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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 7, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Octobtr 7, 1972 THI lETHBRIDOl HRAVD 5 Hard to believe, Ripley's strip lives By Jill Millikln, In The Wall Street Journal The Voice Of One FAST, trivia experts: What 19th Centum poet had though he concedes at least ona irate Ripley subject once threa- And who was thai Irish lauy who sat on a nest of eggs for three weeks and became the mother of 100 chickens? If you elidn't come up with Gerard deNerval nnd Biddy Cassels in a mailer of seconds, then you're eilher not with it or simply haven't been follow- ing Ripley's Believe It or Not, Uie syndicated comic strii) that's been straining credulity, providing and provok- ing outrage ever since it first appeared in 1918. That's when Robert LeRoy Ripley, then a struggling young cartoonisl with the old New York Globe, was faced wilt! a slow news day and filled a hole in the sports page with a draw- ing of a sprinter who ran the 100-yard dash backwards in 14 seconds. His editor liked it, and the cartoon soon became a reg- ular feature. Mr. Ripley. who once had an aquarium with fish tV't SW-TI backwards, died in 1949 at the age of 55. But his bizarre leg- acy lives on through Ripley In- ternational Inc., a Toronto con- cern that runs six Believe It or Not museums, handles var- ious promotional activilies and licenses three New York pub- lishing companies to produca Ripley comic books, paper- backs' and the comic slrip. Heading up this Implausible, operation is Alec Rigby, a soft- spoken Canadian vho bought the Ripley interests in 1969 from two Americans who had acquired them from the Ripley estate in 1949. For million, Mr. Rigby got the right to use the Ripley name, thousands ot original Ripley cartoons, bulg- ing reference files and an odd collection of artifacts, ranging from a reproduction cf t'.ia world's smallest violin (5'.i in- ches) to the world's largest (size 28) pair of women's shoes. A lot of people are apparent- ly interested in things like that. Since 1928, Ripley publishers have sold more than seven mil- lion paperback books handy little reference guides that dis- close, for instance, that itiner- ant masseurs in ancient Japan were required by law to be to- tally blind. Or that a dog who swam ashore from a shipwreck Et Valpariso, Chile, in lEGo reg- ularly begged for coins, then traded them in at a local cafe for ham sandwiches. Annual sales of Ripley comic books total over two million. And the Believe It or Not comic strip, produced by King Fea- tures Syndicate, appears in 328 newspapers in 38 countries, Moreover, each year over 1.5 million people pay up to a head to visit Uie Believe It or Not museums, which are scat- tered all the way from Black- pool, England, lo Gatlinburg, Terui. They provide Ripley fans, an in-person chance to recoil at medieval torture devices, stuff- ed two-headed calves, a wax model of a Chinese fellow with a 13-inch horn on Uie back of his head and a wax dummy of Mr. Ripley himself. All told, Ripley International had sales of 52.4 million last year. Mr. Pearlroth recalls. Mr. Sea- born apparently contended that his ship wasn't "at sea" but "in harbor" at the time of his birth. Mr. Pearlroth says Mr. Seaborn's concern was that some people might infer from the cartoon that lie was a state- less person. But it wasn't (l's- puted that he was born within U.S. territorial wa.erE, the mailer was finally dropped. Bui some skeplical Ripley readers don't give up so easily. Wayne Harbour, a 72-year-old retired postmasler from Bed- ford, Iowa, has teen frying lo prove Ripley wrong ever since Nov. 1, 1943, when he saw an item about a carrot that grew out of a radish. Mr. HaiiMur that he dashed off a teller lo the reported to have grown il. Several days laler got back an affidavit signed by the grower and "six of her lady friends." Mr. Harbour says he "checks out" at least three Believe It or Not cartoons every day as a hobby, and claims to havo writlcn letters asking for more information on the items. Mr. Harbour, who has himself been the subject of a Ripley cartoon for all his nitpicking efforts, claims he lias never found an item "incorrect." But he says there have been some "minor technical details which weren't quite right." Convincing skeptics used to be easier when Mr. Ripley had a live radio show in the 1930s and 1940s, Mr. Pearlroth says. One guest was a man whose pulse ticked like a grandfather clock. The licking man's pulse, was amplified for the benefit of listeners. "It sounded just like Mr. Pearlroth re- calls. Reader mail runs about letters a week, many of them starting, "Deal- Mr. Ripley." Most of them -are suggestions for oddity items, and only about 