EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, IN HIS INTRODUCtion to Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire’s History of the Sixties, editor Harold Hayes observed that “decades seldom start on schedule. The Thirties began in ’29 with the Depression; the Forties with World War II in ’41; the Fifties with the election of Dwight Eisenhower in ’52; and the Sixties ten months after the turn of the year, when, in his television debate with Jack Kennedy, Richard Nixon’s face signaled defeat.”
THIS MONTH’S LEAD FEATURE (“RONALD Reagan and the Supremes,” page 77) is by Victor Navasky, editor of The Nation. It is an essay that explores the relationship of Ronald Reagan to the United States courts, strongly asserting that the President has done more damage than the country knows or, possibly, wants to see.
I AM SIXTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD AND WISH I HAD AGED AS beautifully as Esquire. Your January 1987 issue of Dubious Achievements caused me to smile, giggle, and laugh out loud. It’s a delight to read genuine wit. Rae Miller Heneson Baltimore, Md. YOUR DUBIOUS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS OF 1986 WERE insulting, sarcastic, cynical, disrespectful, rude, tasteless, and irresponsible.
High on the list of things nobody needs—far above the solar-powered food processor and nearly up there with vicuña socks—is the two-seater car. In the entire history of transportation, nobody has ever needed a two-seater. Which explains, in a rather indirect way, why everybody lusts after them.
Among the reasons baseball occupies so special a niche in American popular culture is that, of all the games we play, it has changed the least. Why else do baseball fans become so worked up by the sport’s endless array of statistics? Unlike their football and basketball counterparts, they know that the game’s numbers permit valid comparison of player performance over time.
When the future Edward VII of England was only ten years old, his mother, Queen Victoria, wrote him a letter intended to put the fear of God into him regarding good judgment in dress. “We do not wish to control your own tastes and fancies,” she wrote, “but we do expect that you will never wear anything extravagant or slang, not because we don’t like it but because it would prove a want of self-respect and be an offence against decency, leading, as it has often done before in others, to an indifference to what is morally wrong.”
Back in the 1970s, Americans stirred from a prolonged slumber and woke up to foreign beers. Not in huge numbers and not, as a rule, outside major cities. But there were enough defectors to establish a definite trend. Over the past fifteen years the imports have come out of nowhere to grab between 4 and 5 percent of the mammoth U.S. market.
And now from the bird-shooting subculture comes additional proof that the world is really sadly imperfect; clay pigeons, it seems, are toxic to hogs. Some farmer somewhere shot clay pigeons over a hog wallow, and soon thereafter, having eaten the clay shards, the hogs slept their deep, final sleep.
At the fashionable Rosa Mexicano restaurant in New York, there’s a tiny dark-eyed Mexican woman from the southern state of Oaxaca making cornmeal tortillas the way Mexican women have made them for hundreds of years. In her hands she kneads a tiny ball of freshly made masa harina, flattens it with a metal tortilla press, and tosses it on a hot cast-iron griddle.
In the olden days, Real Men read and wrote poetry, lots of poetry. They recited inspirational works to exhort weary troops into battle, they whispered lyrics to lure their sweethearts into the apple orchard, and, that accomplished, they sang wondrous fables of life and death and mythic adventures to lull restless children to sleep.
Self-denial has never been one of my long suits. When I was just a little round fellow stuffed into my Husky chinos, my folks used to ring an imaginary bell to stop my progress through a third helping of Rice-A-Roni. “Boing,” my dad would say, and my mom would whisk the plate from beneath my nose.
SOMETIMES WHEN I THINK BACK TO THE Sixties, and the heroes I grew up with, it seems that no one is left. President Kennedy is dead. The Beatles can never sing together again. Martin Luther King is dead. But then it occurs to me: one man remains. James Bond is still alive.
<p>HOW IMPRESSIVE IT IS TO SIT IN MY friend’s backyard on the outskirts of Beverly Hills—to watch the hazy sunshine glint off the aquamarine surface of his kidney-shaped pool, to hear the Santa Ana breezes ruffle the deep green of his cypress trees.</p>
“BASEBALL,” GEORGE WILL ONCE PONtificated, “resembles nothing so much as the universe,” a bit of extension-course metaphysics that is a perfect example of the kind of cosmic bullshit indulged in by soi-disant intellectuals when they try to plumb the religion of the diamond for meaning.
OUR SON RANDY AND A COUPLE OF friends left early for one of their Saturday rides. Half the day later, we were headed out for a walk when the phone rang. It was Randy. One of them had bent a rim. Could we pick them up? We spotted the three friends in front of the little store on the edge of the state park.
