I SHOULD MENTION SOMETHING. In mid-March, the nominations for the National Magazine Awards were announced. Esquire is a finalist for eight awards, more nominations than any other monthly magazine has received in the thirty-five-year history of the awards.
One of the most rewarding aspects of putting together "What It Feels Like," page 89, was meeting the people who shared their stories with us. Writer Michael Finkel tells what it feels like to be attacked by a swarm of killer bees by writing a poem that seems so painfully accurate, you can't help but laugh.
Reading about Rodriguez, I saw similarities to other talented athletes, but where Hicks saw Tiger and Jordan, I saw Dan Marino. Is A-Rod a supremely gifted athlete? No doubt. But like Marino, he will always have reason for his relative failure by looking outward.
The new Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster Pearl Harbor may be as subtle as, say, a sneak attack on a naval base. It may twist historical facts like a propaganda minister. But one thing's for sure: It looks good. Real good. Those slow-motion shots of low-flying planes, the way you follow the bomb right onto its target.
“She was tall and well-built, a black-haired Italian girl with a faint shine of sweat on her brow, and as she walked ahead of him toward the dance floor, threading her way between the tables, he reveled in the slow grace of her twisting hips and floating skirt.
Back in the day, Hollywood was the same den of immorality and prurience that it is accused of being today. We speak of the era before the restrictive Production Code of 1934 put the kibosh on virtually all expressions of sexuality, before the winks and nudges of the '40s and '50s.
JUST IN TIME FOR MAY SWEEPS, AN ODE TO THE JOY OF TEXT
1. EFFICIENCY. I have TiVo. (For those who haven't yet been subjected to proselytizing by TiVo devotees, I'm telling you, this is the best thing to happen to TV since the cancellation of The Tony Danza Show.) With my captioning on, I pop my TiVo into fast-forward mode, and I can read a sitcom in eight minutes flat.
Please select the pair that expresses a relationship most similar to that expressed in the original pair. KATE HUDSON IS TO MIRA SORVINO AS: a) Smirnoff Ice is to Zima b) Capitalism is to feudalism c) Arena Football is to the XFL d) Chartreuse is to forest green
I LEARNED EARLY—shoelaces confused me—that I would never be a tool guy. Whatever handy means, I am not it. And that's okay: I have long since mastered the two essential tools of home repair, the pen and the checkbook. But like any other man, I get huge satisfaction and the pride of potency when anything works because of these two hands.
Rule No. 47: The stupider the man, the slower he walks. Rule No. 71: The best blind dates are with girls named Kelly or Samantha. Rule No. 83: Foreigner is playing at a small venue near you this very night. And tickets are stili available. Rule No. 112: There is no shame in a good mango.
I KNOW, I KNOW, AUSTIN CROSHERE turned out to be something of a pussy. Jason Williams is a turnover hound, and Tom Gugliotta is not a closer. Still, when it comes to the NBA, I root for the white guys. This has nothing to do with the familiar aphorisms.
HEY, GARÇON, IF I WANTED a steaming cup of Swiss Miss, I would've asked for it, okay? Here's my problem: When I order red wine at one of your better eateries—too damn warm. "But red wine isn't supposed to be chilled, right?" Yeah, but that rule originated a couple of centuries ago, when a pack of Brits decreed that red wine should be served at room temperature.
It happens more and more. You slice off the foil on a wine bottle and you're confronted with a Day-Glo yellow or raspberry or green thingy in place of a good old cork. Do not panic. You've merely encountered the new wave in wines: the synthetic cork, ¶ Truth is, natural cork, taken from the bark of oak trees in southern Portugal, is far from the perfect stopper.
Perhaps some beer geek has told you the tale of that mythical other Budweiser, the one from across the sea. He wasn't lying. Go to the small Czech town of Budweis, about 75 miles south of Prague, and you can order a mug of the beloved Budweiser Budvar, made by a tiny brewery with no ties to the behemoth Anheuser-Busch.
YOU HEAR ABOUT the guy In New York who paid $100,000 so that his children and grandchildren would receive a loaf of bread from the Poilâne bakery in Paris each week for the rest of their lives? You gotta wonder: How good can this bread be? Not hard to find out.