1 per cent are from "people- who seem to be Mr. Pearlroth says. One of Ihe big- gest reader responses was in 1929, when Ripley stated that the "Star Spangled Banner" was really an old English drink- ing song and that Francis Scott Key simply wrote words that he' set to the tavern ballad. Irale readers deluged Ripley and their Congressmen with mail. Two years later, Con- gress "legitimized" the bong HS Ihe official U.S. national an- them. Mr. Pearlroth recalls Mr. Ripley once received a shrunk- en head from a man in Ecua- dor, with a note attached. "Pleate take good care of it said. "I tiiink it's one of my relatives." Some of the most bizarre Rip- ley tales .involve Mr. Ripley himself. He was a heavily built man with thinning hair, intense eyes and some rather odd hab- its. He liked to have chipmunks running around his desk while he drew. And a favorite form of recreation was moving fur- niture from one room to an- other in his 29-room Mamaron- eck, N.Y., home. The house contained quite a few strange objects, including a three-foot shell of a "man- eating clam" and a wooden statue of a Japanese artist em- bellished with the artist's own hair, teeth, fingernails and toe- nails. Mr. Ripley owned sev- eral cars but couldn'l drive. H? declined to eat a lunch but liked to nibble at food on the lunch- eon plates of gucsls. "The most unusual thing in the his housekeeper was quoted as say- ing, "is Mr. Ripley." Mr. Ripley traveled feverish- ly in search of unusual memen- tos. He reportedly racked up over 600.COO miles on visits to over 200 countries lo buy shrunken heads, give idclures and pose for pictures along the way with such luminaries as "the monkey man of India." Once, speaking at a California theatre where the orchestra pit had been covered by a canvas, Mr. Ripley walked briskly to- ward the audience, shouted "Ladies and and promptly fell into the pit. He had to get out through the basement snd buy arr admission ticket to get back in. The audience thought it was part of his act. -By DR. FRANK S. MORLFY The source of misunderstanding Heading for the thresher WHEN you begin with a false premises, it is not surprising if you don't come up with the right answers. In the book "One Church, Two (Longmans) Amok! Kdinborough in the Introduction states in his first sentence that "lor the era in which it was written, the Quebec Act of 1774 was a most humane document." He continues to slate that the French were thus guaranteed their language, customs, and the Roman Catholic faith, that this was an act of colonial pragmatism which would enable the two races to live together and rejoice the hearts of the French. All of this is sheer nonsense. It did not need the Quebec Act to guarantee equal treatment to Protestants and Catholics. As had hecn demonstrated iri Grenada and stated by the law officers of the Crown, "His majesty's Roman Catholic subjects are not subject, iri those colonies, to the incapacities, disabilities, and penalties lo which Roman Catholics in this Kingdom are subject by the laws thereof." Lord Dartmouth declared that "all the inhabi- tants" possessed franchise to vote for an Assembly "seeing that we know of no law by Roman Catholics, as such, are dis- qualified from being electors." In Grenada "all the French freeholders were allowed to vote and, catholics though they were, to sit and hold office." The Quctec Act was a most iniquitous bill, the source of endless evil. It was im- posed on an unwilling French population. It re-established French feudalism and the rule of seigneurs and clergy. It revoked tlie promise of an Assembly (made by the Proclamation of 1763) though Lotbiniere who pressed the cause of ttie signeurs in London admitted that the "natural inclin- ations of the Canadians" were in favor of it. Masere In 1773 stated that the Quebec Act "had not only offended the Inhabi- tants of the province Itself, in a degree that could hardly be conceived, but had alarm- ed all Ihe English provinces in America and contributed more than any other mea- sure whatsoever, to drive them into re- bellion against their Sovereign." Sir Guy Car'eton (Lord Dorchester) was bitterly disappointed that the Quebec Act not only failed to win the friendship of the French habitants, but put them in active hostility to the British and their own clergy. It was a major factor in Ihe rebellions and stormy days of the nineteenth century. The notion that in Canada, therefore, a basic element in the struggle is religious Protestant versus Roman Catholic is quite erroneous. The problems are politi- cal and economic. They are not even French-English, despite the bud shouting. In both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches the forces of secularization have been at work, more so in the former than the