Since legislation opened up IRAs to all working Americans, one in three citizens has decided to take advantage of the effective matching grant from the public coffers. Sock away as much as two grand, the deal went, and the government would allow a tax deduction that worked out to a $1,000 reward for those in the 50-percent tax bracket.
A $1,100 ticket to Hong Kong selling for $699. A $1,200 ticket to Sydney for $760. A $1,360 ticket to Rio for $730. They may all be available at your friendly neighborhood bucket shop. Bucket shops—whose operators greatly prefer the term discount travel agencies—provide scant few of the usual agency services.
Charleston Place borrows more than its name from that Carolinian city 450 miles to the north. The general layout of each of its 105 units is based on a style found in many Charleston houses in which the courtyard is situated on the side of the property.
I’ve been asked to do some pretty wacky stuff during my long years on the corporate poop deck. There was Barney, my erstwhile vice-president of human resources, who wanted me to spend six months per year traveling to Chatahoochie, St. Paul, and other locations where pastrami is scarce to lecture the troops on the wonders of productivity.
There is no better remedy for the end-of-winter blahs than a schuss down an Alpine slope or a dose of Caribbean sun. And if you’re planning a vacation, probably the item furthest from your thoughts is insurance. Still, you should understand what your policies do and do not provide, and when augmenting your insurance may be advisable.
With the advent of the personal computer, adept PC owners could access Dow Jones data bases for pertinent stock information, eliminating much of the need for a broker. Now, with the new SchwabLine, Charles Schwab and Company has eliminated the computer.
It looks like a NASA space launch. The high-tech murmur of three hundred operators in front of flickering green computer screens; wires snaking under the royal-blue carpeting; TV camera and big Klieg spotlights and forty million households waiting and watching.
<p>IVAN BOESKY HAD NOT YET BEEN BRANDED on the covers of national magazines when he gave the commencement address at the University of California School of Business Administration in 1985. In the tradition of graduation speakers, Boesky had some words of advice for the new graduates. “Greed is all right,” he said. ‘‘Greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.” </p>
As the sun sets on the Reagan era, the President’s day in court is just beginning
<p>Joke, heard a few weeks before the surfacing of the Iran arms deal: One night Ron and Nancy, tired of eating at the White House, decided to dine out. "Would madam care for a cocktail to start?" asked the maître d’. Nancy ordered a glass of California champagne.</p>
JOHN SCULLEY WAXES MILDLY TECHNICAL AS he describes his study, the room he refers to as the control center of his life. In his home on the San Francisco peninsula, the chairman of Apple Computer needed a space with a “wider intellectual bandwidth” than the corridors of corporate power.
Is America’s nebbish auteur taking himself too seriously? Funny you should ask
<p>WOODY ALLEN PEERS OUT FROM A half-opened door and damned if he doesn’t look cute. Somber, but cute. One may have arrived with the thought of roughing him up a little bit, but one leaves wanting to play some small part in his support system. He merits protection, like a threatened rare loon, even one that gets on your nerves sometimes with its whining.</p>
1. Which is not one of Broadway Danny Rose’s motley acts? (a) a blind xylophone act; (b) a parrot who sings “I Gotta Be Me”; (c) a breakdancing dermatologist; (d) a skating penguin dressed as a rabbi 2. In Hannah and Her Sisters, what unusual feature does Mickey say his analyst has installed in his office?
Presenting the Grand Old Game in This the Year of Our Lord 1987
Jose Canseco taking BP A 2-0 count, George Brett digging his left foot in a little deeper Billy Bucks walking slowly across the diamond with his head up The Cobra coming back to put up MVP numbers two years in a row Don Mattingly up for his fourth at bat after going 0-for-3 The steel in Don Zimmer’s backbone.
<p>AFTER THE HOUSE WAS MORE OR less finished, Drew dug out the contractor’s original estimate and read it carefully, as he supposed he ought to have done in the first place. Sure enough, there was nothing in it about landscaping. So there they were, with a house more or less finished (except for a few electrical fixtures and, of course, the landscaping) and no money.</p>
The humble Gulf redfish (Sciaenops ocellata), so recently in danger of being blackened into extinction, couldn’t be happier. And why not? The Cajun rage in cooking finally seems to be coming to an end. Don’t panic. Etouffée and gumbo and andouille will not be declared controlled substances.
IN MONTREAL, THINGS COME IN TWOS. THERE are two mountains—Westmount and Mount Royal—which give the city its geographical contour, and two languages spoken by its inhabitants—French and English—which shape Montreal in just about every other way.
