MY NEWS IS THAT IN ANOTHER month I will be departing for London to help start a British edition of Esquire. And while leaving the mother ship and its crew is saddening—I will make my formal farewells next issue—the opportunity ahead has me utterly elated.
First, you must arrange to arrive at night. That way, you can look out your window in the morning and cry, “God’s teeth!” You have slept, it will be clear, in the valley of some divine mouth, some ancient orthodontic temple carved wholly out of cinnabar and rust.
MAKE THINGS little and they change big. Make a thing you can use one-handed, and things can get out of hand. Shrink the two-handed sword down to the cavalry saber, and the course is irrevocably set toward the Charge of the Light Brigade. Create the baseball glove so guys can pick it in the pocket, and a process is set in motion that climaxes with Ozzie Smith suspended in midair at the peak of an aerial somersault.
LUBA PETROVA Harrington was a short, roundish, gypsy sort of a woman with huge eyes and a broad smile. When I met her in New York twenty-five years ago, she was married to the novelist Alan Harrington. She’d taught Russian at Yale and had lived the dolce vita in Rome.
ONCE, IT WAS the scoutmaster—that great lost role model of American male socialization— who taught you how to cook, and what he cooked in was iron. With a skillet or Dutch oven he could make almost anything.
OCCASIONAL decadence is good for the soul. That’s why at least once a year, when the desire to sin becomes unbearable, a group of us gather at my friend Mazzeo’s cabin in Michigan’s north woods. The Maz is a surgeon whose arteries normally flow as clear as the spring runoff, but he’s now the host of an annual eating ritual that will make the skinless-breast-of-chicken crowd run for cover.
LOUIS, DIZZY, Miles: The impact of each is so huge, you don’t need surnames. They’re the Father, the Son, and the Holy Terror—a trinity so dominant that the simple syllables of their names connote the entire history of the jazz trumpet. The problem with so tidy a construction, though, is that it obscures more than it reveals—implying, for instance, that there was no Roy Eldridge, or no Clifford Brown.
The Place: Seaside, Florida. A vacation development east of Pensacola and west of Panama City. The Architecture: During the early 1980s, developer Robert Davis set out to create a community that didn’t look as if it was created by a developer.
The listing is simple. In the lobby of the building there is the number and then this: ARNOLD (RED) AUERBACH. Take the elevator up and the name is there again on the door to the two-office suite. Auerbach greets you there wearing an Indiana State Police baseball cap.
<p>“I NEVER LIKED federal deposit insurance,” Jim Benham growled, swallowing a bite of his tuna. “Never believed in it. Always thought it held the seeds of disaster.” Jim Benham, the flamboyant head of Benham Capital Management Group ($6.2 billion under management, all in money-market and bond funds) was sitting in his favorite Palo Alto fish restaurant, digressing.</p>
OH MY GOD, I ate a hot dog. If I die before you read this, ask for the autopsy report. It’ll tell you how they found the whole half-ounce of fat in the thing reconstituted as a weenie-shaped plug labeled BALL PARK and jammed into my heart. “He shoulda known,” the doc will say as he flicks the little blob off a fingertip into the trash.
The "Japan thing," as George Bush might call it, isn't going away, is it? Take my friend Randi. She's smart, affluent, ostensibly liberal. Recently she read an article that said 30 percent of the students in a certain New York suburb were Japanese.
“Hon, what’s the Eight O’Clock Movie?” one character asks another in Thomas Pynchon’s latest, Vineland. “Um, oh, it’s Pat Sajak in The Frank Gorshin Story.” Another night it’s Pee-wee Herman in The Robert Musil Story. And: Sean Connery in The G. Gordon Liddy Story.
It seems that we will have to make sense of the 1990s without the elucidative example of Harry Angstrom, the hero of John Updike’s Rabbit books, who is pretty clearly a gone bunny at the end of Rabbit at Rest, and whose creator has announced that the series has come to an end.
The gold plating on the term senior citizen has worn thin. And forget such cumbersome phrases as those in the autumn of their lives, those in the sunset years, or the longer living. The leading candidate is chronologically gifted. And if you're up on your politically correct jargon, you know that older people no longer live in the old folks' home; these days they live in a senior-congregate-living community for the chronologically gifted.
A book report for those too busy to read the reviews
THE BOOK: Landscape Painted with Tea (Knopf, $21.95) THE AUTHOR: Milorad Pavić (MEEH-lowrad PAH-vitch), a Yugoslavian poet and professor of literary history at the University of Belgrade. His previous, Dictionary of the Khazars, a mock-scholarly puzzle of a novel cleverly marketed by Knopf in separate “male” and “female” editions, became the most inexplicable success since Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.
Transportation advertising...should appeal to man's desire to see and learn, to enjoy the comforts and educational advantages as well as the excitement of travel. —Truman A. DeWeese, Practical Publicity, 1906. One hundred years ago, or even twenty, a billboard selling PARIS would have used the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe or some other heavy symbol of the actual place.
In our homogenized, white-bread culture, we often look (perhaps patronizingly) to the ethnic margins for energy. Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, and Oscar Hijuelos can give our literature a shot in the arm; Spike Lee or Wayne Wang or Robert Townsend can shake up independent filmmaking and rewrite the rules of screen narrative.
An ongoing examination of how an underappreciated decade transformed the world as we know it
He's back again. With the opening of his library in Yorba Linda, Tricky is out of purgatory and on his way to the 1992 Republican convention, where his rehabilitation is to be finalized. It's obvious that America misses its '70s politicians, which is why it is reinventing them in the '90s.
