IN THE JUNE ISSUE, Star Wars vet and thrift-store model Ewan McGregor discussed, among other things, his penchant for baring his, um, light saber onscreen. Also, Tom Junod traced the story of thirty GIs who survived World War II by performing in an underground road show (“The Time of Their Lives”), Robert Kurson told the incredible tale of a blind man’s quest to regain his sight (“Into the Light”), and in “The Cure,” we presented a heap of remedies for whatever ails you, be it cancer or brain freeze.
“When we started doing this, I thought we’d run out of What It Feels Like topics by the second year. I figured we’d be reduced to What It Feels Like to Stub Your Toe [see page 148]. But I was dead wrong,” says editor at large A. J. JACOBS (pictured with his son, Jasper), who oversaw this, our fifth-annual What It Feels Like issue.
What’s a pirate’s favorite designer? Arrr-mani. ABOUT THE JOKESTER: Cameron Richardson knows a lot of jokes, but all her favorite ones are about pirates. “I’m obsessed with them,” says the 25-year-old Californian. “I like that they're just gypsies on a boat robbing people.”
The EIGHT Most Remarkable Things in Culture This Month
1 Hippest Train From the photography book Jazz Life, an enhanced edition of photographer William Claxton’s definitive collection from the '60s. Least Likely to Succeed Tommy Lee: I got one last question, 'cause I wanna kick some ass while I’m here.
Last Daus and Grizzly Man are very different stories of self-destructive loners—-with the same sad end
<p>AT THE VERY END of Last Days, Gus Van Sant’s semifictionalized account of the hours leading up to Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April 1994, we’re shown an image so queasily familiar that it borders on the obscene. Kitted out in Cobain’s familiar flannels and cardigans, a tangle of blond hair perpetually shrouding most of his face, Michael Pitt (The Dreamers) plays a character we might call Not Quite Kurt; the script dubs him Blake, presumably as in William.</p>
RULE NO. 118: Avoid any doctor whose middle name appears in quotes. RULE NO. 203: Aspire to be the kind of person you’ve convinced your grandparents you already are. RULE NO. 512: You are twice as likely to get lost using GPS as you are with a paper map.
THE ROMANTIC POET of American independent film, Gus Van Sant has built a career on the musings of troubled teens and sensitive adults—misfits struggling against a world that reviles quirks. And even though he’s worked with everyone from Nicole Kidman to Sean Connery, following the Oscar-nominated commercial apex of 1997’s Good Will Hunting, the 53-year-old director has largely traded in mainstream sentiment for European-style minimalism.
YOU MIGHT SAY THAT Steven Bochco, the writer and producer who gave us Hill Street Blues, L. A. Law, and NYPD Blue, has reached a career crossroads. His character-driven dramas have been eclipsed by procedurals like CSI and Law & Order. His recent cop story, Blind Justice, fizzled after 13 episodes, and for the first time in 25 years he’s without a network show.
THIS ISN’T the happiest, most feel-good-sounding summer ever. New singles from Nine Inch Nails and the White Stripes don’t threaten to overtake “Walking on Sunshine” as the greatest summer hit of all time. Yet memorable summer songs don’t necessarily need to be sunny.
THIS MONTH’S LESSON: Four Good Things Going On in Music
IF YOU READ this column every month, you may get the sense that I’m becoming harder to please. To show you that I’m still your forever lover, here’s my list of four things that are very much right with music right now. Beyoncé: Who leaves a megasuccessful group only to become even more successful on her own, garner multiple Grammys with only her name on the trophy, and then get back with the band? Only someone both confident and loyal.
THE MOST NOTABLE OFF-SEASON FOOTBALL EVENT this summer is not Jerry Rice refusing to retire with dignity but the release of the new EA football video games, Madden and NCAA (both available on Xbox and PS2; $50). This year’s versions offer up even more on-the-field theatrics: Helmets fly, ankles break, and Steve Spurrier still gets what’s coming to him.
Michael Sall, the author of Gin Rummy: A Predator's Guide (self-published, sold for $200 a copy, read by people who expect it to be a good investment), has made a handsome living out of winning money from friends. Here’s how he’s taken their cash without turning them into enemies.
IN HIS CONTROVERSIAL NEW BOOK, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Knopf, $30), journalist Charles C. Mann refutes our longheld notions about the Indians (his preferred nomenclature) who inhabited our nation long before it was “our” nation.
