ONE OF the most frightening, and potentially most fulfilling, aspects of coming of age in a generally prosperous country is the possibility for starting all over again in the middle of our lives. Changing careers, which was once considered a radical step taken only by the fringe members of our society, has now become commonplace among mainstream business and professional men and women.
CONCERNING ED Zuckerman’s article in the March issue (“How Would the U.S. Survive a Nuclear War?”), the point is not that nuclear war is unthinkable to most rational people. The crucial point, which is totally omitted in this article on postnuclear survival, is that the Soviet leadership believes the USSR can fight and win such a war and is actually preparing for it.
You took it for granted—people needed their newspaper, they needed you
WHEN I was twelve, maybe thirteen, I would ride the bus downtown with my best friend, Jack Roth, and we would kill the day just walking around the stores. When darkness came we would wait for the bus to take us home. Standing on Broad Street just east of High, we would look over at the big building across the street from the statehouse.
When the choice is between honesty and tact, do you put up or shut up?
THEY WERE sulking. They hadn’t had a fight, exactly. They were just, well, at odds. They sat far apart and the room felt uncomfortable. My friend Andy was telling me how it was: “Pretty grim,” he said. “I don’t know how long we sat there. Then finally she turned to me and said, ‘Andrew, why don’t you just say what’s on your mind?’”
THE DINNER guest had left to get back to Washington after rather unsuccessfully defending Reaganomics. My host, a banker, then made the following unconventional point: “Everybody is looking in the wrong direction,” he said. “They are still thinking about inflation.”
It’s one thing to know that your kid has promise, another to know what to do about it
BY NOW, most of us know whether or not we are going to make it as professional athletes. As for me, I probably won’t. It hasn’t been all that many years since I won my junior varsity letter in football, but if the NFL doesn’t call soon, I guess I’ll give up sports and look for something else to do.
A tall, white-maned print-collector friend of mine—known in the trade as the Lone Ranger—acquires great bargains by taking advantage of market cycles. He’s a savvy contrarian. Not for him the fashionable high-fliers like Angstgefühl (1896), by Edvard Munch, auctioned last year at Christie’s for $129,250.
George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “Every profession is a conspiracy against the layman.” To redress the balance and make more accessible the language of today’s specialists, Don Ethan Miller has written The Book of Jargon, published by Macmillan ($16.95).
Sometimes travel should be more than getting away; it should be breaking away. If a bicycle tour to a far-off place sounds too much like work—flat tires on lonely roads, piles of luggage on your back—be advised that bike touring has grown up.
How to pass the time and fill in the conversational gaps when hanging out this summer? Well, you might get down to a feverish game of Pente. A new variation on the ancient game of Go, Pente is fast—a sort of sophisticated ticktacktoe. This is not a game of chance but rather one of tactics in which you place small stones on the intersections of a grid in an attempt to construct a line to block or capture the stones of your opponent.
During the summer, I enjoy barbecuing three or four times a week. Most people who consider themselves good cooks, or who just enjoy variety in what they eat, shudder at the thought of cooking that often on an open fire, which they think of as imparting a single, rather heavy taste to food.
At Princeton University Enoch Durbin teaches engineering. Much of his time over the past few years has been spent developing a better automobile engine. But when the professor, a not-half-bad tennis player, chanced to lunch with a racket manufacturer some years ago, he was launched on a project that is likely to bring him far more fame.
Legend has it that sometime in the mid-nineteenth century, a British naval captain cast a cold eye over his ragtag crew and ordered that they all be outfitted in blue serge jackets with official navy buttons sewn on. As it happened, the ship was the H M S Blazer.
Why anyone would scale a near-vertical wall of granite hundreds of feet up from the ground is well beyond the comprehension of many people. Rock climbing is idiotic, they argue; the climbing man is a naked man, liable to be thrown from the tiny ledge he’s staked out for himself by a single mean wind.
Summer is the streamlined time of year. We find our pleasures in insubstantial things: breezes, quick reads, halter tops. We shed clothing, eat less, lose weight. Litheness is all. Therein lies the key for the summertime bartender. We need few essentials.
Starting a vegetable garden and keeping it going is not all that mysterious or complicated. Still, there are a few things to consider—coolly and rationally—before visions of bountiful harvests cloud your judgment. Are you willing and able to spend a few hours each week on the garden’s upkeep?
The true story about the crazy economics of professional sports
<p>This summer three baseball players—Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield, Phillie slugger Mike Schmidt, and Expo catcher Gary Carter<span style="line-height:1.6">—</span>will together make more money than the entire forty-five-man roster of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys.</p>
NO MATTER how you tell it—that he became one of the youngest senators in history, then suffered an unimaginable tragedy and returned as prime Presidential material—the Joe Biden story must always begin with family
ROBERT SAM ANSON
<p>IT COMES BACK TO HIM NOW AS A KIND OF DREAM, A MEMORY of something from a long time ago. He is standing in a hotel ballroom, gilded and high-ceilinged, brass chandeliers hanging down. He sees it clearly: the lights, the cameras, the chaos, the people calling.</p>
YOU know your job isn’t right for you, but you’re afraid to leap into the unknown.Take heart Many have gone before you and landed in one piece. Here’s everything to look for before you make
Landon Y. Jones
<p>MY FATHER WAS THE first person to explain to me about careers. At least, I think that was the word he used. A career was a simpler concept then. The operative metaphor was a ladder: After you graduated from college, you grabbed on to the bottom rung.</p>
A RICHLY FURNISHED two-story house on the beach at Malibu: This is where she probes metaphysics and stays in shape. Here is where, ever since she “learned to love the light, ” she gazes at the surf and navigates the archipelago of self.
