Watching the World
◆ U.S. families feel staggered by a 5.7-percent overall increase in consumer prices during the past year. However, this is modest compared to many countries. According to figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Yugoslavia’s rate of inflation was a giant 19.7 percent. Greece had 13.1 percent; Finland and Spain, 12.1 percent; Japan, 11.9 percent; Italy, 11.8 percent; Britain, 9.4 percent; Australia, 8.2 percent; France, 7.4 percent; and Germany, 7.2 percent.
The Gap Widens
◆ Is personal wealth becoming more evenly distributed as the years go by? “In 1949, one percent of the people owned 21 percent of the total personal wealth. In 1969, one percent owned 40 percent of the wealth,” answers an article in the New York Post. This increasing gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in the U.S. is paralleled by a widening disparity of personal income between “developed” and “developing” countries in the world.
“Go Ahead and Jump”
◆ These were the words from the crowd below a young woman who was threatening suicide 110 feet above them. The police chief of Dania, Florida, was shocked by this scene when he responded to a call. When two firemen started to bring her down, “the rock and bottle “throwing started,” he said. “That girl—she could have fallen to her death at any moment. And that’s what the crowd wanted! What is wrong? You tell me.”
Prefer Serving for a Fee
◆ Episcopal Priest David Crump of California began full-time family counseling for money two years ago, doubling his income. Declaring that his fee is $25 an hour, he said: “What a difference between this relationship and when they used to sit around the parish office knowing that you had to counsel them!” Some clergymen counsel for a fee on a part-time basis. A San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Cronicle article notes that “the field of counseling [for money] . . . may even radically transform those denominations which are presently maintaining a paid, full-time parochial ministry (in contrast to such rapidly growing denominations as . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses, who do not).”
Priest Too Expensive
◆ After two years of paying excessively for weddings, baptisms and funerals, 2,000 irate parishioners in Villa Latina, Italy, decided to do something about it. The crowd “bundled the costly cleric into a car and drove him out of town,” says the New York Times report.
◆ Failure to adhere to Christian principles often brings a punishment of its own, as with smoking and cancer. Now the New Zealand Cancer News reports: “A study carried out over seven years among 21,000 girls and women in Bradford [England] showed the promiscuous to have four times the incidence of cervical cancer compared with females living what is customarily regarded as a more normal existence.” Another survey coming from London also shows four to ten times the cancer risk among girls who admit ‘they spread their favors generously.’
◆ Painful injuries and deformities abound among those determined to wear the faddish high platform shoes. Most patients are young women, but at one New York hospital more sprains are seen in men. Their lack of experience with high heels accentuates the problem. “Besides the acute damage that can occur to bones and ligaments,” Medical World News reports, “the high heels cause the toes to draw up into a claw position,” which can develop into “a hammertoe with claw toe deformities” if one persists in wearing the shoes. “The prevention is clear but the lure of a fad is strong,” concludes the article.
Ocean Pollution Apathy
◆ “We are killing the great oceans of this planet, and unless we stop this madness, mankind itself may perish from the face of the earth,” warns U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings. Referring to the oceans as the “ultimate sewer,” a Wall Street Journal article points out that “if the oceans—source of most oxygen—are poisoned, life on earth as we know it cannot go on.” The unique problem of ocean pollution is that international cooperation is required to cope with it. However, “everybody wants to share in the riches of the ocean, leaving protection of ocean resources off in a corner,” says an expert on the Senate Commerce Committee staff.
“Unusual” Quake Motion
◆ A report from the Mexican town of Tehuacán, Puebla, notes that residents are saying that the August 28 earthquake, which caused so much damage, was different from previous tremors. They say the latter had a “swaying motion” that did not prove so damaging to the buildings. However, the August quake had an “up-and-down motion,” which they believe caused more damage. Unusually wet weather hampered rebuilding work; the adobe bricks from which most homes are made need to dry in the sun.
◆ The Naples National Museum brings out of hiding for the first time this year 250 sex artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum. The museum’s director says: “There has been such an ambitious display of erotica in magazines and movies that there was no longer any reason to conceal these works from the public. Most people might even find these pieces tame after what they’ve seen elsewhere. . . . Many of these objects had a religious meaning for the ancients. They were linked up to the mysteries of the origins of life and fertility.” This collection “is reportedly rivaled only by the Vatican collection of erotic art,” notes the New York Times.