WE REALLY DIDN'T have a problem with Charvet. The French shirtmaker was already aces in our book as far as expert tailoring and craftsmanship were concerned, but apparently we're easy to please. The Parisian shop has introduced a new shirt into its ready-to-wear lineup that was designed from the ground up for these modern, tieless times.
DENIS JOHNSON, poet, novelist, shortstory writer, journalist, and author of Jesus'Son, the mind-blowing short-story collection that has confused legions of undergrads about whether one adds an apostrophe-s after an s, writes with a fervor that can only be described as religious.
NOW THAT John Irving is a certified casualty of upward mobility, Richard Russo stands alone as the Stendhal of blue-collar America. With Empire Falls (Knopf, $26), Russo returns from an entertaining, inconclusive foray into the elbow-patched campus satire of Straight Man to the hard-luck themes of his own Mohawk and Nobody’s Fool.
THE PROVING GROUND (Little, Brown, $25) is first-time author G. Bruce Knecht's account of the deadly 1998 Hobart yacht race in Australia. What a fantastic adventure story this is—the ultimate richboy sport turned lethal when the weather took a turn for the worse.
ESQUIRE'S ANSWER FELLA believes that there are no stupid questions, just stupid people who don't ask questions, fearing they'll look stupid. So ask Answer Fella anything. If he doesn't know the answer, he'll find out who does, or who has a guess that sounds right.
A Record Collection Too Funky for Words. on Sale, and Online.
Somewhere in Chicago right now, two fanatics at a record store are arguing over whether Miles Davis's 1963 Seven Steps to Heaven was better with the East or West Coast rhythm section. This isn't their first argument, and it won't be their last, because these guys hang out at Dusty Groove America, which has perhaps the greatest collection ever assembled of jazz, soul, funk, lounge, and everything in between—all there on vinyl or CD and waiting to go home with you.
I’m going to depart this month from my tradition of wonderfully unambiguous, clearheaded, “Do this now or you’re a Fudgsicle” type of advice. It’s this simple: If you believe that the Internet and networking are real, that these are the life-changing innovations the whole damn country bet its life savings on, then you have to bet on Cisco.
Do you ever get the feeling that you're being watched—your every step, every credit-card transaction, every mouse click? You probably are. For whatever reason, someone is trying to keep tabs on what you eat, where you go, what you know. It's different with cash.
In a broad-based recession, you expect just about every sector to be affected. So I'm skeptical whenever a company moves too quickly to announce that it won't miss projections. If gross margins are thinning whiie earnings per share aren't, look for onetime gains that don't reflect on the company's fundamental health.
ANOTHER CHOICE FOR WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT NATIONWIDE
Why invest in companies that are not only not growing but are scheduled to cease existing in a few years? The yield, man, the yield. We're talking about oil-royalty trusts, and although their share prices can be risky as hell, the checks they send you may just mean they're the best stocks around in a down market.
How on earth can Juniper be in the thirties? Yes, it's still wearing a PE over 80, and, yes, its sector has gone Chernobyl. But the company keeps taking market share from none other than Cisco with lucrative high-capacity routers (see The Downside, above).
Thirty movies later, what are we to think or Woody Allen?
DEPENDING ON WHETHER HIS EARLY GOOF What’s Up Tiger Lily? makes the list, Woody Allen’s upcoming The Curse of the Jade Scorpion will be either the thirtieth or the thirty-first feature he’s directed, plugging away on a self-imposed schedule of roughly one Woody per annum that neither snow nor heat nor gloom of Mia has derailed since 1969.
1 A MOVIE TO SEE Think you've had enough of Brit gangster films? Hold off on that sentiment for a moment, because Sexy Beast is the most entertaining mob movie in some time. Yes, the plot sounds familiar—retired criminal is enticed into one last job—but the acting is outstanding, the script sharp, and the direction accomplished.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is so good, it hurts
Charles P. Pierce
<p>NOT written about the art of tne autograph. Oh, we have had earnest disquisitions concerning the science of the autograph, an unfortunately integral element of which has become a twelve-year-old boy standing forlornly in the lobby of a hotel at two in the morning while his greasy pimp daddy lurks nearby behind a potted plant.</p>
1 SERVE LIKE TARZAN, LOOK LIKE JANE We're always a little suspicious of gussied up, gimmicky sports equipment. (Remember those patentleather Air Jordans?) But we just tested the new Wilson Hyper Hammer 6.6 tennis racket ($200; 800-946-6060), and we were actually impressed.
