THE TIME was twenty-five years ago this month, the place was sunny Camelot, things were going straight from okay to worse, and the Dubious Achievement Awards were born. So much for the good news. The bad news is that if our report on 1986 is any indication, the future looks dimmer than ever.
DAVID HALBERSTAM demonstrated vast insight in his article, “How Datsun Discovered America” (October). Yutaka Katayama is a visionary. What he saw in the American car market, he acted upon, in spite of resistance from Nissan in Tokyo. For those who think that Japan’s “organizational culture” lacks leaders, Katayama is proof otherwise.
Supper was excruciating. Mom made you confess all the transgressions of a midsummer’s day to Dad, who extracted apologies and then went on to note new misdemeanors—elbows touching table, liver neglected, chewing obstreperous—even as you dined.
The way I see it, mufflers are a lot like socks and neckties: they are strictly an offthe-rack item. No need to rush to your tailor to be fitted; the ready-made will do. Scarves, neckerchiefs, mufflers—whatever you want to call them— they are a layer of warmth and a dash of color, and they bring to mind a number of memorable images.
Lately, a new wave of small, plush vessels has come to the rescue of travelers who wouldn’t be dragged aboard a huge passenger liner. Built to hold from 32 to 250 passengers with the utmost in service and style, these “pocket liners” go to remote anchorages and harbors the big guys never see and carry diving gear and other sports equipment that can be used right from the deck.
If you’re good at breaking dates, it can only mean you’re doing it too often. It should be tough, something you do so rarely that you never master the knack. We’re talking here about breaking a social engagement, not canceling a meeting for which you need more time to prepare.
Many of the worst encounters ever recorded between man and alcohol have occurred around a punch bowl. No one who ever lubricated an evening with Purple Passion, the quintessential graduate-school punch made with grape juice and 190-proof grain alcohol pilfered from the chemistry-department storeroom, is likely to have forgotten the experience.
Compared with the other great rice dishes of the world, the northern Italian specialty, Risotto alia Parmigiana, is a sly arriviste. It offers none of the hiss and swagger of a Chinese sizzling rice soup, no complex lacings of flavors as in the legendary Indian biryanis and Middle Eastern pilafs, not a speck of the childhood nostalgia that sugars the best bowl of rice pudding.
The boy who dares to tread where no man has gone before
“WE’RE GOING to have spaghetti tonight,” said Thomas Lucas on his seventeenth birthday. “My mom makes excellent spaghetti. Especially the sauce. She uses sausage, chicken, mushrooms, peppers—I’ve only made spaghetti sauce once, but it can’t come close to Mom’s.”
How do you keep in check the beast that lurks within us all?
MY IDEA of hell is standing in a crowd of strangers while the one person I know—the woman I love—enthralls an old boyfriend whose luster has not entirely faded. When I arrive there I will find myself in one of two settings, places I knew in life.
When returning to a sport, it’s best to put aside past triumphs and failures and set new, realistic goals
LAST NEW Year’s Eve my wife and I were making our annual resolutions over a bit of the bubbly, and after trading a few declarations on some harmless faults and vices, I blurted out, “I’m going to play baseball this summer!” My wife reminded me that although dreaming of a comeback would warm the cockles of my hot stove each winter, I’d end up settling for softball, and then I’d complain all summer about the unsatisfying skill level and competitive intensity of the games.
Back in early 1984, two sharp investors I know—one an investment banker, the other a business writer—decided to go global. When my friends moved heavily into shares of the Transatlantic Fund, one of the specialty funds dedicated to buying shares of companies based outside the American markets, equities traded in the evermore entwined capital markets abroad had outperformed the U.S. market for five years straight.
If you’re one of those people who schedule trips to get away from the telephone, you won’t remember the 1980s as the Golden Age of Travel. These days the trick isn’t finding phones on the road, it’s avoiding them. There are all sorts of exotic new places and ways to make a phone call, the most visible and glamorous being the Airfone radio telephones now found on fifteen major airlines’ planes.
Something about New York makes it the quintessential pied-à-terre town, a place to keep a foot on the ground, without extending roots too deeply. For many businessmen, the Big Apple is a frequent and inescapable stop in the contemporary grand tour.
Some guys are really neat, and more power to them. My former capo, Chuck, for instance, was a maniac. His shelves groaned beneath meticulous tomes of mouldering memos, speeches delivered by defunct executives, even, God help us, résumés of supplicants long since employed by others, or dead.