THE COMPUTER SCREEN I’m gazing upon as I write this column contains only the letters of this sentence. My monitor flaunts no grinning faces, bitten apples, images of painters’ palettes, or brightly colored 3-D “windows” draped one atop another; it makes no vomiting noise as I roll a mouse across my desk (causing a little talmudic pointer to deposit an icon representing a data file inside another icon that looks like a trash can or a black hole in outer space).
AT THE TENDER AGE of twenty-eight, Dinesh D’Souza has the rare distinction of being a has-been. A few short years ago, in his early twenties, he was a policy adviser in that surreal enclave of Washington history, the Reagan White House. In those days there were so few qualified conservatives that Dinesh, straight out of Dartmouth College, found himself a mere corridor or so from the Oval Office, one of a bevy of blow-dried miniconservatives elevated to a position of power.
THAT'S RIGHT, Al. I did the crime. I did my time. Tomorrow I’m getting out. It’s nice of them to give me a roommate on this, my last night in the joint. Hope you don’t mind if I go on a bit. It’s been a long time since anyone would let me talk, let alone listen to what I have to say.
Are we scrapping the First Amendment to spare people’s feelings?
<p>Well before Nelson Mandela arrived in New York this past summer to begin a triumphal passage through the great cities of the United States, his impending visit had inspired entrepreneurs to manufacture a line of T-shirts bearing the likeness of the ANC deputy president and ornamented with maps of Africa and slogans affirming black unity.</p>
It’s tough being a talented, gorgeous actress in Hollywood these days. Directors offer you roles, but most of them involve lounging around half nekkid, waiting for the leading man to return from a hard-day’s vigilantism. “Eight out of ten scripts I get are for roles as the subordinate girlfriend,” says twenty-four-year-old Robin Wright, who should not be subordinate to anyone.
A noted novelist conjures the man who escapes gravity, making us rise above our obsession with race
JOHN EDGAR WIDEMAN
<p>This old woman told me she went to visit this old retired bullfighter who raised bulls for the ring. She had told him about this record that had been made by a black American musician, and he didn’t believe that a foreigner, an American—and especially a black American—could make such a record.</p>
The Handmade's Tale: How to Recognize Quality in a Suit
You can always have style and comfort custom-tailored. But you might be interested to know you don’t have to. There are off-the-rack suits that have had a craftsman’s hands-on attention. The challenge is knowing where to look.
A discriminating selection off new funereal items to get you where you’re going in style
Cremation urns that light up like robots! Video tributes to the departed! Airstream RVs, in somber shades, to transport mourners, flowers, and the Loved One himself to the burial! Evelyn Waugh’s Mr. Joyboy would not be moved. In recent decades, the institutions of marriage and parenthood were “discovered” by baby boomers, with predictably revolutionary results.
It’s not easy playing God, but thirtysomething’s Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz make a pretty nice living at it
<p>Despite the camp-counselor attire—tennis shoes, blue jeans rolled to a cuff—the schlumpy posture, the beards that seem rented from graduate students, there is something powerful, something omniscient—did we say godlike?—in the way Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz go about their deliberations this afternoon.</p>
<p>Chops—a name as efficiently informative as Jaws—is far and away Atlanta’s most perfectly realized new restaurant. It is a place of such focused fidelity to its prescribed purpose—to serve the best steaks, chops, and seafood in the South—that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been worked over for decades.</p>
Stephen Lang has mesmerized audiences on the stage (A Few Good Men) and on the screen (Last Exit to Brooklyn). This December, Lang will bring his menacing presence to The Hard Way as the Party Crasher, a serial killer being hunted by costars James Woods and Michael J. Fox.
It's always black. It's always handmade. The shaft is always wood, as is the handle, which may be covered with leather. Aside from the obvious aesthetic value, the good thing about a good umbrella is that you're not likely to be careless about where you leave it.
Only a man who had everything would be so anxious to give it all up for more
<p>I was thirty-six years old, with all my original teeth in place, most of my hair, and my best job yet—furniture sales on Oak Park Road, the rich-lady trade with occasional strays from the poor East End. Now that our girl Robin was twelve, Louise, my wife, had gone back to nursing at the county clinic.</p>
How secure are the nation’s airports? Against some types of threats, very secure; against others, less so...but ask me again after the conclusion of the Enhanced Security System Demonstration Project at BWI. Management at Baltimore/Washington International Airport is working right now with the FAA and Sandia National Laboratories, the people who provide security technology for America’s nuclear weapons at sensitive locations and in transit, on a three-year, $9-million project to find out what type of security works best at domestic airports, and just how much security they can add—not only at BWI but at airports around the country—and still get people from point A to point B.
Most L.A. restaurants flare as brightly and sputter out as quickly as Don Johnson’s career. But for all the hype and glitz, the city has many of this country’s finest restaurants. Think of L’Ermitage, Citrus, Chinois on Main, Patina. Sadly, some of these same restaurants go begging for customers, while getting a reservation at a new hot spot in Venice may require a letter of recommendation from Mike Ovitz.
When in doubt, advertise: The Air Line Pilots Association, citing "a feeling the pilot's image had been deteriorating over the years," is creating a radio-and-television advertising campaing to bolster that image. The campaign will trumpet acts of heroism, like the 1989 Sioux City crash landing; Stiller and Meara will not appear as a hilariously drunken cockpit crew.
On page 153: Martin Greenfield suit. For information contact: Martin Greenfield, 239 Varet Street, Brooklyn, New York 11206. On page 166: Salvatore Ferragamo shoes ($295) at Salvatore Ferragamo, New York; Saks Fifth Avenue nationwide.
Dear Lee, Monday I got a haircut and Tuesday my cowlick sprouted again. The brand-new Irish-linen shirt I wore yesterday for the first time now wears, in turn, much of the veal sauce from last night’s dinner. Those smooth and glossy Italian shoes I nerved myself up to buy three weeks ago already have more folds than Joan Collins’s face.