WHEN YOU FINISH Cormac McCarthy’s newest book, No Country for Old Men (Knopf, $25), you’ll have to wonder if you know any real men at all. From Moss, the unlucky sap who finds a bag containing $2.4 million at the scene of a botched drug deal, to Chigurh, the dark, relentless mercenary who pursues him, to Bell, the stoic sheriff who follows their wake of shoot-outs across the borderlands, McCarthy creates men whose behavior casts them deeper into the pit of themselves. McCarthy’s men don’t puzzle or fuss; there is not one moment of hand-wringing.
WHEN MY 12-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, Chloe, was a baby, she had a hard time falling asleep. I would spend hours holding her, hoping she wouldn’t vomit on me, singing her my special lullaby, Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction”: “My blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’.... /This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’.
YOU WOULDN’T know it from its present state, but the daiquiri was once a pretty ballsy drink. Of course, that was before it got tarted up with strawberries, bananas, kiwis, rhubarb (really—Google it yourself), and whatnot, drowned in gallons of crushed ice, and extruded from a machine.
I GOT THIS RECIPE from a professor friend, a really Zen guy—although my definitions of Zen and recipe may differ from yours. He’s half Amish, half Swiss, and highly evolved, at least in the sense that he cooks every night for his beloved. I revere his culinary chops because 20 or so years ago he served me lemon chicken—the first time I ate his cooking—and when he gently tugged the lemon from the gaping hole in that bird’s carcass, my jaw about hit the table.
Flipping the Bird, Folding the Square & the Incredible Shrinking Vacation
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.
If there is one consistent expression of a man’s sartorial acumen, it’s the way in which he pairs his shirt with his tie. And while the art of matching the two is always up to the individual, there are still some rules. Here, three to remember:
<p>LET’S PRETEND WE COULD END world hunger with drugs. Let’s pretend someone invented an inexpensive pill that would make eating unnecessary forever. You swallow this pill once and you’re never hungry again. You’d always remain your ideal weight, and you’d always be in perfect health.</p>
JULY 19 MARKS Chuck Klosterman’s return to the bookstores of America. Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story (Scribner, $23) is Klosterman’s occasionally profound, sometimes ridiculous, always amusing account of his pilgrimage to the sites of rock ’n’ roll’s most notable deaths.
I’d like to introduce toys into our sex life. My wife is intrigued but tentative. Can you recommend a good beginner’s toy?
STACEY GRENROCK WOODS
One of the benefits of living in the tuuentyfirst century is the range of newfangled sex toys to suit every level of modesty and experience, which is especially good news for beginners because, let me tell you, those old-fashioned training wheels were a bitch.
You know those beat-up car-company stocks? Shutup and buy.
<p>MY FIRST CAR WAS A MAROON 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham. It had more than a hundred thousand miles on it when my dad sold it to me for $500 in 1985, the year I got my driver’s license. I dragged its eight cylinders of Detroit muscle through kneehigh mud, ran it in the summer with high heat blasting so it wouldn’t overheat, and taught myself basic auto repair via trial and error.</p>
1. We travel in packs and howl at the moon. 2. One third of us are mermaids. 3. A little-known fact: Mermaids can talk to whales and dolphins. 4. We have the ability to become invisible. At night, we look through the homes of strangers. 5. When we call you Daddy, we really mean it.
She is half revealed, a woman so unfathomably hot that to show her all at once would be reckless. Instead, we are revealing her one extraordinary body part at a time over six issues. (Tear out and save all six for your own life-sized mural to hang... you know, anywhere.)
THESE SHOES AREN’T FAIR—or so says the Boston Marathon. Spira running shoes are built around metal springs that return some—supposedly 90 percent—of the energy created when your feet slap the pavement. And to the folks at U.S.A. Track and Field, the sanctioning body of organized running, that’s enough of a performance advantage to merit disqualification.
SOMETIMES PEOPLE going through a rough time really don’t need your advice. All they need is you. Just you being there for them. They’ll tell you uuhat needs to be done. A while ago, a mother and her child were shot and killed in Texas. They were shot by the mother’s boyfriend after he found out that she had decided to go back to her husband, who she’d been separated from.