If you own a Matisse oil or a Brancusi sculpture, the likelihood is that your work has been professionally appraised, the appraisal has been kept current, and the object is properly insured—as scheduled property under a fine-arts floater.
Everyone wants to know he’s getting the best deal for his dollar, but few of us are willing to spend hours on nitpicking research and price-versusperformance comparisons. So to take the legwork out of bargain-hunting, American Videotext Services is providing a crash course in careful shopping.
In their hilltop Victorian in Sausalito, Mike and Gina Cerre do things to remind themselves they’re home. They drink white wine and look out the windows at California. They go into the garden and pick lettuce, pick strawberries. This past year, the Cerres have been traveling—to the islands of Fiji, the barrios of Argentina, the football fields of Australia.
Recently I attended a high-level economic conference in Venice. Every morning, we would clamber into a motor launch on the Grand Canal and rumble off to the island of San Giorgio, a carabiniere boat with its uniformed officers alongside in deference to the security needs of some of the guests.
It was an awful year if you happened to be an island dictator, a dairy farmer in greater Kiev, or an employee at CBS. But it was just as bad everywhere else. Herewith the proof.
<p>It was in 1962 that Esquire first elevated the public screw-up to an exalted accomplishment. Over the past twenty-five years, a total of 5,358 Dubious Achievements have been awarded to a broad range of politicians, movie stars, athletes, scientists, and jogging pigs.</p>
A farm boy returns to find what he can amid the fields of loss
<p>FROM the back porch of my parents’ farmhouse you can look out past a brief yard bordered by a wooden fence that my father’s fastidious maintenance keeps as white and fresh as hope, past a small vegetable garden to the fields running south to a two-lane highway.</p>
All of England cheered him; he was the rowdy champion, the greatest cricket player on earth. What a bloody shame, how it all turned out
<p>Here in Trinidad they have a word of their own for the situation in Ian Botham’s room in the Port-of-Spain Hilton, where the most celebrated and scandalous cricketer of his time, wrapped only in a white towel, sits at the edge of his bed talking on the telephone to his solicitor 4,400 miles away in London.</p>
TO the uninitiated, the game of cricket has always been an impenetrable hodgepodge of irrational moves, eccentric rules, and obscure terms (hands up, what’s a googly?). Cricket grounds, for instance, vary extravagantly in size and shape.
If he's so darned perspicacious, why is everybody picking on him?
William A. Henry III
George F. Will is standing in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, on the ground where he feels most at home, and he is talking on the telephone, where he actually is most at home. “For once I’m not off making a speech,” he says with his trademark boyish laugh, a sound somewhere between a hoot and a door slamming.
FLAMBOYANCE is no newer to the Los Angeles landscape than it is to the Los Angeles way of life. The desert vistas, punctuated only by palm trees and cypresses, seem to inspire and support the drama: Egyptian temple apartments, houses resembling Scottish castles, and always a flying saucer or two.
<p>Humpy, the stuck-up librarian, ruined little Brody. There is a certain truth down in there allowing them a purchase, at least, upon what happened. For I must say that if I had not read so many books, I could only have seen Brody as a runaway and so would probably not have helped him.</p>
Page 55: Nixon • UPI/Bettmann Newsphotos: Carter • UPI/Bettmann Newsphotos; Kissinger • AP/Wide World Photos; Reagans • Ron Galella; Watt • AP/Wide World Photos; Sinatra • Russell C. Turiak/Outline; Lewis • Phototeque; Koch • AP/Wide World Photos; Burton
Edmund Wilson used to answer unwanted mail with a printed card that read, EDMUND WILSON REGRETS THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO, followed by a two-column list of the things Edmund Wilson did not do, with the appropriate one checked off. Among the things Edmund Wilson found it impossible to do was read unsolicited manuscripts, give jacket blurbs, agree to be interviewed, comment on the state of literature, give speeches, judge contests, or take part in writers’ congresses.
Who is Martin Amis, and why is everybody saying such terrible things about him?
LONDON—After a while it begins to sound like a nursery rhyme. Martin Amis-bashing hasn’t quite become the national sport over here, but in the insular, incestuous London literary world and its journalistic fringes, it has become something of a reflex.
Albert Hien is one of a growing number of artists who are creating kinetic sculptures, works in which motion plays a primary role. Hien—whose sculptures are an interplay of machinery and such elements as light, fire, and water—was bom and now lives in Munich; his work will be on display this summer at Documenta 8, an international exhibition in West Germany.