For a few short months, the surf's up, the sun's out, and the sky's the limit so grab whatever suits you best and make the most of it
CATCH A WAVE: He wears a bicolor bikini, with geometric splicing, in nylon and Lycra ($13) that looks terrific paired with a casual white cotton-blend terry-cloth pullover styled as a sweatshirt, with its hood and front pocket ($32). Both by Jantzen.
<p>ACCORDING TO THE jazz myth, the ideal life for the jazz genius is that of the underground man: the player who never compromises his integrity by involving himself in the entertainment business but constantly heats and draws the metal of his mind in all-night jam sessions or by working in raunchy little joints where the customer drops a dollar—or a joint—in the kitty.</p>
JAZZ IS GETTING a big push from record labels these days. Island Records, distributed by Warner, started a new jazz label, Antilles. After signing up an impressive list of performers, Island took another plunge and split from Warner. Their first releases on Antilles since the split include albums by the Phil Woods Quartet, Air, and Anthony Braxton.
The most sardonic jazz wit since Sonny Rollins, Lester Bowie fondles memories of the mass music that made us all brothers and sisters under the American clockwork orange of the 1950s, reclaiming deathless theme songs by the Platters, Howdy Doody, and Kate Smith.
In celebration of the things we’d all like to believe in
<p>A SPECIAL JOINT session of the legislature of the Volunteer State of Tennessee is about to begin, and the senate chambers are totally mobbed. The galleries as well are filled to overflowing, with white-haired grandmothers jockeying for position with television crews and long-haired fourteen-year-olds chafing in suits and ties.</p>
HERE’S A PLUG: Honky-tonkers Dean Dillon and Gary Stewart hark back to the styles and life-styles of Hank Williams and George Jones. Dillon is only twenty-seven and Stewart is a perennially young thirty-five, but as their song “Firewater Friend” indicates, there is a lot of living between them.
So sings Johnny Cash, and these albums bear him out. Cash is, of course, commemorating the new day that dawned at Sun Studios between 1954 and 1956, when he and Elvis and Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Rich and Carl Perkins were being the first rockabillies.
<p>SOMETHING WAS VERY wrong with Jerry Lee Lewis. His guts were torn by knee-buckling pain. He spat up blood. On June 30, 1981, Lewis was rushed from his Nesbit, Mississippi, ranch to a Memphis hospital, where he underwent the first of two emergency operations.</p>
CBS IS SPONSORING a new label on the premise that the new music is all right but today’s groups just don’t know how to sing it. Producer Marty Pekar has old doo-wop groups like the Mystics and the Capris singing the songs of REO Speedwagon, Steely Dan, and the Ramones (Joey Ramone even produces one of the Capris’ songs).
The Blue Mask freeze-frames renegade rocker Lou Reed with all his cards on the table, and, considering that over the past sixteen years he’s adopted enough personas to fill up a Bergman double feature, I wouldn’t blame anyone who found this album’s complexities too much to handle.
EVEN IN A suit, Philip Glass looks rumpled. With his basset-hound eyes underscored by fatigue rings and a complexion that wouldn’t be called ruddy on the Pillsbury Doughboy, the forty-five-year-old composer might be taken for a thrice-unpublished novelist—not someone who is remaking American music.
NONESUCH HAS TWO releases of note scheduled for August. One is a recording of Virgil Thomson’s opera Four Saints in Three Acts, which is set to a text by Gertrude Stein and, surprisingly, has never before been recorded in its entirety. The second album is Joshua Rifkin’s controversial interpretation of Bach’s Mass in B minor; the work is performed here by five soloists rather than a full chorus, which is, Rifkin contends, how Bach intended it.
Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony (1915) is not a symphony at all but a tone poem depicting a hiker’s twelve hours on the slopes of Europe’s mightiest mountains. Scored for a massive orchestra (including twenty horns and a wind machine), it is almost never performed in concert halls and is scorned in any form by the fastidious.
EVEN IN THESE DENSE WOODS, THIS FAR UPRIVER, OUR LIVES ARE REFLECTED IN EVERY GLASSY SURFACE
E. A. Proulx
<p>SAUVAGE AND RIVERS ARE NEIGHBORS FOR A YEAR BEFORE they meet. Sauvage and his wife live in a trailer a mile beyond the Riverses’ house. Rivers has noticed the wife driving the Jeep up from the mailbox at the base of the mountain, her animal-brown hair long and tangled, shooting away from her head like dark, charged wires, her beaked nose, bloodless lips, black eyes like wet stones.</p>
It has bowlin balls and pitons, weights and turkey calls...and traces of a healthier America
ON THE first morning of the National Sporting Goods Association show, Chicago’s McCormick Place was nearly filled to capacity. Like everything else that came out of Richard Daley’s regime, McCormick is writ large and plain (detractors would say crude and vulgar), so it is not easily filled.
The duel was the perfect solution, the dignified way to settle accounts
RECENTLY I was spending the evening at Mortimer’s with some English friends and a Los Angeles-based wheeler-dealer whose presence in New York had put me on an involuntary liquid diet for a day or two. Suddenly, a huge Dutchman loomed threateningly over our table.