Lest you have any remaining doubts that the Reagan era is kaput, the Eighties are history, and the siècle itself is fin, take a ramble through our twenty-seventh annual Dubious Achievement Awards, which begin on page 53. It occurs to us that 1987 may go down as just possibly the worst (best?) dubious year we’ve had the pleasure (misery?) of skewering.
Tom Shales proved himself a marksman with “Woody: The First Fifty Years” (April) and does it again with “Is Comedy Making a Comeback or What?" (October). It’s true: most of today’s comedy hit men do consider Johnny Carson and David Letterman to be the two dons of organized comedy, and I think we the audience should consider ourselves lucky that two normal, kind of level-headed midwestern boys are doing the driving.
<p>Damon Runyon once said that all life is 6-5 against. In a casino, it can get a whole lot worse. Everything about a casino is calculated to separate you from your senses and, ultimately, your money. In most cases, there are no clocks or windows to distract you from the business at hand.</p>
Maybe you want to spend a winter weekend at the summer cottage. Or put in a few hours puttering in the unheated garage workshop. Or hole up in a drafty thirdfloor garret somewhere until, by God, you make some sense of Finnegans Wake. What you need, obviously, is an efficient, economical, durable, safe portable space heater—say, the Dual Flow Convector Heater by DēLonghi America (Model DF 15 Turbo; $59).
Dar es Salaam at 3:30 in the morning is a very dark place. And it is quiet. You walk the middle of the street trying to look purposeful. Ahead, on the sidewalk, three men crouch around a small charcoal fire. Your shoulders broaden. One hand finds the “spartan” model Swiss army knife in your jacket pocket.
In his memoirs, the late crooner-saxophonist Rudy Vallee (Yale ’27) looked back on his college days from a vantage point of nearly forty years. Among otherthings, he recalled the raccoon coat: “It may be cause for a yock today,” he said, “but in those dim dark days it was a very serious matter.”
Your booming drive splits the middle of the verdant fairway, without so much as a fraction of hook or slice. Then it rolls through the gaping mouth of a giant frog, ricochets off the windmill’s blade, shoots down through a tunnel and out the other side of the mountain, bangs into the retaining wall, and trickles back, back, back . . . into the cup.
There is something mystical about cooking a meal in one pot. After all, the making of stew must have been one of the first acts of community for the tribe of primitive man. Until the cooking vessel was invented, the standard bill of fare was each to his own piece of meat or potato tossed on the tribal fire, rummaged out when done and downed in solitude.
Here was the dilemma: Since 1968, I have been going to the national political conventions. Chicago, Miami, Detroit, Kansas City, New York, Dallas... the convention sites seem to blend together. The problem was, as a twenty-one-year-old in 1968, I thought that a national political convention was just about the most exciting place a person could ever be.
A favorite photo in the “working” section of our family album shows mainly the back end of a young bull. I’m hauling left on his tail while a cowboy hauls right on a rope, and the critter is kicking up a mighty fog of dust in his struggle not to get thrown.
A little orange-haired man in a blue golf shirt was asking for directions at the United States Tennis Open. It was the day after John McEnroe had tried to take a run through the seven words George Carlin says you can’t say on television, finishing by telling a chair umpire named Richard Ings to “suck ----.”
I recently gave one of my closest friends a bum stock tip. I told Myron, a dedicated young professor, to turn a few thousand of the more than $100,000 he’d just inherited into shares of a “hot” little company called Omnibus Computer Graphics.
Tax write-offs have been written out of the new tax code by the gross, but you can still earn tax credits by renovating a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This explains why real estate companies have entered into the business of preserving America’s architectural heritage.
Every four weeks the Department of Transportation releases a summary of airtravel complaints it has received that month, breaking down the list by air1ine and by type of complaint. During periods when the public is generally unhappy with the airlines, these lists get more press play and DOT’S complaint hot-line number is published more frequently.
Parents and grandparents who want to help their young children and grandchildren accumulate a comfortable nest egg face a harder task now than in the tax years prior to 1986. Because of changes in the tax laws, the creation of sizable custodian or trust accounts for children under the age of fourteen is no longer as advantageous a strategy as it used to be.
