THIS MONTH’S cover story on men and war is the work of a writer obsessed with the relationship of values to place. Bill Broyles is a forty-year-old who walks tall, stares you in the eye, and has just a trace of Texas in a voice that’s eerily soft.
I AM delighted to find a magazine of Esquire’s stature dedicating an entire issue to literary fiction (August). Even with the resurgence of interest in short fiction today, readers will experience difficulty in finding major magazines that regularly publish stories from more than one school of fiction.
ALISON WAS born about eight months ago and Brian arrived six weeks ago, with Cleveland and Lisa in between. These babies, and quite a few more, are my friends’ contributions to the so-called mini-baby boom that is written about so much these days.
It was once the object of young men's fantasies; now it will become a dormitoiy
<p>YOU’VE PROBABLY heard: the Playboy Mansion in Chicago is going to be turned into a dormitory for art students. The Playboy Mansion— a seventy-two-room, four-story house on the city’s Near North Side—has sat virtually vacant since the mid-1970s, when its principal inhabitant, Hugh Hefner, moved to Holmby Hills, California, and purchased an estate that he began calling the Playboy Mansion West.</p>
Our mistakes teach us caution, and caution is wisdom
THIS IS my final ethics column—the column will continue in someone else’s hands—and coming to the end of it has made me want to summarize, to reach some kind of conclusion. To say something grand. But conclusions escape me and moral choices rarely occur on a grand scale.
By using a flotation tank, athletes don’t even have to move to improve
ONCE A week I end my daily run by climbing naked into a box that looks like a small closet turned on its side. The box, a flotation tank, contains water ten inches deep in which eight hundred to a thousand pounds of Epsom salts have been dissolved, creating a solution so dense you bob on the surface like a cork.
Like abstract art but can’t afford a Pollock? Gaga for Dada but can’t swing Duchamp? Perhaps you should take a look at the exploding art scene in New York’s East Village, where— among other things—you can buy a fake Pollock or Duchamp for a fraction of what the real thing costs.
There is no easier man to buy for than the man who fishes. The same curmudgeon who will exchange, if only on principle, every necktie offered, every billfold, every hammer or screwdriver no matter how gaily wrapped, will accept with pleasure any newfangled gadget, any useless metal lure, any bizarre new fly pattern cast his way by a loved one.
There is a magnificently foppish character in Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1828 novel Pelham who boasts that he employs three tailors to make his gloves, “one for the hand, a second for the fingers, and a third for the thumb.” The character was based on Beau Brummell, who may or may not have patronized different tailors for his thumbs and his fingers but who was known to have rather elaborate prejudices on the subject of gloves—one being that a perfect gentleman had to change his gloves six times a day.
The Hot Brown is simply the best thing to happen to turkey since Benjamin Franklin suggested we make the bird our national symbol some two centuries ago. This Thanksgiving we should all bow our heads and offer up thanks that our forefathers did not share Franklin’s esteem for the gobbler, for it’s doubtful that a Hot Brown by any other bird would smell so inviting or taste so succulently delicious.
<p>Bitters are queer birds, peculiar liquids that amount to tributaries of mainstream imbibery. They may be full-fledged beverages that can hold their own in a glass, or they may simply be flavorings. They may or may not be alcoholic. Some tout themselves as hangover cures or stomachics (one recommends itself on the label as a remedy for flatulence).</p>
Penguin Books may put out The Portable Kipling, but the unofficial prize for the Most Portable Kipling belongs to James H. Schmidt, founding publisher of Tales for Travellers. Kipling is one of twelve great writers selected for inclusion in the first boxed volume of Tales, a unique publishing venture in which short stories (“The Gardener,” in Kipling’s case) are printed on a single twenty-three- by sixteen-inch sheet of paper and presented in roadmap form.
Birches and pines mark the way to the Ducktrap River Fish Farm along Pitcher Pond Road off Maine’s Route 52. There is no sign, but in the clearing near the fast-flowing waters of Kendall Brook, a tributary of the Ducktrap River outside Lincolnville, are eight net-covered gravel-and-dirt raceways filled with thirty thousand rainbow trout.
Over the last several years just about every outdoor garment you’d ever need has been made lighter, drier, tougher, warmer...and better-looking. Except boots. Until very recently it was the same old boots year after year, leaving you to believe, sadly, that there just wasn’t any solution to the problem of cold, wet feet.
You’ve decided to celebrate something special—turning thirty-two, the vernal equinox, W. C. Fields’s birthday—and you’re having some friends over. Perhaps it’s a sit-down dinner for ten, an opportunity to show off your mastery of the New American Cuisine.
The awesome beauty, the haunting romance,of the timeless nightmare
William Broyles, Jr.