latter, though in talking to older French-Canadian Catholics they speak nad- ly about the breaking away of the younger generation from the church and tradition. The forces of secularization, however, have rotted the foundations of Protestantism, Its dogmas and Institutions. Protestant youth has been badly corrupted by the destruc- tion of Sunday and sexual licence. Despite obstacles and stoppages along the way, the churches are moving toward unity. The new alignments will be between Uie evangelicals and pentecostals on ths one hand and the conservatives and ortho- dox on the other. An orthodox Pre-byter- ian is much closer to an orthodox Roman Catholic than to a Pentecostal. Perhaps In some blessed future all denominations will live together in charity. Cynics don't go in for murder By Richard J. Necdham, The Toronto Globe and Mall ON THE BERT HEATH FARM, SOUTH OF FORT MACLEOD Pholo by Elwood Ferguson Book reviews Giving limited readers a break Digging up tidbits such as how a Alexandrian dwarf was once imprisoned in a parrot cage, or how Charles Taylor of Etnnia, England, sang himself to sleep every night for CO years, falls on the hunched shoulders of Bert Pearlroth, a bushy-browed re- searcher wiio was hired by Mr. Ripley in 19M. Bent over tomes in the reference roam of the New York Public Library. Mr. Peaiiroth combs scientific jour- nals, history biograii.uss and diaries for obscure items. He then takes them to a King Features artist for illustration. Believe it or not, after <19 years on the job, Mr. Pearlroth contends he finils his work more interesting every day. "It's just like being an explor- he says. Mr. Pearlroth is particularly fond of historical tidbils Louis XIV of France, 1G38-1715, had such an abhorrence of water he never washed more than Ihe lip of his and physical oddities (a man with a cleft skull from Chungking, China, who used lo stick a candle in his head nnd hire himself oul ns a human lamp (o folks negotiating dark Challenged by a visitor to corroborate srch goodies, Mr. Pcnrlrolb dives into Ihe over- flowing files thai crowd his tiny office to cite publication, page rnd line of his sources. The K'ns Ixniis item, lie says, conies fiTui a hook on the history of in France. And the l-'iiv-rnrui has been documented I U.S. Navy medical records, ''r. Pcnrlrolh says Believe It or Nnt bus never been sued, "Bible Translations for Popular Use' by William L. Wondcrley (Dulled Bible So- cieties, softback, 21G TJEADING is hard work for great numbers erf people. Most reading matter is on the level ot the educated minority and is thus forbidding to the person who has barely master- ed the lecluiique of reading. The incentive to read (or in- formation is largely lacking to- day also. Almost anywhere in the world now the channels of radio, television, and motion pictures otfer a way to get new information with less effort than it lakes to read. Desire to have the Bible wide- ly read has naturally led those in the Bible Societies of the World (engaged in Ihe transla- tion and distribution of the Bible' to take a keen interest in communication theory and technique in order lo cope with the temptations not to read. This book, Bible Translations for Popular Use, Is one of a series of "Helps for Trans- lators" prepared under the au- spices of Hie United Bible So- cities. It was used this summer in a seminar held in Medicine Hat for people working on Bible translations. A friend who serves in The Canadian Bible Society left me his copy lo read. Production of common-langu- age versions of the Bible such as The American Bible So- ciety's extremely popular one known either as Good News for Modern Man or Today's Eng- lish the aim. Such versions make use of English thai is understood by people ot diverse levels. Dynamic equivalence has re- placed formal correspondence as a guiding principle in trans- lating. This meaiK that instead of attempting to slick rigidly to the exact corresponding Eng- lish word for the Greek or He- brew word, the attempt is to search around for what will best bring out tho meaning for the reader. Sometimes intelligibility for the modern reader requires making explicit what was im- plicit to the early reader e.g. in Acts the reference to Asia might suggest the ccn- Coulee vegetation catalogued "Common Coulee Plants of Southern Alberta" by Dr. Kuijl (University of brirtgc Production Services, SZ.OO, 124 SAY Ihe coulees are barren wasteland devoid of beauly and life? Then you have never walked through them during the growing sea- son when Iheir surface is a riot of greenery and flowering plants. And you have never read Job Kuijt's Common Coulee Plants of Southern Al- bcrla. The book, with a bright flo- ral cover, is now available in I he University of Lethbridge Bookstore. It