If you could take your eyes off of Charlize Theron in our November issue ("The Education of Charlize Theron"), you might have learned something about intelligence. But several readers seemed to feel that there's more to measure in life than an IQ.
It is always reassuring when Esquire flexes its intellectual muscle and delivers a truly outstanding literary effort. But an entire issue devoted to genius! The pieces on fusion technology (“A Voyage to the Sun,” by Michael Paterniti) and Ben Harper (“The Music Man Goes Home”) and “The Esquire Twenty-one” were wonderful to read.
In capturing the images for Sean Flynn's story about last year's murders in Yosemite National Park, photographer Karen Kuehn found herself treading on some very familiar ground. "I've spent my entire life in and out of Yosemite, and I used to be a park ranger there in the early eighties," says Kuehn, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Life, and Fast Company as well as in numerous advertising campaigns.
She's not really a cool New York sophisticate, she just plays one on TV. Born and bred in Dallas, Angie Harmon has the soul of a gen-u-wine prairie princess who knows how to keep a man toasty (if not fed) in these, the darkest days of winter. Yup, there's just something about a woman who’s grown up around pickup trucks and...
TRUE STORY: Drunk American walks into stuffy Brit boutique and admires pocket-sized address book divided into three sections— London, Paris, and New York. In moment of inspired inebriation, DA exclaims, "You should print this for Blondes, Brunettes, and Redheads, too!"
OKAY, EVERYONE KNOWS about the popularity of the new retro-hipster VW Beetle, but let's just say for a moment you can't get one. A back order, say. Or imagine that you just want one that looks more like your high school wheels but drives like new.
Rule No. 186: In the parlance of real estate professionals, plants are called "plant materials." Rule No. 187: In the parlance of airline-industry professionals, cigarettes are called "smoking materials." Rule No. 188: In the parlance of fashion-industry professionals, a pair of pants is called "a pant."
Trend Watch Not since Jacques Derrida has deconstruction been so trendy; case in point, these sport coats from (left to right) Geoffrey Beene ($275), Joseph Abboud ($595), and Ermenegildo Zegna ($1,980). Unlike your typical suit, in which the wool is woven, these are knit, on a special loom.
HE IS A BRAVE SOUL, Richard Bartholomew, and not only for having impregnated his 48-year-old second wife at the age of 59. He is a Brit who's lived among the French for 30 years, teaching them how to taste Bordeaux at Barton & Guestier's Château Magnol, in Blanquefort.
FOR A COUPLE OF FIERCE competitors, Louis Vuitton and Prada seem to agree on a lot of things. Both luxury fashion conglomerates think it would be nifty to add Fendi to their respective empires, and to that end each has bought up significant stakes in the label.
ON THE SILVER SCREEN, robot sidekicks save the day with holographic distress calls from galactic princesses and emergency repairs to X-wing fighters damaged by Death Stars. In real life, though, expectations are much lower. Ever since Westinghouse showed off its faux talking cyborg at the 1939 World’s Fair, designers have aspired to create a chunky contraption that can mow the lawn, vacuum the house, and fetch beers.
BETTER SHAKE OFF your morning-after melancholy, baby! It's me, your diva of drink, and we have serious business at hand. While it's true that under my tutelage you undoubtedly gave the last century the appropriate liquid send-off, there's no rest for this mistress of mixology.
YOUR NOGGIN, do he hurt? Your tummy? Poor tummy! Chefs, they know these pains, and not just on New Year's Day. For when they finish cheffing, they gather themselves together and they drink their owners' best wines, and often through the wee-est of hours.
Welcome to high-stakes poker, where $10,000 earns you the chance to lose to the best
I AM A VERY GOOD POKER PLAYER. Sit me down with a regular Monday-night game packed full of college buddies or work pals and I guarantee I’ll win. I’m good. The question is, am I great? I am a member of a “private” poker house—an underground casino in the middle of the financial district in New York City—called the M Club.
1. Remember, 65 million Americans play poker, so there are games everywhere—bars, basements, restaurants, social clubs, unions. All you have to do is ask around. 2. There are "private" poker clubs in every city in America. Most will be listed in a local directory or on the Internet.
I love skiing. I do not love ski resorts: The idea of sloshing through a cafeteria line in parka and boots to consume inedible frozen pizzas and bad chili is as odious to me as nibbling on rancid sandwiches at an overcrowded beach in the Hamptons.
