The May issue of Esquire promises to give you a total workout with The Esquire Health and Fitness Special. A team of experts, headed by George Leonard, leading innovator in the sports and fitness fields, guides you through the ten key areas that constitute “ultimate fitness“ and outline a total life fitness program.
LAST YEAR Esquire published George Leonard’s on-the-scene description of what it was like to be a high school teacher in a California public school system (“Car Pool,” May 1983). It was a depressing account of the frustrations of teaching in a world of bored, undisciplined students crowded into an inadequately financed learning environment.
YOUR JANUARY 1984 cover has got to be one of the greatest magazine covers of all time! I look forward each year to the Dubious Achievement Awards—they’re always uproarious. Robert D. Heywood San Lorenzo, Calif. RE: “DUBIOUS Achievements of 1983.”
It’s still deep in the heart of Texas, across from Woolworth’s
I WANTED to see something real. I had had enough of the Eighties; enough of the disposable and the modem. I wanted to go somewhere that felt...different. I thought about it. In all of the United States, where could I go that promised a change?
The long-misunderstood profession is making a comeback
WHEN POLE-vaulter Billy Olson, former holder of the indoor world record, hurt so bad he wanted to drop out of the ’82 Vitalis/U. S. Olympic Invitational, meet director Ray Lumpp personally escorted him to the chiropractor for help. Olson’s back and legs were in such bad shape, the chiropractor’s twisting and cranking so rough, Olson thought he’d never move again.
We're a nation of drug users. Are the laws hypocritical or are we?
WE ARE as hypocritical as any society in the world on the subject of drug abuse. A recent three-part series that CBS Evening News did on tardive dyskinesia reminded me of this fact. Tardive dyskinesia is a frequently irreversible degenerative nerve disorder characterized by jerky movements of the limbs, queer posture, and facial tics.
I can still remember my first Broadway opening night, a 1977 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie. The glamorous black-tie crowd was like a miniature Tony Awards gathering, Liv Ullmann as the lead was pure magic, and fox-trotting at the Plaza afterward among my favorite Broadway stars was seventh heaven.
The hallmark of the pulp magazines Dashiell Hammett started out writing for was their disposability: you ate up all the good junk inside, then threw the package away. Hammett’s reputation has, of course, grown since then, with one of his books, The Maltese Falcon, proving itself particularly “bookshelfable”—it’s one of those rare works you simply want to own, to place on your shelf somewhere between Gogol and Ibsen.
If bigger were really better, Ferraris would be the size of Fruehaufs. And if heavy cars really held the road better than light ones, Grand Prix racers would be carved from lead instead of from the fantastically expensive titanium alloys and carbon-fiber composites that the designers presently choose.
Life was no bed of roses for the first Englishman who carried an umbrella through the streets of London. He was a philanthropist named Jonas Hanway, and from 1750 until umbrellas came into more general use some thirty years later he was forced to endure the taunts of passersby who shouted at him to take a coach or to bloody well get wet as the good Lord had intended.
Winter is oppressive cargo. Bearing it takes fortitude, a lot of complex, heavy clothing, and hard, bracing whiskey. Now, of course, with spring here again and the bird on the wing and all that, it’s time to put the mothballs to work preserving our woolens, time for our annual divestment of the chilly mantle of our discontent, time for a lightening of spirits, in our hearts and in our glasses.
When I first moved to Florida, thirty years ago, we used to hunt quail on the Lykes Ranch west of Lake Okeechobee. One of the most popular dishes among the cow-boys back then was a breakfast of pan-sautéed mullet roe served with grits. Delicate, nutlike, orange-colored roe in melted butter with crisp bacon bits is one of those supernal dishes in fish cuisine.
In tennis, as in other sports, what often distinguishes the great from the near-great is less physical prowess than mental toughness. The superstars and money players, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors among them, seem to have a rare ability to perform at their best just when it matters most.
Remember when your mother tried to teach you manners? How she explained that manners were just “simple courtesies”? If you were born after World War II, it’s possible you never got the hang of playing the proper gentleman. Or didn’t really want to.
When the Soviets put a basketball-sized object named Sputnik 1 in orbit in October 1957, America’s opinion makers concluded that it was our schools’ fault that the Soviets had beat us to space. This questionable piece of reasoning served the purpose of turning a spotlight on public education, getting the federal government involved in educational financing and inspiring an ambitious curriculum reform program.
Ever since his appearance in Monty Python's Flying Circus, the cantankerous comic has become an outlet for the English and their national angst
Nowhere will you see more people standing in more queues, and doing so more uncomplainingly, than in England. Nowhere will you find taxi drivers and salespeople more polite or customers more willing to smile through difficulties and delays.
If "Smokestack America" Shrinks, Can Psychology Cure the Depression?
I AM on my way to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for several reasons. One is a sentence from a conversation I had with Peter Drucker, the management consultant. Peter looked into the future and said, “Blue-collar employment is going to follow the same curve as farm employment.”
