• Pause and savor this one, which is from a genuine New York Times editorial, so help us: "Soviet weapons cannot make war on Israel if the Egyptians (and the Syrians) refuse to provide the cannon fodder." (December 6, 1977.) Perhaps the Times really does think that it's weapons that "make war." And why not? The paper's support for gun control only makes sense if you believe that guns commit crimes.

• Looking for that legendary "store of objective value"? Then put your money in John Birch Silver Medallions without delay! Weighing one troy ounce of 999 fine silver, the medallion has "John Morrison Birch, 1918-1945, In God We Trust"—and the martyr's portrait—on the obverse; and a picture of "Macon, Georgia, Home of John Birch" on the reverse. The first 100 are numbered and naturally command prices as high as $1000, but at $14.50 apiece the rest would be a shrewd investment indeed. Retreaters will want plenty for trading with right-wing bears, after the economic collapse. Order directly from: "John Birch Silver Medallion; Box 2046, Dublin, GA 31021." At the very least, they're sure to be more negotiable than Wonder Woman silver ingots.

• Governor Jerry Brown of California no longer wants us to lower our expectations but to raise them; into geosynchronous orbit, in fact. The Zen Statesman has become enamored of the space program and now believes orbiting space colonies (a la Gerard O'Neill) and thousand-megawatt solar power satellites are Small enough to be Beautiful. Only a cynic would suggest that Brown is merely trying to drum up support for a 1980 presidential bid or put any credence in the "senior NASA official" whom New Times quotes as lamenting: "Every time Jerry Brown says something about space, the [Office of Management and Budget] comes after our budget." Supposedly NASA contractors have also been "encouraged" to shun Brown. But they won't do so indefinitely, not if he keeps up the coy remarks about the California state budget surplus being "just slightly smaller than the entire NASA budget." (New Times, December 9,1977.)

• There are those who cannot forgive Milton Friedman; not for inventing income-tax withholding (which he did, during World War II), but for advising the Chilean junta on how to revive that country's moribund economy. (That the junta took his advice and that consequently Chile is in better economic health than it ever was under the socialist Allende, only compounds the felony, it seems.) What won't they say when they learn that libertarian economist Friedrich Hayek has been lecturing in Argentina, at the request of the Argentinan junta's Finance Minister? We can hear the Washington Post ululating already—which would be rather unfair. The Argentinian junta seems different than most; its three members say they'll resign in March 1979, after picking their successors, and elections will be held sometime afterwards. And Mr. Evan Galbraith (no relation to John Kenneth) quotes a "senior officer" in the regime as saying that "The basic constitution [of Argentina] is fine and will be kept. We will change only the electoral process. No former politicians will be allowed to run." (National Review, December 12, 1977.)

• Readers who were offended by that infamous ad in the November 1977 REASON exposing Wendy McElroy's undernourished backside had better skip this one: in the current issue of CoEvolution Quarterly Ms. Josephine Hall, M.P.H., discusses the latest theories of what causes cervical cancer. It has long been known that virgins, nuns, and lesbians rarely suffer from cancer of the cervix; now "some studies" suggest that sexual intercourse may, in fact, cause the disease. The "most likely" agents, says Ms. Hall, are the enzymes in semen that weaken the ovum's cell wall and allow a sperm to fertilize it. At certain times, these enzymes may attack the cells of the cervix and stimulate them to cancerous growth. (The National Institutes of Health are also investigating a possible link between intercourse and prostate cancer, by the way.) If it is finally proved that semen does cause cancer, we may yet see fellatio outlawed by the Food and Drug Administration—probably to sycophantic applause of all the liberals who hooted when Anita Bryant denounced the practice as violating biblical dietary laws. But then, the FDA seems to be a far more popular deity than the one who wrote Leviticus.

• Character Assassination Dept.: In a piece on the National Women's Conference in Houston, the Village Voice (December 5, 1977) remarks that "Betty Ford seems a true feminist…(Her speech is strangely slurred—the press corps is diverted by the question: Is she drugged or drunk?)." According to the December American Opinion, White House press secretary Jody Powell is "a man who was expelled from the Air Force Academy for cheating." Libyan strongman Colonel Qadaffi called Israeli prime minister Begin "an anti-Semite" (Arabs are also Semites, of course). Village Voice columnist Alexander Cockburn cites the testimony of an ex-schoolmate of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat that "even at school Sadat was a treacherous, slimy type, constantly doublecrossing his chums and sneaking to teacher." Then there was the Damascus newspaper headline "Sadat Went to Israel to Lick the Zionist Boot." In reply Sadat called his Arab critics "ignorant and moronic dwarfs." It's enough to make yr hmbl srvnt weep, in despairing admiration.

• If you can't understand all the hoopla over the Crown of St. Stephen, the New Republic (November 19, 1977) puts it all into historical perspective: "According to Hungarian law preceding the republican constitution of 1946, the crown was a legal person. The Holy Crown owned the territory of Hungary, and Hungarians were formally its subjects, not the king's." So we need not comment on the claim that Carter would be "conferring legitimacy" on the Hungarian communist regime by giving it the crown (which the United States got from the Hungarian fascist regime's Crown Guard in 1945), except to note that Kansas Senator Robert Dole wants a court injunction against the transfer. But Dole shouldn't be judged too harshly. He needs some gimmick to make himself into a credible presidential candidate for 1980—and the Panama Canal issue won't do; as Dole points out, "Reagan found it, he built it, and he's going to keep it."

• One Frank Snep has written a book, Decent Interval, on the Vietnam debacle, which tells of how CIA chief William Colby "vigorously defended American policies in Vietnam, particularly the Phoenix [assassination] and pacification programs, which he suggested would have won the war had it not been for the North Vietnamese army." Those little details will trip you every time.