Now you can access high-end market research for next to nothing
FIFTY-SIX OF Merrill Lynch’s highly paid analysts found themselves on the new Institutional Investor list of all-stars. It’s the most of any firm for the fifth time in a row, and Merrill uses its analytical dominance to market its pricey services.
No trades, but I made a grand during a schizo month in earnings season. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. unveiled its broader on-line-trading plans. It's already doing a nice job with Discover, which will be folded into a broader amalgamation called Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online.
Just because Americans seem willing to watch anything doesn’t mean they’re sheep
<p>FLARING AS UNPREDICTABLY as herpes attacks, Geraldo Rivera’s campaigns for respect are among the most beautiful quests of our time—beautiful because they’re doomed. Those who’ve only seen the take-me-seriously, I’m-on-cable Geraldo, hiding his genius for vulgarity under an ill-fitting thinking cap, can’t appreciate what a lonely visionary he was in his prime.</p>
THE PERSONAL GOLF UNIVERSE IS PRETTY SIMPLE. You pare your world down to the three people you can most easily put up with, gather them in the one place you all want to be, and the four of you walk around. As you do, you blow one another shit, slap a hand on one another’s backs when needed, hammer balls, and slather on the stories.
She wants another child. Really really wants one. He’s not so sure.
<p>ONE DAY LAST SPRING, I get up at five to slip down to the small back room I share with Sherman, a cat. In the earlymorning silence, as our two small windows—mine and Sherman’s—soften with the day’s first light, I work. Nothing else. I'm zeroed in on the golden simplicity of going hard at it while the rest of the world sleeps.</p>
Fess up: When it comes to packing for some R&R, you’re a little more like Mr. Howell than you’d care to admit, right? No, maybe you don’t fill trunks for something as short as a three-hour tour, but you do overpack. And that is not what a two-or three-day warm-weather getaway is about.
Keep it simple: not only your itinerary (this is, after all, a midwinter, no-brain battery recharging) but also what you pack. Note that with one bold beach-going exception, all these clothes are in the harmonious hues of black, white, and gray.
Dream on, but let’s just say you can steal four more days to add to that long weekend. What to do? Well, in addition to the clothes on the previous page, you pack the clubs. And everything else you see here, including—perhaps most important—more underwear.
The most Dubious year of the most Dubious millennium ever!
<p>HATES RELIGION, LOVES TITS. THIS MAKES HIM A NUT? Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura announced he’d like to be reincarnated as a size 38DD bra. SURE, BUT HOW DO WE KNOW IT REALLY BELONGED TO MICKEY MANTLE? Before eBay decided to remove the item from its Internet auction site, bidding on a human kidney surpassed $5 million.</p>
BERNARD LEWINSKY'S HEART GOES OUT TO THE POOR, DUMB BASTARD John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) ruminated on divinity, will, being, and intellect at such length and in such a convoluted way that the word dunce was derived from his name. THE LIVING SHALL ENVY THE DEAD One commonly prescribed remedy for the black death was piercing your testicles.
As a kid, Cary Stayner became famous for all the bad things that happened to his family. Last year, he became famous for the bad things that happened to four women in Yosemite National Park. He sits in jail now and says he wonders what the world thinks of him.
IT IS EASY TO HIDE IN THE HIGH SIERRAS, to disappear in the shadows of the steep granite canyons and the bristled canopies of sugar pines and redwoods. Four million tourists a year traipse through these mountains and never see the felons and drunkards and bail jumpers, the drifters and dropouts, who lose themselves in plain sight.
<p>IT’S LATE SEPTEMBER, and basketball practice won’t start for two more weeks, so Bobby Knight, just back from a basketball clinic in Las Vegas, a place he had never been before, has time. He spent big chunks of his summer, as he does every year, hunting and fishing in the big-country wilderness of the Northwest and Canada.</p>
<p>THE “LOGIC” GOES LIKE THIS: Learn too much about your penis and you’ll start worrying about it; worry about it and something will go wrong down there. This is why, for most men, the penis is the anatomical analogue of Churchill’s famous riff on Russia: “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”</p>
<p>Penis. Bladder. Urethra. Testicles. Prostate. The male reproductive system. In the annals of industrial design, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a finer piece of work. What’s that? The Eames chair, you say? Sure, it’s nice to look at—and pretty comfy, too—but can it stand up to eighty years of hard use?</p>
IN THE BEGINNING, there was the goober. That goober, something of a cosmic über-goober, produced a squirming seed that wriggled its way through a damp human delta and into a beckoning egg, forming the one-celled thing that would one day be named Joe.