Energy bars: yes or no? No. Eating an energy bar is a little like driving a Hummer in the city: It’s fashionable, expensive, and you’re probably not in a position to enjoy any of its benefits. These things were designed for athletes who need to refuel mid-activity. So if you plan to keep working out for two more hours, snack away.
The normal range for testosterone in an adult male: 270 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. The most accurate measure is a simple blood test, so call your doctor. Indicators of low testosterone: Irritability, low libido, fatigue, bone and muscle loss, erectile dysfunction, and enjoying the work of Aaron Brown have all been linked to unhealthily low testosterone levels.
There is power in things. The right things. Each of the items on the following pages— and the stories behind them— has the power to enhance the quality of gour life. By at least 10 percent. Part one in a three-part series.
<p>The watch is massive. Measuring forty-three millimeters in diameter, the Montblanc TimeWalker GMT is more than 25 percent larger than your neighbor’s Rolex. And its vast surface area reveals absolutely mesmerizing detail: Wide silver numbers jut out from its black dial, reminiscent of the speedometer of a 1960s Corvette Stingray.</p>
Half way into his sixth decade, thirty years after Born to Run, Springsteen finally lets us inside-to show and tell, us what it feels Like to be Bruce As told to Cal Fussman
<p>HERE IS THE STORY of a Springsteen concert in Springsteen’s own words—as told to Esquire’s Cal Fussman and as delivered to the crowd during a solo performance in May at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, just up the turnpike from Asbury Park.</p>
You are about to experience the heights and depths of the human condition. From the terrifying (surviv ing the tsunami) to the mind-altering (getting high with Snoop) to the deeply satisfying (picking up Britney Spears), we present our fifth-annual feature of amazing first-person tales.
<p>Sitting around, day after Christmas, in Thailand, just staring at the TV, some movie we’ve seen before. Midmorning, postbreakfast stupor controlling Karin and me. The power flickers and we moan. We’ll have to get up and do something? Then we hear some yelling outside.</p>
I was twenty-two years old, doing a gig in Aspen, when on a dare I jumped into the Devil’s Punchbowl in the Roaring Fork River. I went way deep into the icy cold water, and when I surfaced, I found I was headed toward a rock wall. I put my hand out to absorb the impact, but there was a small hole in the wall, so my arm slipped in up to my shoulder, lodged there by a springy sapling branch.
Here in Australia, you can hear the kangaroos when you wake up in the morning. They make this weird grunting noise. I can see as many as six of them from my window. I nicknamed one of them Bossy the Kangaroo. Imagine a really big six-foot red kangaroo standing in the garden with his hands on his hips, flexing his chest at you and staring.
I became impotent as a result of having my prostate removed. So my doctor prea drug that you inject into the penis. And it I got hard, and I made love to my wife. And then... I stayed hard. And stayed. And stayed. After an r or so, the feeling was blue balls—only ten times more intense.
A (very) brief conversation about briefs with the star of Fox’s Stacked: Bikini or thong? “You know, in Canada thongs are what you wear on your feet. So I’d say bikini.” How big is your panty collection? “I don’t know. I don’t normally wear them, so I don’t really keep track.
...To Get High with Willie Nelson (and Snoop Dogg)
There are no cookies in this Mrs. Fields tin. Just the greenest, stickiest bud you’ve ever laid eyes upon. Just say no? Not this time. Not when Willie Nelson has dipped into his stash to roll one for you. “Let’s adjust our personalities,” he said.
On paper, anyway, I was highly qualified to become a mermaid. I swim—a lot. I like water, enjoy fish (especially as sushi), and am willing to swan around in a skimpy bathing suit. Also, I discovered during my research, mermaids are known to love music.
I’m not a hermaphrodite. The slugs in your yard are true hermaphrodites; when they mate mith each other, there’s an exchange of sperm and eggs from both. I’m infertile. But if you’re going to define a hermaphrodite as somebody who has both male and female characteristics, then yeah, I’m a hermaphrodite.
ACCOUNTANT AND AUTHOR OF THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE LUCETTE
Day 1: It was ten in the morning when a killer whale smashed into our yacht, lifting it out of the water. You could hear the wood crack, a deep, resounding crack. Then we saw the whale’s head was split open and blood was pouring into the sea.
