR (CONT.)
Each year about this time the ski people come down from the hills for their annual convention, and they prove each year that they don't get along any better in pinstripe suits than they do in parkas. Last week, when the U.S. Ski Association session in San Francisco ended, about the only unanimous action taken was to elect Snowshoe Thompson to the National Ski Hall of Fame—which was pretty noncontroversial, since Snowshoe has been dead for 64 years.
Otherwise, typically, the delegates argued a lot about amateurism in racing but resolutely did not settle the issue, even after hearing a warning from International Olympic Chief Avery Brundage that all cheaters would be cleansed from the Winter Games. Then members voted out USSA President Earl Walters in exchange for IBM executive Charles Gibson, who promised a more responsible fiscal policy. The USSA needs it, having just arranged a $180,000 loan from a Cleveland bank, which is handy, but the association still has not faced the fact that ski industry manufacturers, who used to support USSA, have now found it much easier to pay the racers directly.
WHITTLE WHILE YOU PLAY
Suburban Stamford, Conn. is hardly Indian country, but it is the headquarters for Remo Cipri, a 44-year-old artist who specializes in totem poles. Cipri is now at work on a pole depicting his vision of American sports.