For the Birds
In the picture accompanying Richard Brookhiser’s most recent column (“Bright Wings,” May 25), the bird identified as a phoebe is a phoebe. The bird identified as a crow, however, is not a crow; it’s a raven.
They are different birds, and the difference is not small. The raven has rounded outer tail feathers, a heavier beak, and fine feathers extending over the edge of the beak. Crows have squared-off tails and lighter beaks, cleanly delineated.
The article was very pleasant, and Brookhiser is only beginning to glimpse the intelligence, cooperation, and communication exhibited by corvids. Continuing to observe them would provide him with a lot more material for a lot more columns. I could tell him a lot more, but he will have more fun discovering it for himself.
Kristin K. Freeman
Putting Specter in His Place
I just happened to be thumbing through the April 20, 2009, issue and came upon the note about Arlen Specter in “The Week”—the one on card check that ended, “It’s nice to see Specter allying with his own party, even temporarily.”
Less than a month later and Arlen’s back where he belongs: driving us nuts.
The King and I
I have always enjoyed the musings of Jay Nordlinger, and “The Hills Are Alive” (May 4) was his musings at their best. As was true of Jay before this year, I have never attended the Masters, but cannot recall having missed one, in all its detail, on the tube.
It is good to know that Nordlinger has spent too much time playing and studying golf, as have too many of us poor mortals. I was duly impressed with his knowledge of the game. For example, he correctly says: “Gary Player . . . was the best bunker player in the world.”
But I was disappointed that Nordlinger made no reference to Arnold Palmer. It was Arnie, with his play and persona, who really established the Masters’ unequaled prominence. Palmer won the Masters four times (1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964) and narrowly missed a fifth win. He also won the U.S. Open in 1960 and the British Open in 1961 and 1962. The Associated Press named him Athlete of the Decade for the ’60s.
I may be biased, though. I dined last night at Arnie’s Latrobe Country Club (I’ve been a member since 1961) and had a nice chat with him. He is hale and hearty. He wished me a happy 97th birthday.
George J. Heideman
Jay Nordlinger replies: I would never forget the King. Wrote about him last summer, in a piece on the reopening of “Golf House,” as we used to know it (“A Day of Golf,” June 30, 2008). Palmer is the guy who made golf so popular, you could barely get a tee time.