TOO MANY MIRACLES
Scoring a hole in one in Japan is an expensive proposition. More than a round of drinks is expected of the lucky golfer. A lavish geisha party is more like it.
Inevitably, an enterprising businessman saw money in the custom and established the Nippon Hole-in-One Club to insure members, at $3.51 a year, against the cost of the party, which can run as high as $2,500. But, given Japan's mad passion for golf, the club found itself in trouble. Management figured optimistically that only one in every 1,000 players a year would ace a hole. In the first year 54 of the 12,000 members did. Nobody knows whether Japanese are just better short-hole players than other golfers around the world or whether the home courses are tailor-made for holes in one. The Nippon club does know that it is bankrupt.
CALLING A SPADE
Bob Short, who has reduced his holding in the Texas Rangers to 10% and would like to own not a smidgen of minor league property, has produced a solution to his problem that, odds on, is the worst of the season. He wants to scramble the top minors in with the 24 existing big-league teams and pretend he has created a 40-team major league omelet.
Unlike most menu writers, Short knows exactly what he is preparing. "Naturally, the quality of talent will drop," he says. "You won't have a team equal to the 1927 Yankees, but you will have teams that compete with the Yankees of these times. Because of the competition, somebody will finish first and somebody will finish last. There's a top and bottom to every manure pile."
Simulium venustum has been dead and gone since July 4, and no regrets. But his cousin, Simulium nyssa, has come to take over his job, which is biting campers and fishermen in the Maine woods—and there are regrets aplenty. S. nyssa will be around until he earns his just reward in a killing frost.
Both S's are black flies. In the good old days of polluted streams and heavy concentrations of DDT, S. nyssa had stayed pretty much isolated. Then somebody got the bright idea of cleaning up the Penobscot River to encourage a salmon renaissance. The salmon came, and so did S. nyssa, in clouds.