"It's probably the raciest thing I've ever done," said Mike Hiss, rookie of the year in last May's Indianapolis 500. "It'll certainly give me a lot of exposure." The 31-year-old Californian was talking about being the first male nude centerfold in a new magazine called Playgirl. Hiss was in Indianapolis with his wife Arlene to pose for the picture that shows him covered only by his racing helmet. "That helmet is always good protection," Hiss said. When Playgirl Publisher Bill Hartford first proposed the idea, Hiss said, "My first reaction was, 'Absolutely not.' But after a while, I couldn't think of a good reason not to." After an instant negative reaction of her own, Arlene relented when she realized everything would be in good taste. She, interestingly, has been driving race cars longer than Mike, but she has yet to make a centerfold.
Not that it's hard. Using a basketball and little more for her protection, Linda Holeva, a 23-year-old graduate of Point Park College in downtown Pittsburgh, posed for the Pioneers' basketball brochure on a buffalo rug, then resumed her duties as the team's ball girl. The Pioneers don't play that well, but then who's watching them very much?
Wearing a solar topee, ex-Astronaut Neil Armstrong recently went to Africa in peaceful pursuit of the square-lipped white rhinoceros. Not moonlighting, Professor Armstrong, an occasional lecturer on environmental studies at the University of Cincinnati, observed the capture of a rhino that was immobilized by a drug dart fired from an air rifle. Always a man of few words, Armstrong said that this was the second great experience of his life. He did not name the first one.
The now-it-can-be-told department. At one point during the season there was a showdown in the Pittsburgh Steeler locker room. Or maybe it was a show off—and Frenchy Fuqua, the intended receiver on the now famous deflected pass, won as usual. "Everybody fat-mouths their rags," says Fuqua of the annual event, "so we have this playoff. With an announcer and all. They had a white hope, Jim Clack, but I put him away quickly. Clack broke out with powder-blue silk briefs. I countered with my red bikinis. He pulled on some zebra-stripe stockings. I laid my red panty hose on him. He cut back with blue velour pants. I broke out in plaids. He was fading, and I hadn't even got to the bulk of my dry goods. I hit him with the rest of my three-piece red, suit, with a blood-red turtleneck. Then my knockout stuff: three-inch-high-heel white boots, a white wool wraparound monogrammed coat, a glass cane. When I broke down my white, gangster-style hat on one side like only I can, that was it. No one keeps up with Frenchy Fuqua in the threads department."
Ms. Marie McArd, who weighs 98 pounds, pulled a 12-ton truck down a street in Bedford, England—by her teeth. As a crowd cheered, McArd clamped her jaws on a tow rope and the truck advanced 50 yards in three minutes. It took 30 more minutes and a life-giving beer to restore McArd's voice, whereupon she explained her strange mission: "I wanted to prove it could be done by a woman."
Football widows unable or unwilling to take Pat Nixon's advice on how to end their state of bereavement (simply watch the games, too, Mrs. Nixon suggested) have received solace from another source. Jay Cobb, manager of the Regent Theatre in Cedar Falls, Iowa, set up three television sets for the ladies in the lobby of his theater. Alongside the sets he placed a sledgehammer. On New Year's Eve he invited the women to anticipate the morrow's bowl games in any way they deemed appropriate. Cobb reports that they had a smashing good time.
Mount Everest climber Chris Bonnington confirmed a suspicion shared by many fathers. After returning from an excursion with his children, the British climber reported, "Going on a family camping trip with kids is infinitely rougher, infinitely rougher and infinitely more nerve-racking than any mountaineering expedition."
Toby Kimball, the prematurely bald substitute for the Kansas City-Omaha Kings (SCORECARD, Jan. 15), has somehow inspired a madness called the Toby Kimball Movement. A mushrooming fan club, whose motto is Bald is Beautiful, makes an infernal racket with air horns whenever Kimball gets into a game or scores a point. Hero worship has reached such extremes that someone stole Kimball's warm-up jackets the other night. Two days later Carlos Salazar, founder of the movement, received a telephone call telling him how he could ransom the sacred objects. The caller told Salazar to go to Toby's Market (no relation to Kimball) in Kansas City. There he was to go to the frozen-food section and put an envelope containing two tickets for the Jan. 9 game against the Knicks in the third frozen turkey pie from the top. Then he was to wait nearby in his car. Salazar did so, and presently a little girl appeared with the warmups, handed them to Salazar and explained that a man had given her $1 to make the delivery.
Belinda Green of Australia is the new Miss World. What does she plan to do with her $7,050 prize money? "Well, first of all I have to buy 52 boomerangs for my fellow contestants. Then I'll think of something to do with the rest." Blue Cross?
The Washington press corps, feeling worse for wear, had a present for outgoing Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird, who, according to the reporters' records, was undefeated and unscored upon. The gift: a football, inscribed simply, "Laird 194, Press 0." That's deefense.