<p>"STAND UP AND LEAN over the examining table" is, without argument, one of the most unsettling requests a man will ever hear. The rest you know all too well. The snap of the latex glove. A strange hand on your backside. Some cold K-Y jelly. Lawdy, lawdy, here it comes: the Finger Wave.</p>
"THIS IS YOUR PENIS." (Cut to shot of pristine white egg in its shell.) "This is your penis on drugs." (Cut to cracked egg, its guts spilling out on a hot griddle.) You're not likely to see this public-service spot anytime soon, but that doesn't mean your nether regions aren't of interest to drug manufacturers.
WHILE CANCER OF THE HYDRAULICS is not a prospect most guys like to contemplate, the fact is, we are all vulnerable below the belt. This year, more than sixty thousand men will be diagnosed with urinary-bladder or testicular cancer. If you think it can't happen to you, if you think cancer is a disease for smokers and exterminators, women and the elderly, you're wrong.
IT’S LIKE CLOCKWORK: Each morning, you rise out of bed, shuffle to the can, lean over the bowl, and go. But one morning, something happens. It burns—no, burns is not the word—it feels as if you’re squeezing out razor blades. You, my friend, have urethritis, a urinary-tract infection of the urethra.
SO . . . THE FORESKIN. You’ve heard of it, maybe even seen one once, briefly, and recoiled in shock and bafflement. If you’re a U. S.-born male, you likely gave yours up long ago, and smegma's just another word for nothing left to lose. Funny when you think about it, though, ain’t it?
Thirteen overlooked American classics from the last decade
<p>I got a call from my grandmother last summer. She is eighty-eight and was curious about something: She wanted my analysis of The Sixth Sense's phenomenal box-office domination. Now, my grandmother is as sharp as a steak knife. One time we were watching Jeopardy! together and she nailed the correct answer to a question; the answer was "Who are the Spice Girls?"</p>
<p>We now live in an age where motives are everything. Why don’t we ask about the facts? Why don’t we examine merits as opposed to motivations? I believe it is heroic to be willing to go against the grain. I'm reading an inspirational book called Halftime, about an individual who goes through a midlife crisis and determines that he is going to live the second half of his life for significance, since he lived the first half of his life for success.</p>
<p>THE MOTORCYCLE LAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POND; this was fact and this was legend. How it came to be there was open to speculation, for neither the motorcycle nor the pond was property of anyone remembered. The pond, sinister, leech-mucky, and bottomless with sludge, beckoned with dragonflies, jumping fish, and a weeping willow.</p>
The great, stumbling pageant of twentieth-century literature
<p>Writers of the Century (Brains): Vladimir Nabokov, Wallace Stevens, James Joyce, Ralph Ellison, Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Ezra Pound, Franz Kafka Writers of the Century (Hearts): Flannery O'Connor, Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Graham Greene, Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty, John Cheever, J. D. Salinger Writers of the Century (Spleens):</p>
Why the decorative stitching? Because it’s a little more manly than bells. Why handmade? Because cheap shoes can make you bleed. Why the organic colors? Because you’ll find they bring a confident sophistication to a gray flannel suit, for example, while somehow making it more casual.
FORD (THIS IS PRE-TAURUS, MIND YOU) WAS MAKING the finest police cruisers in the country, the General kept putting out nondescript Cheviacs, and while Lee Iacocca had saved Chrysler, it was only by foisting upon the public the K-car, which had all the automotive style of a toaster.
Store Information Man at His Best, p. 20: Joseph Abboud sport coat at Joseph Abboud, Naples, FL; Palm Desert, CA. Ermenegildo Zegna sport coat at Ermenegildo Zegna nationwide. The Guide, p. 47: Salvatore Ferragamo suitcase at Salvatore Ferragamo nationwide.
THE BABY DOESN’T LIKE HIS FLAK JACKET. It’s Kevlar, the lightest material capable of stopping a large-caliber bullet, but it’s awfully hot, and it makes it hard for the little guy to sit up. Which is just as well, because a sitting baby, the babyproofer says, is a sitting duck.