It is only fitting, at this somber, sodden time of year, to step back from the rush of everyday business and reflect on what might have been, what yet may be. And after such contemplation and sixteen beers, it’s common to find that, no matter how great things are going and everything, we’d like next year to be a lot better.
It was a small story buried inside The Wall Street Journal on a Wednesday in mid-July, six weeks after Jim and Tammy appeared on Nightline and six weeks before Michael Jackson’s new album came out; one week after Ollie took the stand and four months after Ronald Reagan forgot whether or not he approved arms sales to Iran.
Recalling the details of her seven-year-old tryst with the Reverend Jim Bakker, Jessica Hahn said Bakker encouraged her submission by saying, “When you help the shepherd, you’re helping the sheep." In a Playboy interview, Jessica Hahn declared, "I am not a bimbo...."
<p>Long before the killings, the trials, the fantasies of revolution, Johnny Spain was a six-year-old boy who lived in a small bungalow on the south side of Jackson, Mississippi. His father, Fred, drove a beer truck; his mother, Ann, manufactured TV cabinets.</p>
Gianfranco Ferre may be one of the lions of the fashion industry, but he arrived at the field by default. He grew up near Milan, descended from a line of art aficionados who were well dressed, but off handedly so. His interest in art and form led him to architecture, but after obtaining his university degree, Ferre realized that the process was too constricting.
Black against the sunlit yellow grass a handful of buffalo grazed where once they had walked in uncounted millions. No longer were they disturbed by the booming guns of hide-hunters nor stampeded over cliffs by charging Indians, but when the old bull lifted his head he glimpsed the riders and memory stirred.
Two hundred bucks for a shirt? You’ve got to be kidding. What do they use, gold thread? No, gold is nowhere near strong enough for the thirty stitches per inch that give a top-quality custom-made shirt its exceptional durability—and help make it a sensible alternative to ready-made, the best of which have only eighteen to twenty stitches per inch.
Just at the western flank of the thin city of Ventura, the road to Ojai peels north from 101. To the south lie fairgrounds and the rocks of the Channel, where surfers in lurid neoprene walk their boards through the first light crust of surf. On the streets down the incline from this exit, Ventura dead-ends in rail sidings and overpasses.
<p>Primo Levi was born and raised in Northern Italy and was a good, somewhat shy student who grew up to be a chemist. He was twenty-four years old when the Nazis occupied his country. He joined the partisan effort but soon was betrayed, and when he confessed to being Jewish, he was put aboard the cattle cars headed for Auschwitz.</p>
<p>Here is why you should know about Pete Carril. You will, no doubt, be interested in the successful coaches in college basketball: the ones with benches full of athletic prodigies, with multiyear six-figure contracts, with lavish inducements for promising prospects, with the passionate exhortations of pneumatic cheerleaders and screaming crowds ringing in their ears as they stalk telegenically up and down the sidelines.</p>
The story of how Drew lost his raincoat at a party and then got it back was mildly amusing, and Drew managed to tell it in a rather spirited manner; but he usually left out just enough of it to feel slightly dishonest. He always left out the very beginning, for instance, which was that he hadn’t much wanted to go to the party in the first place.
In the dead of winter, a stranger stalked their house, leaving poems by the windows
<p>This is a love story. However, its roots are tangled and involve a good bit of my life, and when I recall my life my mood turns sour, and I am reminded that no man makes truly proper use of his time. We are blind and small-minded. We are dumb as snails and as frightened, full of vanity and misinformed about the importance of things.</p>
You have good taste in wine. Too good, in fact. But by the time your favorite California Cabernet Sauvignon is released, it’s clear out of your price range. Unless, that is, you’ve got dibs on a case or two, having paid for it en primeur—while it’s still in the barrel—at 25 to 40 percent off the ultimate retail price.
On page 68: Ungaro Uomo Paris suit at Bloomingdale’s, New York; Filene’s, Boston; Bullock's, Los Angeles. For information contact: Ungaro Uomo Paris, 650 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019. Burberrys shirt at Raleighs, Washington, D.C.; Muses, Atlanta; Frost Bros., San Antonio; Bigsby & Kruthers, Chicago; Macy’s, San Francisco.