THE FIRST MOMENTS: It’s like wheeeooo! And I just sit back. Can’t move. Everything I have in my mind just goes. My hate, my anger, my frustrations, gone. It’s pure love. THE SEX: All of a sudden I get that sexual thing that goes along with it. You just want to screw your balls off.
Since last October, corrections deputy Bret King has begun each morning scanning the mug shots at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, looking for the ravaged and gaunt faces common to crystal-meth addicts. For every haunted profile he finds, he searches for an earlier mug of that person, one taken before the damage was done.
<p>For two years, journalist Neil Strauss went undercover in a secret society of pickup artists for a book, The Game (ReganBooks). It is a world with its own code of conduct, its own language, and its own celebrities. An AFC—pickup-artist jargon for an average frustrated chump, a loser with women— Strauss was taken under the wings of the most powerful pickup artists in the world, who gave him a new name and transformed him into one of them.</p>
I don’t "do" math. When I start calculating a sum, I start to picture two shapes. The image is fuzzy at first, gradually becoming clearer and clearer, until a third shape emerges: the answer. I just sort of “see” it. Growing up, I was confused by the arithmetic worksheets at school because the numbers were all printed the same size and color.
“Forgive me if I get an erection. And forgive me if I don’t.” They must teach guys this line in drama school because every actor I’ve ever done a love scene with has said it to me—just before he mounts me. The line feels more like a challenge to get them aroused, which, honestly, they rarely do.
I’ve never really been afraid of fire. From the age of five or six, I was always playing with candles, burning toilet-paper rolls, things like that. The day you discover what you can do with hairspray and a match is a really exciting day. When i eat fire, I can feel the substance of the flames in my mouth.
One day last January, this man went to the store for ice cream. By the time he got home, everything was gone.
<p>here is a photograph, undated. Jimmie Wallet is seated, his face turned, the sharp lines of his chin and jaw like an alligator that doesn’t bite. He’s terrifically handsome, with a boyish nose and cheeks, sly smile, a little patch of beard below his lip, long black dreadlocks past his shoulders. His oldest daughter, Jasmine, sits next to him.</p>
The town of La Conchita, California, is situated at the bottom of a six-hundred-foot bluff that slopes toward the Pacific at an angle of 35 degrees. By January 10,2005, La Conchita had been pounded by steady rain for more than two weeks. Most of that rain ran off.
<p>A guy I used to work with named Shorty Atkins was filled with these little pearls of wisdom. One was “Never lie down with a woman who has more troubles than you have.” Which is not bad advice at all.</p>
<p>IT’S A BLUE-SKY FRIDAY, and today an eighteen-year-old Japanese-American kid named Ken Gushi will burn through ten sets of tires just getting amped up for tomorrow’s big event. Specifically, he’ll burn through Toyo tires, and even more specifically, he’ll burn through 2A5/40R18’s on the front, and because it’s a little chilly this morning in Braselton, Georgia, he’ll burn through 275/35R18’s on the rear.</p>
<p>Age: 21 Nationality: Czech Where you’ve seen her: Ads for Valentino and Victoria’s Secret. Star asset: Lush blond hair Number of inches taller than you she is if you’re Napoleon Bonaparte: A.5 Reason, aside from the obvious, to love her: She once turned down Ben Affleck cold at a party with the line “I don’t want to go there.”</p>
GIORGIO ARMANI’S THIRTY-YEAR EXPERIMENTATION WITH THE INNER WORKINGS OF MEN’S SUITS HAS RESULTED IN SIGNATURE JACKETS SO SOFT AND COMFORTABLE THAT IF YOU SLIP ONE ON, YOU’LL FORGET YOU’RE EVEN WEARING IT. DESIGNED ERGONOMICALLY AROUND THE HUMAN FRAME (LIKE THIS OVERSIZED GLEN-PLAID VERSION), THEY ARE ANYTHING BUT SLOUCHY.
Store Information For availability of the items featured in Esquire, consult the Web site or call the phone number provided. The Catalog, p. 55: Ralph Lauren for the U.S. Open jacket and polo shirt, polo.com; 888-475-7674. Gant jacket, sweater, shirt, tie, and corduroys, 212813-9170.
What It Feels Like to Stub Your Toe IT’S THE SAME THING every night: I get to bed about midnight and wake up around 3:00 A.M. with a full bladder. I pee and head back to bed. No biggie. You get used to this sort of stuff as you age. Hell, a man can get used to most anything.