It figures that Californian Robert Loibl would favor DDT—he owns a pest-control company—but his new experiment is something else again. Loibl, 60, and his wife, Louise, of North Hollywood, have begun eating DDT, 10 milligrams a day in capsule form, which they estimate is roughly 300 times more DDT than the average person might pick up in his daily diet. The Loibls are nearing the quarter mark in a 90-day program of ingesting the stuff and profess to feel line. In fact "our appetite has increased; we feel so great," says Loibl.
The point exterminator Loibl is bent on making is that DDT is not deadly, as so many Americans seem to believe, but, rather, a benefactor of mankind, "an old friend" and a harmless one. Obviously the Loibls expect to come out of the test feeling chipper and all the better for it.
Perhaps they will. Perhaps even birds and other animals would survive similar tests. But the more pertinent point is not mere survival but the insidious, destructive, staying power of DDT, which in the case of human and animal life adversely affects eggs, offspring and future generations. If the Loibls were younger, say, and about to raise a family, their experiment might well touch their children and grandchildren on down the line with steady degenerative effect.
WILL THE REAL JERRY...
Guess who is coming to play baseball, the Detroit Tigers told the world. None other than Wide Receiver Jerry Levias of the Houston Oilers, who told them he was tired of football. In fact "I don't ever want to go back," he said. "I'm tired of getting belted around...the quarterbacks haven't thrown to me because of jealousy."
So Detroit gave Jerry a uniform, and the newsmen took a lot of pictures. "We do need legs in this organization," said General Manager Jim Campbell. Said Head Scout Ed Katalinas of Levias, "He's got two big items on his side, unadulterated speed and great body control. He has what we call an infielder's body. However, he has to condition his arm. We have to find out if he has major league potential. After three weeks or so he'll know and we'll know."
Well, they know now. United Press International, checking out the story, called the Oilers in Houston, they called Levias' home and the real Jerry came to the phone. "This is the greatest hoax I ever heard of," he said.
Back at camp in Lakeland the other Levias turned out to be 23-year-old William Douglas Street Jr. of Detroit, a full-time sports buff and part-time impostor who said he just wanted the chance to show them what he could do. "I was going to tell them the truth," he said. "I began to feel a little guilty when they started taking all those pictures."
So Street didn't make the team; the Tigers bought him a first-class air ticket back to Detroit (the coach section was full) and closed the episode. And anyway, they noted with a certain touch of" moral righteousness, the kid had his chance. He had difficulty hitting and fielding, there was no zip in his arm and he didn't really run too fast. Couldn't have made the team even if he'd called himself Ty Cobb.