An emergency in radiation, worrying about my brain, and meeting an anal probe
Don’t know why I’m surprised, five weeks into treatment, how much cancer hurts, but I am. The pain I’ve gotten to know, that renders me horizontal at least five hours a day, has started fucking with my mind. I’ve been hurting at least four months now.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U. S. (Lung cancer is the first.) 11 percent of deaths from cancer in the U. S. in 2000 were due to colorectal cancer. About 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are over age 50.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN, nor may there ever be, a piece of clothing more identified with America than blue jeans or their many relatives. They’re right up there with the ’57 Chevy Bel Air, the Golden Arches, and the red stitching and white leather of a Rawlings baseball. We didn’t borrow them from the British or steal them from the Italians.
<p>You are a man among men. You have mastered every nuance of pleasuringyour partner. You are the greatest lover alive. No? Oh, right—that’s us! And that’s why we present this excerpt from Esquire's Things a Man Should Know About Sex, the latest in our series of concise, sometimes amusing, and always informative books about, well, things a man should know.</p>
You are about to experience the heights and depths of the human condition. Do not panic Turn the page.
The surface of the moon was like fine talcum powder. It was very loose at the top. As you begin to get deeper, a half inch or so, it becomes much more compact, almost as if It's cemented together, though it isn't. It just seems that way because there are no air molecules between the molecules of dust.
It was a full moon that night, and the temperature was -45 degrees Fahrenheit. In the moonlight, the arctic landscape resembles a fairyland. There are ice blocks of every shape and size, and they can look like elephants or skyscrapers or demons, and the snow is just the most lovely color.
The secret of Homer Simpson is imagining that he’s a dog trapped in a man’s body, and that’s pretty much it. Homer is easily distracted. He’ll chase after birds and squirrels. He’ll eat whatever is in front of him. He’s incredibly loyal to his family.
One gorgeous and rainy afternoon while I was studying at Oxford, I saw a dome of umbrellas. When I walked closer, I saw all these old British people clustered around a woman having a seizure. I could see myself in that scene. I thought, “Is that what it looks like when I have a seizure?
I took acid only once, on a boat in Rhode Island whilst covering the America’s Cup in 1970 with Hunter Thompson. I ended up a basket case in New York City, without shoes or luggage but happily clutching my passport and ticket home. That was my survival instinct at work, I guess.
I can't tell you how I got Ebola. I can't tell you exactly. I never visited anybody in the hospital. I never tended to anyone with Ebola. I stayed in my shop, locked up. Some people think it comes from the heavens. Others think it is a poison.
Amnesia is not like what you see in movies. You remember 80 percent of what you need. It’s the other 20 percent that makes you feel helpless. It happened two years ago on a family skiing vacation in Utah. I had decided to learn snowboarding, and I was going downhill way too fast.
Brother Carl Porter stood by the pulpit with a huge yellowphase timber rattler in his hands. The snake’s head, as big as a child’s fist, was moving back and forth. The snake was a lowly creation—carnal, acrid smelling, alive—but I knew if I took it, I’d be possessing the sacred.
My new Siberian husky took off through a gravel company near my home in Limestone, New York. She ran down a slope and across a big sandy area. To me, it just looked like a beach. I took three or four steps before I became completely trapped in muck.
What It Feels Like to Be Attacked By a Swarm of African Killer Bees
1. They emerged from a nest hidden beneath a rock, near where I was hiking in central Africa. They came at me like fighter jets. 2. At a certain critical mass, the buzz stopped being a buzz. The sound became like a dentist's drill—a piercing, shrieking whine.
Bernstein has been composing music for movies for fifty years. He scored, among others, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Ghostbusters. He wrote an original piece for Esquire, part of which is seen here. He can be heard playing it In its entirety at esquire.com.
I have a degree in electronics, so I know about the destructive power of high-voltage energy, but this was beyond what I could have imagined. I was struck on a typical North Carolina July afternoon-little billowy clouds floating by, mostly sunny.
