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In 1946 when the Roosevelt dime came out, the U.S. mint was flooded with queries about the initials J.S. at the base of Franklin Roosevelt's neck. Quite a few outraged folks thought the letters stood for Joseph Stalin, and that it was all a Communist plot, until Designer John Sinnock patiently explained that the initials were his. Now there is a flurry over the new Kennedy half-dollar, and it's the Reds again. Complaints are coming into the Denver mint that there is a hammer and sickle on the coin. Wearily, the mint's Chief Sculptor and Engraver Gilroy Roberts, 59, explains: "It's my monogram, a G. and an R. in script, combined. It might look like two sickles maybe. But it looks nothing like a hammer and sickle at all. You've got to have a slanted mind to see that there."
His kite was tangled in the power line behind his home outside Houston, and the impatient youngster tried to unsnarl the mess by poking at it with a rake. Zap, crackle, pop. The line short-circuited, burned through and fell, sparking and whipping, onto a chain link fence. That was a job for Superman but he didn't show. Fortunately another stellar hero lived next door, and Scott Carpenter, 38, came to the rescue. While a second neighbor held the wires down with a board, the astronaut laid into the 120-volt cable with a wooden-handled ax, soon cut it free of the fence. Oohed an awed housewife:
"One man leaned on the fence no more than two minutes later. I don't know whether he realized . . ."
A two-week, fun-filled trip to France, including a week on the Riviera and a week in Paris? No jingles to write. No puzzles to solve. In fact, no contest to enter. All you have to do is be the editor of Izvestia. And since that describes Aleksei Adzhubei, 39, he was the lucky winner of an invitation from the France-U.S.S.R. Friendship Society. Though in Paris it was mostly speeches and press conferences for him, Wife Rada managed to sneak off with Eugenia Vinogradov, the wife of the Soviet Ambassador, and ogle the florally flimsy bikinis displayed at a specially set-up fashion show. Still, Aleksei was perfectly willing to comment on haute couture. Said he: "Soviet women were accustomed to wearing boots, and one day I deplored this in Izvestia. Finally our women gave them up. Then boots became a la mode in Paris, and now Soviet women are wearing them again."
Everybody else was writing the Internal Revenue Service, too, but the U.S.'s top female folk singer sent the revenooers a slightly offbeat message. She started chummily enough. "Dear Friends," said the handwritten letter, "What I have to say is this: I do not believe in war. I do not believe in the weapons of war. I am not going to volunteer the 60% of my year's income tax that goes to armaments. I am no longer supporting my portion of the arms race. Sincerely yoursJoan C. Baez."