THE PHRASE “Hip is being the first in and the first out” makes sense. We all admire the investor who buys when the market is low and sells when it’s high. Similarly, most of us know someone who latches on to the latest trends before anyone else does and then stops once they become de rigueur.
I HAVE just read John Steinbeck’s “Living with Hard Times” (June). It brought back many memories. My memories are not as sad as Steinbeck’s. I had a more salable talent than Steinbeck. I was a fairly good jazz pianist. I started hitchhiking and riding freights at eighteen, in 1927.
“I HAVE Mr. Sampson in London,” said the operator. Anthony Sampson is the author of The Money Lenders, a very good book on the world banking system. He also dines a lot with leading world bankers. “Is Brazil going to get past Thursday?” Tony asked.
THERE ARE men in this world who, since they were little boys, have had life beaten. There’s one in every junior high school—the kid who’s a natural on the playground, who’s irresistible to the girls, who makes the other boys jealous. Most of those boys lose it somewhere along the way; the high school heroes discover, twenty years later, that the best days of their lives were left behind in the cement-block football stadium of their teens.
ABOUT ONCE a year my friend Warren gets a phone call from his friend Peter, whom he hasn’t seen for ten years, and it always makes him uncomfortable. “Ten years,” he explained to me recently in the bar where we often meet. “I don’t know what to say to him.”
What older athletes lack in strength, they make up for in wisdom
TWENTY YEARS ago, when I was a frisky college sophomore, I found myself playing a match against the tennis idol of my youth, former Wimbledon and U.S. champ Vic Seixas. I was very nervous, but two things gave me heart: the sport we were playing was not tennis but squash, and he was thirty-nine—too old obviously to keep up with a young man.
<p>A couple of years ago, I happened to go to a party honoring a sculptor whose work was then the subject of a highly touted exhibit at the Museum of Modem Art in New York. The party’s host was a prominent art dealer, and after dinner the dealer led us on a tour of his private collection.</p>
<p>If you call a woman up and say, “Hey, let’s go see a movie tonight,” is that called a Date? Is it still called a Date if you call her up two weeks in advance and ask her to go to a formal dance? Or is that more like, well, a Date Date? Does “Let’s get together next Saturday” mean let’s spend two hours together or two days?</p>
<p>Prizefighters are the only people who wear bathrobes in public these days—unless you count those furtive individuals who slink out onto the front stoop to snatch up the morning paper and dart back inside, hoping no one has seen them. It wasn’t always this way.</p>
<p>I love my father dearly, but when I was growing up, his idea of heaven was to have canned creamed peas with his dinner. Since he was in the business of manufacturing tin cans, I would like to believe that this was just product loyalty on his part—that he forced himself to eat such vegetables out of a sense of duty.</p>
<p>There’s more to late fall than raking the last leaves or turning on Sunday afternoon football—that is, unless you’re ready to pack it in for the year, to accept the American Heritage Dictionary's second definition of autumn: “a time or period of maturity verging on decline.”</p>
<p>Ten or twelve years ago, before the world learned to put the words oil and cartel together, I bought my first four-wheel-drive vehicle, a Chevrolet Blazer painted the same color as the University of Tennessee’s football jerseys: burnt orange.</p>
<p>Strictly speaking, there isn't any real reason for carrying your liquor around with you. Drinking is, after all, a social activity, a catalyst for relaxation and conviviality, a refreshment to be conversed over, to be shared with and enjoyed in company.</p>
<p>A few years ago I found myself teaching high school in Brussels, a dreary city where I knew only a handful of people. It rained a lot; my knowledge of French and Flemish was limited; I didn't have much of a social life. So when the Chicago Symphony came to town that autumn and a colleague invited me to go, I went, even though I knew very little about classical music.</p>
The British elections, as seen through the trained eye of an innocent abroad
<p>These pieces begin on a suggestion from the editor. I am to write about the British election from the point of view of an American. When I protest that my ignorance will immediately be evident, the editor replies that he is content with such a condition.</p>
<p>One evening not too long ago I ran into a friend of mine—let’s call him Alex Weber—on Manhattan’s Columbus Avenue. I was waving for a cab when he grabbed me; he was standing with his arm around his latest candidate for the perfect woman. Tall, blond, dazzlingly dressed, she was, Alex told me in one breath, an investment banker with a Harvard M. B. A., a Brearley education, and a father in the University Club.</p>