◆ Seventy percent of 315 U.S. colleges had some form of coeducational dormitories by 1971, reports Indiana University’s Residence Life office. Boys moving in with girl friends and their roommates is “probably the biggest problem we’ve got to deal with,” says a counselor at Brandeis University. When this causes disputes between roommates, “the morality is such that it’s on the side of the roommate who wants her boyfriend to stay with her,” complains a former female student. At a Harvard dormitory pool, those wanting to wear bathing suits must swim during scheduled hours to avoid the nude co-ed swimmers.
Manhattan Rooftop “Farm”
◆ The high cost of eating fresh foods can be combated even by city dwellers. The roof of one 16-story Manhattan apartment building boasts a unique “farm.” On about 4,000 square feet, a Park Avenue resident is successfully growing “over 50 different vegetables, some 26 kinds of berries, tree fruits and nuts, plus a list of assorted herbs, cacti, flowers and shrubs,” reports Organic Gardening magazine.
◆ Hong Kong, China, as well as the United States, is campaigning to stem the flow of “dirty blood” into hospitals. China Mail reports that “several dingy clinics through Hongkong buy blood from drug addicts and others desperate for money, without making any checks . . . As blood sellers make about $50 a unit, one can imagine how vast the profits are.” The wisdom of the Bible’s command to ‘abstain from blood’ is punctuated by a Hong Kong Red Cross spokesman who said: “The blood sold by a drug addict may well have hepatitis . . . and can be fatal to a sick person.”
‘Experimental Camp’ Backfires
◆ “The principle was to let the children organize themselves according to their capabilities and sense of initiative,” said one of seven teachers supervising a Protestant-sponsored Alpine “experimental summer camp.” The result? “Tables and chairs were overturned. Children of 5 and 6 were smoking. The whole place stunk to high heaven. The dishes were unwashed or broken.” Accepting the Bible’s counsel to ‘train up a boy in the way he should go’ could have saved them the ‘experiment.’
Church Gambling Grows
◆ The famed U.S. gambling town, Las Vegas, is being rivaled by Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues. They have begun holding “Las Vegas Nights.” An advertisement in the Meriden, Connecticut, Morning Record invites: “Drinks served by our ‘Bunnies’ Full Licensed Cash Bar opens at 7 P.M. featuring ‘Club Prices’ . . . BE A WINNER! COME TO ST. MARY’S.” Another held on Staten Island, New York, prompted a Sunday News reporter to say: “Not since the money changers . . . in the temple has God been served in so supercharged an atmosphere.” He says this is “strictly illegal,” but quotes a Staten Island prosecutor as remarking, “Arresting monsignors is not in the public interest.”
“Retired” from Life
◆ Two and a half years of life is all the average American male has left after he retires, according to American Medical Association experts. The “Executive Fitness Newsletter” also notes that upon retirement his suicide rate and medical problems increase drastically. With no other purpose in life, the lack of occupational mental activity leaves the mind “too often filled with worry over self.”
◆ Maren, the world’s oldest known hippopotamus, is 50 this year. She weighs two tons and has had 18 children, who are found in zoos around the world. She and her 22-year-old second husband, Rasmus II, live in Copenhagen’s zoo.
◆ In Hong Kong, where the bridegroom customarily foots the bill, fifty couples shared a mass wedding celebration “aimed at making it cheaper for young people to get married,” reports the Hong Kong Sunday Post-Herald. “The new trend towards mass weddings is sweeping Asia.” Parents of the couples are not as pleased. There is room for very little traditional wedding size and splendor. One groom says: “I certainly am not going to allow old fashioned ideas to force me to start my married life in debt.”
Birth Control—East and West
◆ Ten million Chinese women use birth-control pills, says Madame Li Hsiu-chen, representing China’s delegation at a world population conference in Pakistan. Other measures include encouraging young people to marry at least five years after the legal age, which is 20 for males and 18 for females. However, large families are encouraged along the Russian border and in other areas where population is sparse. In the West, an authoritative study recently showed that one third of United States couples practicing birth control had a pregnancy within five years anyway.
Sun Puzzles Scientists
◆ The giant solar flares witnessed by Skylab 2 astronauts are said to be a major puzzle. Solar activity usually occurs in eleven-year cycles, the last of which was in 1969. Rather than the sun’s becoming quiet as expected, NASA observers say “more activity has been observed than would be expected even during an average week of nominally high solar activity.”
Bicycles Make News
◆ A new world bicycle speed record of 138.674 miles per hour was set recently by a California doctor. The previous record, over 127 miles per hour, was set in France in 1962. A car equipped with a rear windscreen travels in front of the cyclist, reducing air drag to facilitate attainment of such high speeds. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that bicycles are the most hazardous product on the American market. Some 372,000 injuries require emergency-room treatment each year. Primarily among children, mechanical failures, losing control or getting caught in the spokes and chains cause the injuries.