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Now is the time, between the World Series and the bowl games, to scout next year's crop of sporting calendars, and 1978 looks like a winner. Four to 10 dollars will get you a laugh a day, a lesson a month or a year's supply of memorable moments.
According to its creator, Milford Poltroon, the world's first Wretched Mess Calendar for Canines is also for people, or maybe for people who are treated like dogs, but mainly "...for dogs who think they are people." Almost every illustrated day has its dog, and every dog its day—Spitz Day is in Dachsember, Weimaraner is in Januairedale, followed, of course, by Februhairy. There are 12 signs of the "zodogiac," and all this doggerel will obviously make dog haters want to start taking fire hydrants apart or at least voice the opinion that dogs are lucky they can't read. Barf, says Sandy.
Pumping Iron, the book on body building, sold some 200,000 copies. The movie was also a hit, and there's even a dance called Pumping Iron. Now you can hang it all up with Simon & Schuster's The Pumping Iron Calendar 1978. It weighs in at six ounces, so you won't pump any muscles picking one up, but when you do you'll see a photographic collection of colossi pumping theirs, headed, of course, by the incomparable Arnold Schwarzenegger. Portraits are annotated with bons mots to build bodies by—"You see your deltoids and you've got things in there, and you could stick who knows what in there and it would get lost," says bulging Mike Katz, a former Mr. America.
The hardiest perennial in calendardom is probably Britain's The Badminton Sporting Diary. It is not distributed in the U.S., but the publisher, Frank Smythson Ltd. (54 New Bond St., London W1Y ODE), accepts checks in American dollars. The sporting diary was founded in 1894 by Major Fitzalan G. Manners for the "gentry's use" and named after the country seat of the Dukes of Beaufort, which was also the site of England's first badminton game. It is a pocket-sized compendium of sports, from Ascot Gold Cup winners to the walking champions of the British Isles, but there is a lot more—a wine guide, breeders' table, several pages for noting wagers on horses, and trivia such as the longest tug-of-war contest (2 hours, 41 minutes), and an account of a golfer who played the Weston-super-Mare links on Aug. 25, 1912, decapitating with his ball a "skylark in flight." Prices vary according to whether the diary is bound in imitation leather, sheepskin or pigskin.
For empty wall blahs, SI contributing photographer Eric Schweikardt offers Sailing 78, which features color photos of racing boats ranging from California's High Roler to Russia's 378-foot four-masted Kruzenschtern towering over a tiny Sunfish at the Bermuda start of the tall ships race. Long Island Sound's Love Machine, plus the start of the Miami-Nassau race. A variety of photographers contribute to World Racing '78, which zooms in on the Grand Prix—the cars, the drivers, the famous circuits—while Universe Skiing Calendar 1978 depicts downhill/cross-country/water/hang-glider and a few hot-dog daredevils. The striking Sierra Club Trail Calendar is essentially a guide to wilderness areas suitable for climbing, camping, skiing, scuba diving, kayaking and, as Colin Fletcher's introductory essay says, "growing."
Instructional calendars and diaries abound. While keeping tabs on golf, tennis, fishing and sandlot baseball schedules, you can get tips from the pros in a series of calendars published by Gibson Greeting Cards, Inc. Jack Nicklaus reviews the fundamentals of a good swing in 12 illustrated lessons; Billie Jean King concentrates on "...the major stroke-making requirements in doubles"; Arthur Ashe focuses on "...strokes and tactical situations most common in singles play"; Johnny Bench teaches the basics of catching, throwing and hitting; Curt Gowdy brings you "...a little closer to your next meeting with one of nature's greatest athletes—the game-fish." Duffers have their days, too, thanks to cartoonist Gary Patterson, who captures the agonies and ecstasies of skiing, tennis and golf in wall calendars put out by the American Publishing Corp. Despair is dropping a pole from the lift; teamwork is a serve to the back of your doubles partner's head; frustration is landing a ball in the crook of a tree. Mild but pleasant stuff to get you through the year.
Chases' Calendar of Annual Events expands a 365-day year into more than 2,300 occasions for merrymaking. It is a fascinating record of what man, the only animal that celebrates, chooses to commemorate. The 1977 edition (the new one was still on press as this was written) featured 31 listings for Jan. 1 alone, including the bowl games, a polar bear swim meet, a camping exhibition and an international chess congress. Chase gets many of its entries from promoters of special events such as Boris Karloff Day (Halloween, naturally) and I Gave Day (April 15). There is no charge for listings and no guarantee that your entry will be accepted. Take heart—National Ding-A-Ling Day made it.