Bankers have found that the safest way to make money off drugs is to handle the money, not the drugs
<p>IN MIAMI LAST year a teenager named Randy Randall found $800,000 in cash. He gave away shopping bags full of money to friends and bought a few dream items—a Jaguar, an Eldorado—but almost $700,000 was still unspent when the police caught up with him.</p>
Behind the doors of a fleabag hotel, the movies’ prettiest face writes the theater’s most shocking plays
<p>It was a steamy summer evening, and Wally Shawn was calling from a pay phone on the street. I had asked him for a copy of a play he had written years ago, and we were arranging to rendezvous somewhere between my place and his phone booth. This was before we had ever met and a couple of months before My Dinner with André opened at the New York Film Festival, so his question wasn’t completely ridiculous.</p>
<p>Heads will turn on ski slopes this winter, as skiwear has never looked bolder or better. Joining the traditional sporty colors of red, royal blue, and navy are such bright offbeat hues as green, yellow, turquoise, and orange, often combined with black or winter white.</p>
Twenty years ago this month, while Vietnamese generals plotted the overthrow of their president, the Kennedy administration battled bitterly over whether to support the coup. Here, for the first time, is the full tale of the White House fear and bungling that pushed our involvement inVietnam past the point of no return
<p>At Saint Francis Xavier, a French mission church in Saigon's Chinese district of Cholon, the early morning mass had just celebrated All Souls’ Day, the day of the dead. A few minutes later, the congregation gone, two men in dark-gray suits walked quickly through the shaded courtyard and entered the church.</p>
TRAVEL is no longer for just the very rich or the very idle. Nor can it be considered a two-week afterthought to fifty weeks of work. The contemporary Esquire reader travels for adventure, for business; with his friends, with his firm. Going somewhere, by plane or by boat; staying elsewhere, at a hotel or under the stars, is an essential part of the professional man’s life.
<p>I HAVE READ THAT IDAHO WAS originally the name of Colorado, and that the state of Idaho acquired its name from a boat that sailed up the Columbia River into then-nameless territories. I have read that the great wave of westward migration passed right through Idaho and on to the coast, so that when the state was finally settled it was by a migration from the coast eastward again, beginning only in the 1880s.</p>
<p>DESPITE THE RECESSION, a Diners Club representative estimates that Americans spent nearly $140 billion on travel and entertainment in 1982, $55 billion of it for business travel. Only 3 percent of travelers account for 30 percent of travel receipts; 12 percent account for 50 percent of the total.</p>
<p>Salt Lake City has become the hub of a major ski sprawl, the Wasatch Range of the Rockies. All of the seven resorts near Salt Lake City have good conditions, but each has developed its own character. Park City, the headquarters for the U.S. Ski Team and the United States Ski Association, is popular with college skiers on spring break.</p>
<p>THE AMAZON RIVER RULES OVER ONE of the world’s extreme landscapes, prohibitive to people, exhibitive of nature’s dominance. It’s always a little unsettling to look at a map of South America and its continent-wide swath of dark green about three-fourths the size of the United States, representing over two and a half million square miles of tropical rain forest.</p>
<p>IN THE PAST TEN YEARS I’VE been in and out of Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport more than twenty times, but Hong Kong, at all times and in all seasons, is one of life’s constant pleasures. The setting for its delights, however, is constantly changing.</p>
<p>TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO I contracted a peculiar malady whose main symptom is a recurrent need to drive back and forth across the North American continent, Atlantic to Pacific to Atlantic, or vice versa. In milder seizures I may find myself rushing north-south (Duluth to Laredo every two or three years, Detroit to Miami perhaps once a decade), but these runs are rather less satisfying and are usually only a prelude to an east-west loop.</p>
<p>The weeks before Christmas offer glorious music, including choir performances in Trafalgar Square, with an immense Christmas tree as a backdrop. On Boxing Day, December 26, the traditional Mummers’ Plays are presented in many small towns across the country; one to see is the one in Marshfield, Avon.</p>
<p>AS A BOY I WENT TO A slide lecture on the Hillary-Tenzing climb; there I formed a very vivid impression of rivers rushing with snowmelt, bamboo bridges, forests of rhododendrons, Sherpa villages, yaks, and the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries that lie on the Nepalese side of the frontier.</p>
<p>IF YOU GO TO LATIN AMERICA and do not take the South American Handbook (Rand McNally & Company, $29.95), you will be making a mistake. Now in its fifty-seventh edition, it has long been not only the best guide to Latin America but the best guidebook in the world.</p>
