Montreal can also be buoyed by a comment from Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher who more or less counters the downer we gave you last week from Gaius Maecenas, the Roman statesman who warned cities against spending too much money on Olympic preparations. Epictetus says, "But some unpleasant and hard things happen in life. And do they not happen at Olympia? Do you not swelter? Are you not cramped and crowded? Do you not bathe badly? Are you not drenched whenever it rains? Do you not have your fill of tumult and shouting and other annoyances? But I fancy that you bear and endure it all by balancing it off against the memorable character of the spectacle."
Way to go, Epictetus.
OSCAR FOR SPOT NEWS
Sports-conscious Elliott Gould, who did a highly commendable job as the doctor-turned-quarterback in the motion picture version of M.A.S.H., was one of those picked to salute the victors in last week's Academy Awards show. When the magic words, "And the winner is..." were intoned, Gould said, " Indiana 86-68." He got a big hand, either from Hoosier fans in the audience or those who wished they had stayed home to watch the NCAA finals on TV.
Sailplanes, those lovely aircraft that soar silently with the wind, are fun to fly, and drifting around the sky in one of them is not usually considered a daredevil adventure. But now Dr. Brennig James of Great Britain proposes to soar along the south face of Annapurna, in the Himalayas, and ride air currents up to its 26,502-foot summit. He'll use a Motor Cirrus, a small glider with a retractable engine. Dr. James' flight will begin from an airstrip 35 miles south of Annapurna at an elevation of 2,900 feet, where his craft will be towed into the air. Once aloft, he'll use the engine to gain enough altitude to get into a high-rising thermal. Then the engine will be tucked away and Dr. James will hop along from thermal to thermal at about 12,000 feet until he arrives in the neighborhood of the rocky Annapurna ridge.
Because there are few detailed maps of the area, photographs taken by mountain-climbing expeditions have been used to analyze the structure of the ridge and its probable wind conditions. Three spurs running south from the main ridge are expected to provide helpful updrafts, but on a calm, cool day it may be necessary to fly as close as 30 feet to the stone face of the mountain in order to find an upward flow of air.
The photographs also show persistent cloud cover at the 12,000-14,000-foot level. At this height Dr. James could suddenly find himself cut off from visual contact with the ridges, peaks and valleys below him. Too, the high-altitude, high-speed jet stream passes not far above the Himalayas, and some meteorologists say it may flow directly along the Annapurna ridge, which could create severe turbulence.
Put it all together: tiny aircraft, towering mountains, uncharted country, heavy clouds, high winds. It's a far cry from lazing along in the sun over the plains of West Texas.
Dedicated to Cookie Lavagetto