YOU ARE SITTING IN THE BAR OF THE RESTAURANT Muralto, a place so sophisticated that the men’s room is designated only by a watering can, the ladies room, a clamshell. The Muralto takes up the entire forty-first floor of the Torre Latinoamericana, the tallest building in Mexico City, which already has an altitude of over seven thousand feet without anybody’s help.
IN PARIS IT’S TOO MUCH hauteur; in Rome it’s the Italian impatience. In London it costs too much, considering the general carelessness. In Vienna one dreams of jogging. Among the major capitals of Europe, Madrid has got it down best. Once you’ve learned the Madrileños way of staving off hunger till as late as possible (lunch after 2:00, dinner after 10:30), you will dine out more pleasantly than in any other traffic-choked city in the world.
In the city of Joyce, Synge, and O'Casey, Dubliners outwit the hard life with talk, drink, and dreams
EVER SINCE I FORMED A DESIRE TO WRITE, BACK in my college days, I have wanted to visit Dublin. Like the Alexandria of Lawrence Durrell, it holds a special place in the modem literary imagination, taking its colors, textures, and smells from the work of such Irish giants as Joyce, Yeats, and O’Casey.
HOW TO GET THERE: Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline, flies daily out of New York (twice a day in summer) and one to three times a week out of Boston, depending on the season. All flights leave in the evening and arrive at Shannon Airport, in the west of Ireland, at around 7:30 in the morning.
In fashion, there are two. One is navy. The other is white. It’s been that way since men first adapted the maritime uniform to peacetime pursuits. On the following pages, Esquire presents classic styles in classic colors for days by the water—wherever it’s found
On page T22: In-wear/Matinique tank at Bloomingdale’s, New York; Marshall Field’s, Chicago; Debrah’s, Jacksonville, Florida; I. Magnin, San Francisco; In-wear/Matinique stores nationwide. For information contact: In-wear/Matinique, 485 Seventh Avenue, Room 900, New York, New York 10018.
STANDING ON THE SEVENTH TEE OF THE NORTH Course at Grand Cypress, you begin to have second thoughts about your erstwhile hero, Jack Nicklaus. Sure, he’s the greatest golfer who ever mashied a niblick, but he also designed the golf course at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Everything from retro shopping malls to postmodern restaurants. At least for the next five minutes
<p>WAIT A MINUTE, THOUGH, where’s Flip? A few years ago, when this stretch of Melrose was nothing special (much less something precious), when these blocks were just another desperate shot at getting across town on time, when the only other neighborhood outlet for your hepness was Aron’s promo-copy-heaven record store, there was Flip of Hollywood, a big, wide place full of nifty New Wave and used-wave clothes that saved you a lifetime of sifting through Culver City thrift shops.</p>
GETTING THERE: Unless you are staying and working close to LAX, see about flying into smaller, less chaotic airports such as Burbank or Long Beach. BREATHING: Find out about air quality as well as weather when planning your visit. During periods of high smog, you’re better off staying on the west side than downtown or in the Valley, unless this entails unbearable/unconscionable amounts of driving.
If tax deductions—or the new lack of them— have you on a shorter leash this spring, the least you can do for yourself is to put more enjoyment into fewer trips. The latest trend is for some mid-level and economy travel companies to fancy up their products so you can feel like a king for a princely price.
In 1885, a civil engineer named Eiffel asked the city of Paris for permission to build a monument of latticed iron that would stand twice as tall as the Great Pyramid of Giza. The French, with their fondness for nuance, were mostly appalled. In two year’s time, the Tower was built, and in due course came to look more like Paris than Paris itself.
After twenty-five books, ten movies, and enough hard living to kill any man, Elmore Leonard is hotter than a pistol
<p>Here he is at Tiger Stadium in Detroit on a September baseball night hanging on to summer. He is getting ready to watch Jack Morris, the Tiger ace, go for win number nineteen against the Toronto Blue Jays. Elmore Leonard looks just like what a drunk mistakenly called him once in his drinking days, back at this joint called Stan’s in Fort Lauderdale: little Princeton s.o.b. </p>
A navigator and a bombardier relive two dangerous missions of World War II—when duty, heroism, and staying alive all meant the same thing
<p>YOU WERE IN THE GREAT RABAUL raid of last August, weren’t you?" asked Captain Faulstick, an officer pilot-trainee. “I was,” answered Captain Whitehall, who instructed cadet pilots in navigation. “What great raid were you in?” "I was not in any that important," Faulstick said, and hesitated.</p>
Opening day is measured by the calendar, not by the conditions—by the fisherman’s need for action, not his need for comfort. It is the time when his thoughts turn to the timeless mystery that holds beneath the surface. And it is the time when his thoughts turn to the feel and the sound of clear water, however chilled.