<p>The man on the phone is telling me his theory about what's wrong with television. "It's been said that B pictures were B pictures because they were ignored by the studios. They said, 'It's a small budget, let Sam Katzman go out and make the movies.' So the movies that got made, good or bad, were Sam Katzman's movies."</p>
<p>LAWRENCE KASDAN HAD written Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back by the time Body Heat, which he also directed, opened in 1981, so when Body Heat proved a box-office success as well, Kasdan’s clout with the studios seemed assured.</p>
<p>“THE WAITING IS OVER,” THE LITERATURE ABOUT VIDEOTEX FROM KNIGHT-RIDDER SAYS IN BIG BLUE LETTERS, AND INDEED IT IS. AS THE WORLD OF 1983 DRAWS TO ITS AUTUMN CURTAIN AND THE WORLD OF 1984 SHOWS UP LIKE AN ELECTRIC SUNRISE, VIDEOTEX—THE TWO-WAY SYSTEM OF THE FUTURE THAT WORKS through your own TV set—is at last coming to its marketing debut, in southern Florida. Knight-Ridder has spent seven years and $26 million and hired a staff of 165 in its preparation.</p>
<p>I DON'T HAVE ANY BEEFS WITH JAMES MICHENER, OR WITH HIS BOOK POLAND, WHICH WAS PUBLISHED JUST LAST MONTH. I DON’T BELIEVE WE HAVE THE SAME INTERESTS, OR VALUE THE SAME EFFECTS IN WHAT WE WRITE, SO IT SEEMS UNFAIR AND QUITE POSSIBLY IRRELEVANT TO APPRAISE POLAND AS IF we really did.</p>
<p>Like many artists of his generation, Brooklyn-born Robert Longo works in a style called new figuration—which is, simply, the use of realistic images rather than abstract ones as subjects. But Longo’s art has an edge: he uses his subjects to express urban angst—self-doubt, violence, fear, the breaking up of the environment.</p>
IN WHICH THE FAMOUS AMERICAN NOVELIST NATHAN ZUCKERMAN SUFFERS THE HARDEST TEST OF ALL
<p>WHEN HE IS SICK, EVERY MAN WANTS HIS MOTHER; if she’s not around, other women must do. Zuckerman was making do with four other women. He’d never had so many women at one time, or so many doctors, or drunk so much vodka, or done so little work, or known despair of such wild proportions.</p>
the Gulf Coast fish supply dwindles, artificial-reef building grows
ON THE beach near the dock there is a pile of the sorts of things that you usually find in a scrapyard—old tires and automobile bodies, washing machines, cracked concrete. Your first response upon seeing it is to pass judgment on the dock owner.
No need to wear white; just put on your worst attitude
TWO BOULEVARD Reine Olga is the address of what used to be known erroneously as the Royal Athens Lawn Tennis Club of Greece. I say erroneously because the courts at the club were made of a dark, wine-colored clay. In 1974 the politicians who governed the birthplace of selective democracy, tyranny, demagoguery (and a few other things not suitable for mention in a magazine like Esquire) decided it was time for the club to become more democratic and drop Royal from its title.
LISTENING THROUGH HEADPHONES to an ordinary-looking cassette on a Sony Walkman, you hear the sound of a match being struck—and is that sulfur you smell? Then a woman’s voice whispers in your ear and you begin to feel a warm, soft breath on your cheek.
IS IT POSSIBLE to find investments that please both your ethics and your bank account? According to D. Wayne Silby, chairman of the Calvert Group, a $1 billion financial services organization in Washington, D.C., the answer is yes. Silby is the founder of the Calvert Social Investment Fund, established for the purpose of investing profitably in socially responsible enterprises.
I'VE ALWAYS HAD what could be called a modified Linus Pauling/ vitamin C theory about the relationship between caffeine and human evolution. Pauling, as you may know, argues that in an earlier evolutionary stage our cells were endowed with an ability to synthesize vitamin C.
AS A SYSTEMS survivability specialist at Rockwell International, Bob Karcher spends his days figuring out how American space systems can survive a Soviet attack. He spends his nights playing with a video game, but unlike most games, this one is all numbers and not much fun.
EDUCATION IS FLUNKING out of budget sessions all over the country. Local administrators want the state to pay for it, the state wants the feds to pay, and the Reagan administration thinks the locals should pick up the tab. Which is why the June 20 issue of Newsweek said, “Forget arms control.... Campaign ’84, it appears, may be education.”
SOFTWARE, THE electrical instructions that tell computers how to do their work, is the essential part of any personal computer system. Without software, or programs (the terms are often used interchangeably), your expensive new tool is little more than a pile of circuitry.
WHY MOUNT ST. Helens suddenly erupted after 123 years is not fully understood, and neither is why volcanic activity there has continued intermittently since 1980. Scientists, however, can now predict blowups by detecting changes in the size and number of earthquakes at the volcano prior to an eruption.