Monumental egos breed monumental appetites. The Monocle satisfies them both
NICHOLAS VON HOFFMAN
FROM below Union Station, New Jersey Avenue runs southeast, dips downward, and then swoops up toward the Capitol grounds. On wet nights the white, illuminated dome rises above the street and hovers with wide, squatting dominance. The men in the backs of the limousines and taxis moving toward it look up to check the cupola above the dome of the Republic.
He’s the son of Woody Guthrie and the father of Bob Dylan—the wandering folk hero with the whiskey voice
RANDY SUE COBURN
It’s easier to find one of the dozens of out-of-print records Ramblin’ Jack Elliott has made than it is to find the man himself. There’s one agent who thinks he lives on Long Island and another who guesses he has a ranch in Santa Cruz. “Oh, the last of the Brooklyn cowboys,” says a third.
As the Sephardic underclass—the country's majority—starts to flex its political and cultural muscles, Israeli society is being shaped anew
It began peacefully enough: a march by the Peace Now movement through the streets of Jerusalem. An official report on the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Beirut had just held the Begin government negligent and indirectly responsible. On this cold night in February 1983, Peace Now was demanding that the government resign.
<p>MY PARENTS MOVED INTO A HOUSE IN Hampstead—postal code: London, NW3—in the early 1930s, when I was a very small child. I have lived in the borough ever since, except for the period of obligatory exile when I was off being educated. The house was Edwardian red brick, large enough to accommodate our family of five and, in the years before World War II, when middle-class life was more pampered and spacious than it is now, a nanny, a cook, and two housemaids.</p>
Why polo is no longer the sport of princes, but of ordinary, if slightly obsessed, Americans
Prince Charles isn’t around, but the game announcer sounds like a lord, and there are enough elegant and semifamous faces in the stadium crowd to gag a gossip columnist. Never mind that the announcer is actually a real estate salesman, that they’re drinking beer, not champagne, in the cheaper seats, or that anyone can join the club.
What river trip takes twenty-six days, covers 1,100 miles, and moves from an English colony to the ancient capital of silk making? What did Truman, Kennedy, and Nixon have in common that someone with $2,250 can now have? Where can you find a lifelike dummy of Howard Hughes in a cockpit?
THE ART OF the double take, the protocol of goofing off, the loud laugh and the louder shirt—these are all good faculties to work on in the terrific beach towns around Los Angeles. Almost all beach towns are terrific, of course; any place where tall drinks, coconut oil with PABA, and high-tolerance skateboard trucks are economic staples is the very model of a congenial modern society.
SUMMERTIME, AND TRAVEL’S not easy. Crowds are thicker, and patience is thin. But the following are some useful sources for help when you lose your seat, your bags, or your temper. NEW AIR RULES Until recently the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) regulations were a recourse when things got tough.
GERTRUDE STEIN COULD have accused any number of American cities of having no there, there—it just so happens she singled out Oakland. As anyone who travels for business—or pleasure— knows, there’s nothing drearier than finishing a six P.M. meeting with no clue of what to do next.
THERE ARE PLENTY of places to explore in this world, and some of the very best lie in the Pacific. New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii... Black-sand beaches, volcanoes, thousand-year-old eggs. The Pacific is exotic, tranquil in spots, lively in others.
Mahogany Run, on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, is one of the newest and ritziest villa resorts in the Caribbean. Its biggest draw is a Fazio-designed golf course hewn out of green, craggy cliffs that overlook the bay. For those not so inclined, there are facilities for tennis, swimming, scuba, and deep-sea fishing, plus a broad, white beach for relaxing, just five minutes away by free hotel shuttle.
THE FUNNY LITTLE hotel where I spent my first night in Paris back in the Fifties is now a chic condominium. And the neighborhood bistro where I learned the delights of cassoulet now serves something they call cuisine moderne. There are glass towers on the horizon, burger joints on the boulevards, and even a silly new fountain at the Pompidou Center that spits water from giant red lips.
JAMAICA IS AN imported country. Most of the inhabitants are descendants of slaves brought from West Africa to work the plantations. The sugar came from Malaysia. So did the bananas. Coffee arrived with the English settlers. Columbus brought citrus from Portugal, and Captain Bligh brought the breadfruit from Tahiti.
WHETHER you are jetting off on a business trip to Europe or planning a trek through the Sierra Nevadas, packing is an art. It also makes your trip infinitely more pleasant and carefree if you pack clothing that is lightweight, versatile, and wrinkle-resistant.
IN THE HEART of the steering column of my father’s 1947 Plymouth Deluxe “May-flower” there was indeed a Mayflower, a cunning model of the ship. Almost at eye level when, in 1951, I played behind the wheel, a nine-year-old king of the road. Perhaps because we were a family of immigrants, the Pilgrim ship seemed exactly right, the perfect vessel of hope to blossom in the middle of our steering wheel.