mighl well be sutitilled, A Naturalist's Hand- book. To walk through the southern Alberta coulees with keen eyes and to read Dr. KuijL's bixik are similar expe- riences: both bring awareness of "the great and subtle beauly" of such land. Dr. Kuijl, n University of Lcthhridgn biology professor now on leavo in Germany for one year, has done an admir- able job of listing, describing and illustrating the various of vegetation lo be found in Ihe coulees. And if the ac- lual plants are colorful, Iheir names are more so: consider such titles as Mouse-ear Cluck- weed, Pussy Toes, Fairy Can- delabra, Poverty Weed, Winter Fat, Old Man's Whiskers, Fairy Bells, Flea Bane, Horsetails, Bladder-pod, Blanket Flower. The list goes on and on one can'! overlook tho ingly prolific vetch family w h i c h includes such pictures- que characters as Cushion Milk Vetcli, Prickly Milk Vetch, 1) r n m m o n d's Milk Vetch, Milk Vetch and Two-grooved Milk Vetch. For naturalists of both ama- teur nnd experienced status, Dr. Kuijt's book makes coulee- meandering a new joy. He pre- sents in non-pedantic and de- scriptive Icnns a list of Ihe co'.ileo vegetation accompanied by n numerical guide to ing lime and exquisite, detniled drawings of each specimen. In the introduction, Dr, Kuijt says his Ijook is written and in- lenclcd for those botanical ama- teurs not interested in highly technical works. He dees not claim his listing is complete, but discusses planls mosl com- mon to three representative southern Alberta areas: Leth- bridge, Dinosaur Provincial Park and Writing On Stone Provincial Park. He briefly dis- cusses how the location of a coulee influences ils vegetation and louclics OTI ecological con- cerns, differential i n g Iwtween "introduced "natural interlopers" and native plants which represent tho coulees in Iheir undisturbed stale. "Undisturbed savs Dr. Kuijt in his introduction, "are places of great and subtle beaut y." Common Coulee Plants convinces the reader tills is ro and fires even most sedentary with a desire to some of these unusual plants for himself. LVNNE POHLE tlnent stretching from the Mid- dle East lo China and Japan so Ihe TEV adds Ihe words "the province of" to make explicit that Ihe Roman province known as Asia was meanl. Words sometimes conjure up wrong meanings and have to be avoid- ed e.g. "com" means "grain" to Britisli readers but lo the average American it means "maize" a grain that was unknown in the Old World in Bible times. The way in which readers can founder on obsolete and archaic words (found in abundance in the King James Version of the Bible) is illustrated by Mr. Wondeiicy by telling of a radio broadcast given by a pastor in the southern United States. The message was based on the. Christmas h y m n, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, in which ths word 'hark.' 'lis- ten' in archaic literary English, was misunderstood as referring to something the angels did; the speaker exhorted his au- dience to remember "the hark- ing of the Perhaps the tiling that gives greatest difficulty lo readers with limited reading ability is figurative language. This can- not he from (he Bible but often careful translation can br a help lo readers in avoiding jni.stinderstandim'. Anyone engaged in communi- cation could read Mr. Wondcr- ley's book with profit. It would help him by making him take greater care in Ilie selection of v. o r ri s am) Ihe ordering of Ihem in sentences. Unfortunate- ly Hie book is nol apt lo be readily accessible nnd will po unread excepl by Bible Irans- lalors. lint all is not loss when a translation of the Bible such as Good Xi'ws for Modern Man is produced to gUc dramatic evidence of the power and at- traction of .1 commnn-langiiafe book, UOUG WALKER rPIME wr.s when Pro'.eslants and Cath- olics sluaped it out with each other; in my own lifetime, there was a smolder- ing hostility between them. Now all ap- pears to be peaceful, the Papist lies down with the Presbyterian, you might say, and nobody minds one bit. Indeed, it's consider- ed a great Does Ulis mean that have become "better" people? I doubt it. Human na- ture is as incapable of getting better as it is of gelling worse. What's happened, 1 tiiink, is that people have lost much or most of their religious faith. A lukewarm Catholic and a lukewarm Methodist can gel along just fine. It's as Somerset Maugham said, what we loudly proclaim as tolerance is no more than indifference. To believe deeply and strongly is lo hale Ihose who don'l share your belief, and those who stand in the way of it. From such hating to killing is an easy step. Lord Acton, the famous BriUsh historian, tells us (in his Essays on Freedom and Power) of the Pope who bitterly because Protestants weren't getting murdered fast enough. On