<p>I last saw Hiers in a rice paddy in Vietnam. He was nineteen then—my wonderfully skilled and maddeningly insubordinate radio operator. For months we were seldom more than three feet apart. Then one day he went home, and fifteen years passed before we met by accident last winter at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.</p>
NOT many writers I know would like walking around a factory floor in East Peoria, Illinois. I do. Better duty to some would be the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel or the press room of the White House. But there is a problem here in East Peoria that is a problem for much of good old-style manufacturing America, and I am walking around this factory floor looking for a way to illustrate the problem.
A farewell to Andy Kaufman— by one who shared the ride
<p>In the summer of 1973 I was an aspiring singer working as a hostess at a comedy club in New York’s “Hell’s Kitchen” section. I would go onstage between comics, a position I liked to think of as a lemon sorbet between courses, but which always ended up more like grout.</p>
YES! The results are in: God,the family, and old-fashioned values
Ben J. Wattenberg
<p>It is my good fortune to be a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a leading think tank in Washington, D.C. There, I am coeditor of a magazine called Public Opinion. Although we believe our magazine publishes many distinguished articles of general interest, our claim to fame is Opinion Roundup, a regular twenty-page center section that presents the distilled results of public-opinion polling in America and around the world.</p>
Men and Women Are Working Out, But Are They Working It Out?
IT APPEARS at first to be a luxurious torture chamber, a vast room dominated by rows of gleaming guillotines, iron maidens, pillories, and other structures with silver chains attached to sprocket wheels and chrome-plated steel crossbars from which hang the bodies of men and women who, were they wearing black leather head harnesses, would be ideally attired for a sado-fashion photo session with Helmut Newton in Vogue.
<p>THE ONLY IMAGE I can really remember of when my father told me that he was going to become a woman is a rhododendron tree. Night was about to fall; we were walking down the drive of our house. My father was nervous; I, at eighteen, was not exactly unprepared; and the rhododendron tree was in full flower, in spite of the winter air.</p>
AN OLD friend of mine who is a correspondent in Moscow told me at dinner recently that the Russians are deeply concerned about Ronald Reagan. He said that Valentin Falin, a prominent commentator in the Soviet newspaper Izvestia, had warned him the Soviet Union fears the Reagan administration’s increasing lack of control over nuclear weapons.
Only a true champion can hear the first final bell
<p>IN EVERY WORLD-CLASS ATHLETE THERE IS AT WORK A MAGNIFICENT ALCHEMY OF MIND AND BODY AND SPIRIT THAT SOMEHOW GENERATES A SUM SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER THAN ITS PARTS. DESPITE ITS INTANGIBILITY, IT IS THAT WHICH OVER THE LONG COMPETITIVE HAUL ULTIMATELY SEPARATES THE very finest from the merely gifted, and because that difference is always so slight and often imperceptible, those who have it win and those who don’t, don’t.</p>
An Indispensable Guide to Holiday Entertaining Glen Waggoner on the Modern American Thanksgiving Colin L.Westerbeck Jr. on the Just Desserts of Christmas Leslie Newman on the Care and Feeding of Two Hundred
In modem, mobile America, holiday gatherings are no longer a matter of ritual reflex. Family and friends are scattered here and there, and, let’s face it, people just don’t get together the way they used to. So how do you deal with this breakdown of tradition and still have a meaningful holiday? These pages will show you how.
<p>The first and most emphatically American holiday of the season is also the best. You are not yet exhausted from a binge of overindulgence in service of social obligation. You have a long weekend to look forward to after a day of midweek pleasure.</p>
When my daughter was little, Christmas was an all-day affair. It began with coffee and opening presents early in the morning (not too early, though), and the rest of the day seemed to be spent either eating or getting ready to eat. In memory those Christmases all blend together, the details as indistinct as when you remember a dream.
On the fourth Friday of every November the turkey platter and the gravy boat go back in the cupboard, and a tattered news clipping goes up on the kitchen wall. It’s an irate letter to a food editor protesting the very idea that a normal working person without a staff of servants could actually attempt to make “Dinner for Forty.
The main function of a guest is to have a good time, or at least to convince his host that he is. To have a good time, it helps to be relaxed and confident about what used to be called one’s conduct. That’s where manners come in....
It’s almost always better to be invited to the parties you attend; and you can expect most invitations to come either through the mail or over the phone. The essence of telephone-invitation etiquette is: make up your mind promptly and stick to your decision.
This is far from the most fashionable neck of Manhattan, though it’s convenient to Madison Square Garden, but Rojas-Lombardi at the Ballroom is one of the most unusual dining rooms in town. For despite some superb Spanish main dishes, such as veal shank with tripe and black olives or quail with duck giblets, the cognoscenti come here for the tapas: the Spanish equivalent of canapés or Italian antipasto.