<p>THIS TRIP HAD its genesis in an old fantasy. I was twenty-four, my first time in Europe, romantic, ecstatic, and poor. Near the town of Grignan, one blazing afternoon in July, I ate lunch by the side of a tiny road that lost itself out in the countryside.</p>
WHEN CHOOSING A travel book, follow one simple rule and you won’t go wrong: The better equipped the traveler, the worse the book. Travel literature can be divided into two types: books by professional travelers and books by amateurs. Professionals carry collapsible boats in their baggage and letters of introduction in their antproof briefcases and they never have any fun.
<p>JAMES WOODS IS PULLING OFF HIS LEVI’S IN THE BACK SEAT OF A CAR PARKED ON THE SANTA MONICA PIER. WE’RE HERE TO TAKE HIS PHOTOGRAPH STANDING IN THE RAIN, DRESSED TO KILL, BY THE WATER. THIS WAS A CONCEPT WOODS HIMSELF CAME UP WITH THIS MORNING WHEN HE SAW IT WAS RAINING.</p>
I LOVE COTTAGE CHEESE. I LOVE COTTAGE CHEESE. I LO-O-VE COTTAGE CHEESE. I LOVE COTTAGE CHEESE. I LOVE COTTAGE CHEESE. ILOVECOTTAGECHEESE. In the good old days when John Houseman was just a theatrical producer, actors honed their skills on Shakespearean soliloquies.
WHEN RCA RECORDS announced last fall that it would shell out $2.5 million— reportedly the highest allocation ever— to promote Daryl Hall and John Oates’s Rock 'N Soul Part 1, people in the know started asking questions. For one thing, why would the company spend such an exorbitant amount when the album, a greatest-hits set, would likely sell itself anyway?
FOR THE AQUITAINE PROGRESSION (RANDOM HOUSE), ROBERT LUDLUM’S NEW SPY THRILLER, THE FIRST (TO MY BEST KNOWLEDGE) BOOK REVIEW IN THE FORM OF A RAP SONG: The Fascist Generals are back, quack-quack. They’re coming out here to attack, quack-quack.
Chris Burden is best known as a performance artist—he uses live expression as his medium—but he is also fascinated with the three-dimensional objects that are the tools of those performances. They stand up on their own as sculptural works, as well as reflect the concepts from which they originated: performances that challenge conventional boundaries.
MY ESKIMO LOVE HAS NO GAPS between her teeth. Her face, barely visible beneath a sealskin parka, glows in the dark. She is crinkling her nose. She holds a fish in her left hand for the National Geographic photographer. From the fish she has learned the secrets of the sea.
On the ice and off, Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia act with one mind
PART ONE: The setback It was early in 1980. I was breaking in a new pair of Acme boots, resting them on the keyboard of a VDT machine at the office. Hundreds of 8’s were sprayed across the screen— it looked like a blizzard— and when I rolled the heel, they changed to 1’s.
Can money save all that is threatened and replace all that is destroyed? Consider south Florida
THE POPULATION of the Florida Keys, including its largest town, Key West, was about sixty thousand at the end of 1983. Too many people, according to those who have lived there long enough to remember the last major hurricane that passed over the Keys in 1960.
THERE MAY BE AN EFFECTIVE, natural way to cure your hangover. But you have to use BHT to make it work. It’s okay: BHT is cool. See page 240. KITARO, DEUTER, JARRE, Takanaka, Popol Vuh: You may not know them, but they’re musicians, they’re selling, and they’re good. See below.
Marching (to the Bank) to the Beat of a Different Drummer
YOU MAY NOT be hearing a lot of it on the radio yet, but something new is happening in the record business: new-age music. It’s called by different names in different places—space music, world music, meditation music, self-help music, relaxation music—but whatever it may be called in various local precincts, new-age is selling.
WITH THE HELP of a computer, it is now possible to use brain waves to manipulate the outer world: without lifting a finger, you can use computer software, switch on appliances, or simulate speech. This new form of mind over matter works by way of a “thinking cap” made of two electrodes and the proper software.
WHEN THE POET Robert Bly received the National Book Award in 1968 for The Light Around the Body, he donated his prize money to the Vietnam draft-resistance movement. The gesture reinforced his reputation as an iconoclast who juxtaposes spiritual and political concerns in his poetry as well as in his life.
YOU COULD CALL me a skeptical but persistent experimenter with health food fads, bravely risking the integrity of my precious bodily fluids in order to test the multitude of potions and pills being offered to my readers under the name of “health foods.”
JUST BECAUSE LIBRARIES have been around for centuries doesn’t mean that they’re not barreling into the electronic information age. In fact, every year an increasing number of libraries are adding computer terminals to tap the huge research data bases that store millions of bibliographic citations to books, magazines, and research papers.
“HI, I’M MR. Science and I’m smarter than you are because I’ve got a master’s degree in science!” That’s one of the voices of Duck’s Breath, a five-man new-age San Francisco comedy team that’s taking the radio waves by scorn. Featured on the national show All Things Considered, Mr. Science answers such listeners’ questions as, “Is the atom friend or foe?”