the Protestant side, we have Martin Luther's lamentation, "When my heart is cold, and I cannot pray as 1 should, I scorn-go myself with the thought of the impiety and ingratitude of my ene- mies, the Pope and his accomplices and vermin, so that my heart swells with right- eous indignation and hatred." Ah, those were the days; and George- Santayana summed them up brilliantly: "Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions. It sanctified, quite like Mohammedanism, extermination and tyranny. All this would have been impossible if, like Bud- dhism, it had looked only to peace and the liberation of souls. It looked beyond; it dreamt of infinite blisses and crowns it should be crowned with before -in elec- trified universe and an applauding God. These were rival bails to those which the world fishes with, and were snapped at when seen, with no IMS avidity. Man, far from bc-ing freed from his natural passions, was plunged inio artificial ones quite as violent and more disappointing. Buddhism had Iried to quiet a sick world with anesthetics: Christianity sought lo purge it with fire." That's pretty much in the past; Chris- Man halved is dwindling as Christian faith dwindles. But that doesn't mean all faitli is gone, or all hatred. We've replaced religious hate with racial hate, class bate and, especially in our time, ideological hate. Death to the rich! Death lo the man! (Or Ihe black man, as the case may be.) Death lo the Communists! (Or Uu capitalists, as the case may be.) The human race loves to hate, and if it can no longer hate one class or group or na- tion, it will hate another. Writing some 300 years ago, and alter wide exposure to the ways of mankind, Blaise Pascal decided that "all men by nature hate each love and charity being only "a feint and a false image, lor at bottom they are but hate." I wouldn't quite go along with this, but I know that in every one of us (me included) there's a wide streak of hostility. It's our task, as much as we can, to keep Ulis streak of hostility safely inside us; but it often breaks out and then we get quarrels at the least, murders at the worst. Some of these fights and murders are Individual, person-to-person. That's bad enough; what's worse Is the collective fighting and murdering that goes on in the form of wars and revolutions, mighty campaigns and crusades, mass move- ments of every kind. The end of movements is always noble to end pov- erty, to bring peace, to abolish racial discrimination, etc. etc. The means era usually bloody. Eric Hotter spells It out In his llttli classic, The True Believer, which li even more valid today than when it first appeared 20 years ago: "When we re- nounce the self and become part of a compact whole, we not only renounce personal advantage but are also rid oi personal responsibility. There is no tell- ing to whal exlremes of cruelty arxi ruthlessness a man will go when he's freed from Ihe fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgment. When we lose our Individual independence in the corporate- ness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom freedom to hate, bully, he, tor- ture and murder without shame and re- That's one of the many reasons why I prefer lo be a non-believer, a cheerful cynic supporting no cause or crusade or movement of any sort; cherisliing no so- cial or political or economic ideal; find- ing from some experience that causes and crusades do more harm than good; and being in any event tired ot violence. But Ihe human race al large isn't tired of vio- lence. As men are driven on by the lust for money and power, so they're driven on by the lust for fighting and killing, prefer- ably in masses; and what's happening irj Ulster is a classic example. Hand to mouth meals THr Milwaukee Journal ('OURMETS and teachers of high cuisine arc up in over Ihe contention by a nutritionist thai meals of the future will be "hand jnmlwiclie's. rolls pa-slry. Julia Child thinks it's "deplorable." Res- taurant owners find it "impossible." Gour- met fowl shops arc dismayed. But all tha nutrition c-xpfrl. Goorr.c C Graham of .lolms Hopkins University, s.-.id was that liamlmrjii'i-s. and peanut butter and jr-Uv .iiv of Ihe future. Mothers nil! spend less time, in Ihe kitchen and feed their children on quick meals. So what's new? Anyone with teenagers knows that the standard diet now except when they are corralled al a sitdown fami- ly meal is peanut butter and jelly sand- wiches, hamburgers and pizza. They don't come in for hrach screaming for eel male- wilh raisins or flambeod sweetbreads with crepes suzette on Uie side. They're in too much of n hurry. This needn't those of us who don't fancy jelly or piz.ias. can nrUse you eat Ihi'm. There is a constitutional right to prefer holland.iise