With the auditory sense, the distortion is related to hypersensitivity. At church on Sundays, the sounds all gather together in my ears and stay in there, amplifying and echoing, it's very painful, I wear noise-reduction headphones to get around this.
It happened years ago, in the Caribbean on an airliner. But with great clarity and equal intensity, my memory is able to put me into that seat in the back of the plane just moments before the crash. Trays were in the upright position, and all handheld luggage was stored for landing.
I was in Rio de Janeiro for a conference, taking a shower at the hotel, when I got the call. It was one of those rooms with a phone in the bathroom. There was a Swedish person on the line, and I thought one of my students was playing a joke on me. Then it sank in:
When they were ready to announce the winner, I was sweating like crazy. I could feel J. R. wanting to explode, but he stood there perfectly still, containing himself. When it was over, he went nuts. He went on his back legs. He jumped in and out of the silver bowl they give the winner.
There are two ways to get knocked out: to the body and to the head. Getting knocked out to the body—to the liver or the solar plexus—paralyzes you for ten or twenty seconds. It's extremely painful when you're down, but after you get up it's as if nothing happened.
<p>The symptoms crashed down like an avalanche, and John Moore didn't know what to think. Bruises all over his body, bleeding gums, and the roll of flesh around his waist that he'd always figured for fat had gotten lumpy and red and sore. He didn't know much about cancer, but when he finally dragged himself to a doctor in Anchorage in the summer of 1976, he learned more than he wanted to know.</p>
ON THE COAST OF OREGON, A TOP HUNDRED-FOOT CLIFFS. TOM DOAK AND MIKE KEISER ARE ABOUT TO UNVEIL WHAT MAY BE...
IN ARCHITECTURE, MANY CONNECTIONS ARE CALLED MOMENTS. The column meets a beam. That’s a moment. The roofline meets its peak. Another moment. When my brother Frank was an architecture student, we stood in a parking garage in Salt Lake City and he told me, “To get my license, I’d have to be capable of calculating every moment in this whole place.”
MICHAEL STIPE LICKED THE LAST of the sugar from the metal dispenser at the top of the jar before handing the jar to the busboy. He had just been to Japan, where he had seen a famous singer of yokyoku songs eat nothing but granulated sugar for the twenty-four hours before his performance, so he had decided to do the same thing.
<p>“YOUR CHOLESTEROL IS UP,” the nurse said over the phone, her voice brittle and vaguely accusatory. As she rattled off the details—LDL, HDL, triglycerides, et cetera—I could feel my pulse quicken and my chest tighten. Be something, wouldn’t it, if the Big One came at the hands of undue anxiety over your cholesterol-test results?</p>
<p>Work yourself to death. It’s the only way to live. I've never loved a dumb woman. The brain, combined with moderate good looks, is an overwhelming aphrodisiac. Exercise is pushing away from the table. The screenwriter George Axelrod advised that when you were breaking off a love affair, always do it in a restaurant.</p>
<p>I’D SUSPECTED from the beginning that she wasn’t remotely my type, but I’m powerless against those women afflicted with an appetite for me, run across one every other decade or so. She’d gotten my number from her postman, whom I’d helped with his return, and I’d met with her one evening to sort through her allowable expenses.</p>
<p>I WAS DATING this woman named Sandra who had a crooked, S-shaped spine and practiced a sort of amateur voodoo in her spare time. She was always constructing these little dolls out of cloth and dried-up vegetable matter. She’d stick the dolls with pins or light them on fire in hopes of inflicting special discomfort on the intended victim.</p>
Store Information For availability of the items featured in Esquire, call the phone number or consult the Web site provided: Table of Contents, p. 16: Polo by Ralph Lauren crewneck, shirt, and trousers, 888-475-7674; www.polo.com. J. M. Weston loafers, 877-493-7866; www.jmweston.com. J. Press belt, 800-622-1911.
Here are just a few dressingroom requirements of a famously overexposed actress/singer/awards-show attendee, as stipulated in a recent contract for a magazine photo shoot: Fruits/Desserts Mango, green seedless grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, papaya, honeydew, watermelon, chocolate