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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - February 20, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa hoax on Skylab Phony space-phantom' sought I___I. A I The Cedar Baplds Gazette: Wed.. Feb. 20, H74 7A By Jack Anderson WASHINGTON As the Skvhl, 3 crow descended into the Pacific a few days ago, some Americans waited breathlessly in fear the astronauts would never emerge alive. Their fears were not just normal con- ecru about the heroes. Quite the contrary they had actually heard mysterious' voices telling of an explosion over Mos- cow, an oxygen loss and conversation with President Nixon. The voices were real enough, only ilio messages were false. Thoso disturbing and potentially disastrous reports during the final days of the Skylab It mission were "broadcast" in various parts of the country by a "Space Phantom" now be- ing sought by federal investigators. Although we learned of the fake broad- casts days before the Skylab crow splashed down, we withheld the story after counseling with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We feared it could create panic or stimulate equally sick people with elec- tronic talent. But now that Skylab 3 is safely down, here arc the Facts: In Rocky Mount, N.C., officials of L'nifi, Inc., a textile firm, were on a long distance call to New York on Friday, Jan. 25, when they began getting interference. At first, said Larry Ayscuc, a custom service coordinator for the company, "it sounded like radio transmissions from an airliner." He soon realized, however, that he was overhearing what sounded like transmis- sions between Skylab 3 and the Houston space center. He could hear only the "Skylab end" of the conversation and he could even hear "the click when they let go of the mike key." Other people picked up extensions and Ayseue took notes. At a.m., he heard the astronauts say they had been Year-to-year stability Views Ideas Insights Judgments Comments Opinion Page 2 "taking military photos of silos over Moscow" when they "received an approximately 10 megaton explosion." The spacecraft, the voices said, was completely disabled and had only II iiuurs of oxygen loft. The "Skylali crew" then slated they were sending "scrambled" transmis- sions "on channel 5 and channel 3." Whereupon, said Ayseue, lie heard something resembling Morse code com- ing over his phone line. That done, "astronauts" began speaking with the White House. "Yes, Mr. came the cool, monotone voice. "Yes, Mr. President. Wo under- Jack Anderson stand this." The "Skylab crew" ack- nowledged that they understood their wives had been notified and were being flown to Houston. At p.m., the voices reported that their "secret documents and equipment" had been jettisoned. The transmissions then abruptly ended. Similar reports of mysterious space messages were quietly investigated by our associate, Joe Spear. He found about a dozen other rational people had heard the voices. All reported essentially Ilio same details. At NASA, officials advised us that still others around the country had reported similar phone Interference. A Connec- ticut doctor told of hearing a conversation from space alleging that Skylab had been -struck by a meteorite. A Jacksonville, Fla., man had heard the space voices and claimed he recorded them on tape. Now, NASA's security specialists are trying to find which "tone freak" perpe- trated the elaborate hoaxes. So far, we have learned, only the "Space Phantom" knows. TAX twists: While the Internal Revenue Service trios to kill tax exemptions of the fair campaign prac- tices committee, whose probes of dirty, politics apparently upset the White House, the IRS has just granted an exemption to a legal defense fund found- ed by a group of rich Nixon supporters. The lucky business men have formed the Pacific Legal Foundation, whose board includes J. S. Fluor, head of Fluor Corporation and a big GOP contributor. The foundation will presumably business men and others, in trouble with the federal government. Meanwhile, the fair campaign-prac- tices committee, which has weathered three previous audits, is fighting for its life with the IRS and thus might make a handy "client" for the Pacific Legal Foundation. United Fcoture Syndicate Calendar idea far too log seal? By Tom Tiede WASHINGTON Congress is often accused of lassitude in deliberating the great issues of the day, but Willard Edwards says its sluggishness in con- sideration of his own personal great is- sues has been ridiculous. Edwards has proposed a revision of the world's calen- dar. Congress has considered it now for 31 years. Edwards, of Hawaii, first proposed his "perpetual calendar" to congress in 1943. Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii) is the sponsor and sources say it remains off the list of priority legislation. Edwards' idea would scrap the present calendar system which he describes as imperfect and illogical. He proposes a chart divided into four quarters of 91 days apiece, each quarter beginning on Monday and ending Sunday and each having two months of 30 days and one of 31. His calendar fixes holidays Christ- mas would always be on Monday, Dec. 25, Easier always on Sunday, April 14. His New Year's clay would be January zero a kind of nonexistent day, a world holiday, not part of the month. Why a new calendar? The way it is now, Edwards says, "Every year is different and confusing. Each new year, schools, airlines and others have to make new schedules to meet the new calendar. My plan is more practical. It would be the same year after year." Despite congressional lethargy con- cerning the calendar, Edwards, age 70, has managed to milk some related re- sponse from the nation's lawmakers. He< was a prime mover behind (lie present three-day weekend system of national holidays. He also reports some progress in the institutionalizing of a new holiday "President's day." But the perpetual calendar is his chief concern. He has used the mails, and a tireless compulsion, to bring the calendar idea to the attention of people in more tirement. Besides, as he travels around than 100 countries, most of them ap- parently even less disposed than congress to worry about it. He says he will riot give up. The obses- sion gives him something to do in re- he is able to advance another theory of his: that besides the new calendar, the U.S. could also use a new coin, which he calls the piece uh, but that's another story. The perpetual calendar Each quarter, each year fhe same NEW-YEAR DAY (N.Y.D.) is the first day of each year, a day apart between DECEMBER 31 and JANUARY 1. It is an international holiday, fol- lowed by the 364-day fixed calendar shown below: 1st Q 11 A R T E T. U T F S S 1234567 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 T T F S S 12345 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 T T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 26 29 30 31 2nd Q A R T E T H' T F S S 1234567 B 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 T U I F 5 5 1 2 3 4 D 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 T B T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 LEAP-YEAR DAY (L.Y.D.) is observed only during leap years, a'day apart between June 31 and July 1. It then becomes an international holiday, the first day of the second half-year. 3rd Q U A T I T T F S S 1234567 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 T H T F S S 12345 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 ?6 29 T T r 5 S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1? 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 4th Q U A I E T W T r S S 1234567 a 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 IB 19 20 21 22 73 24 25 26 27 28 29 T U T F S S 12345 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 70 71 2? 23 24 25 26 77 78 79 T H T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1? 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 70 21 22 23 2-1 ?S 26 27 28 29 30 31 Way with words 'Best' boots out 'better' here By Theodore M. Bernstein BETTER font forward? When yon gel right down lo it, yon should use I he comparative degree when only two things arc involved the bettor of the "His heller of the "His bel- Hut if someone said to you, "Put your bettor foot you would he jus- tified in snyiiiK, "Arc you nuts or Which proves the power of idiom. The Idiom is "best foot whether you are spenkliiK of a linnimi being or a centipede. U.K. Janet Cliance of Wayne, 1'a., soys Hint O.K. seems to have become uiilvur- sal In Us uso and nho Inquires about Ihe origin of the expression. H Is doubtful whether any expression lias had more guesses made as lo its etymology than lias O.K. They range all the way from oux supposed to have been used in the American War of Independence by French sailors dating American girls, to okeh, a Choclaw word meaning it is so. The best evidence, collected from many sources, appears in Mencken's "The American The use of initials was a vogue In Boston In 1838 and It spread lo New York within the suc- ceeding year. In Hoslon the initials O.W., standing for "all as If it were spelled "oil appeared In 18118 and the following year O.K. appeared In liolli Boston and New York. However, O.K. did not become a na- tional hy-wonl until the political cam- paign of IS'IO when it was parl of the Democratic O.K. Club, which was sup- porting Martin Van Huron for a second presidential term. The O.K. was an abbreviation for Old Hindu-hook. Van Bill-en's Hudson River birthplace, and when the club held its first meeting in Now York Ihe initials caught on and spread rapidly. That's the story about O.K. lo the best of O.K. (our Word One might Imagine Hull a landlubber Is a chap who lulls Ids life, lubs his children and lubs to stay on land. But no. A lubber Is a hig clumsy person, and It he's a landlubber ho Is a lubber who Is at homo on land bill Is Inexperienced and awkward aboard ship. 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