Last Christmas Xavier Roberts’s dolls came out of the cabbage patch and made him millions. Now the Georgia inventor wants to be the new Walt Disney
<p>AT THIS BRIGHT JUNE MOMENT Xavier Roberts—the twenty-nine-year-old folk artist who created the Cabbage Patch Kids, a mountain boy from a Dogpatch town who, from a standing start in June 1983, helped sell half a billion dollars’ worth of baby dolls, whose breakthrough marketing idea of adopting rather than purchasing the dolls caused riots last Christmas and created the grandest fad since the Hula-Hoop nearly thirty years ago—is motoring along Georgia Interstate 129 South in his new Jaguar Vanden Plas.</p>
<p>AS THE BLACK BUS BARRELS SOUTHWARD, THE SUN BEGINS TO DROP BELOW THE HORIZON, AND UP AHEAD, FAR AWAY, THE SPIRES OF NEW YORK CITY GLIMMER IN THE DUSK. GREGG ALLMAN, HIS LEAD GUITARIST, DANNY TOLER, AND HIS PIANIST, TIM HEDING, ARE SITTING AROUND A SMALL TABLE IN THE FRONT OF THE COACH, WITH THE REST OF THE BAND MEMBERS ASLEEP IN BUNKS at the back.</p>
Most record companies can’t wait to get their hands on a new album by a hot act, especially since most big names can take years to put out. But recently dance diva Madonna placed her record company, Sire/ Warner Bros., in a rather pleasant predicament.
LIFE WAS TAKING ITS TRANQUIL COURSE AT THE HOME OF A FAMILY WE’LL CALL THE STEPHENSES IN A SUBURBAN DEVELOPMENT OUTSIDE HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA— AND THEN THE CRANK CALLS STARTED. MONTH AFTER MONTH THEY CONTINUED, RARELY LESS THAN FIVE AND SOMETIMES AS MANY AS TEN A DAY, WITH THE CALLER EITHER HANGING UP immediately or breathing hoarsely into the receiver before doing so.
SOMEWHERE DEEP INTO THE DARK MIDDLE OF THE TALISMAN I AM STRUCK BY THE HORROR. GRANTED, A COLLABORATION BETWEEN STEPHEN KING (THE SHINING, PET SEMATARY) AND PETER STRAUB (GHOST STORY, SHADOWLAND) IS EXPECTED TO BE HORRIFIC, BUT WHAT THEY HAVE WROUGHT WITH THE “LOST-CHILD FANTASY” IS FAR MORE GRUESOME THAN EARLIER versions of this theme—The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland, for instance.
Marilyn Minter paints it hot, Christof Kohlhofer paints it cold. Together they argue, scream, and stay up all night painting pictures. Marilyn paints the ironic, pop images in their work (for example, the baby in the painting above, 2:35 A.M., What Do You Need Mommy For), and Christof splashes in the mysterious, violent side of life.
<p>The citadel was dark and the heroes were sleeping. When they breathed, it sounded as if they were testing the air for dragon smoke. On their sofas of spice and feathers, the concubines also slept fretfully. In those days the earth was still flat, and people dreamed often of falling over edges.</p>
<p>AND SO here we are, halfway up a mountain in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and Ilie Nastase gets a rash on his hand. Not only that, his girlfriend gets a rash on her body—I don’t know where, he’s got her stashed out of sight—and I have broken out, wouldn’t you know it?, in stigmata.</p>
WITHIN TWO MONTHS a robot will be performing brain surgery on people. The robot, a computerized arm with an imaging device, will assist doctors in neurosurgery, according to Yik San Kwoh, research director of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Medical Center of Long Beach, California.
High-tech Executives Network Their Way to Silicon Success
WHEN OBSERVERS TRY to explain the development of high-tech hotbeds such as northern California’s Silicon Valley or Boston’s Route 128 corridor, they usually point to the nearby universities and the good quality of life. Often ignored in these analyses, however, is the important role that is played by “networking,” the interaction between entrepreneurs and various support services.
THE BRAIN ON the TV screen looks like a topographical map, red and orange peaks on the left, a blue valley to the right, scattered patches of green. “Now,” says a voice, “visualize yourself at the seashore.” Instantly the red and orange zones shift to the right brain, the blue areas move to the left, and you realize that this is not just the image of someone’s brain, but is actually your brain, right now.
JUST AS PEOPLE are always wondering what kind of car Ralph Nader drives and where Craig Claiborne goes for take-out, people are always asking me exactly what vitamins I take. In the nearly two years I’ve been serving as connoisseur and consumer advocate of the New American health food store culture I’ve made it a point to read about and keep up with every vitamin and food supplement fad.
AS THE AUTHOR of Kaboom!, one of the top-selling video games of all time, Larry Kaplan never has to work again. Living off the sale of his Activision founder’s stock, the thirty-five-year-old could invest his money conservatively and probably never have to take another job.
PRESENTING THE DIO-MID, a new product from renowned Arizona dowser and new-age inventor Wayne Cook. It’s a double-apex pyramid with a base made of special types of natural elements that, according to Cook, emits a strong protective electromagnetic field that acts as a shield and protects you from microwaves, corona fields from high-tension power lines, and even radiation.