Considering some of the topics addressed in the September issue, we were prepared for an emotional batch of letters. Still, the intensity of your response surprised and impressed us. Prompting the greatest number of letters was an investigative piece on the suicide of an alleged sex offender after he was confronted by NBC’s “To Catch a Predator.”
WE HAVE AN ODD, fraught relationship with athletes these days. We’re fascinated by their physical potential and almost invariably disappointed in them as human beings. Even if they’re not criminals or lowlifes like Michael Vick or Pacman Jones, they live a life of such excessive wealth and privilege that the distance between them and their fans becomes obscene, and their contact with the common folk is generally limited to the foundations they set up to show how deeply they care about troubled children.
Ander sonian adj: 1. of the directorial style established by Wes Anderson, as seen in such films as Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and this month’s The Darjeeling Limited. 2. that which starts out amusingly eccentric, then gets annoyingly eccentric by repeating the same set of devices:
There’s a scene in The Darjeeling Limited, the story of three brothers reconnecting on a train ride through India, in which an exasperated sleeper-car hostess asks a barefoot, bandaged, and neurotic Jason Schwartzman, “What’s wrong with you?”
The first movie about the way we actually use technology has nothing to do with the way we actually use technology
MOVIES AREN’T always about what they seem to be about-that’s one of their glories. Case in point: Reservation Road, the latest film by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), which stars Mark Ruffalo as Dwight, a smalltown attorney who accidentally hits and kills a boy while driving home from a Red Sox game late one evening.
If the Great American Century began eight years after it was supposed to, maybe there’s hope for the follow-up
Charles P. Pierce
The most recent turn of the century was a considerable letdown, especially by millennial standards, which are considerable, but also by the standards set by the turn of the last century. Jim Rasenberger’s America 1908 (Scribner, $27) illustrates this in sharp relief.
THERE’S ONE road record that’s so dangerous and elusive, few people ever attempt it: New York to L. A. in less than 32 hours. It’s a crazy, ridiculous record. And it’s the record that powers outlaw street-race driver Alexander Roy’s new memoir, The Driver (HarperEntertainment, $26).
Rule No. 569: There is no shame in using Western utensils for Eastern cuisine. Rule No. 587: After three drinks, before you yell, throw, or type anything, stop for a few seconds and think about just what it is you’re up to. Rule No. 601: Lesbians don’t like westerns.
Dear Dinesh, Poor Jesus. In reading your latest offering, What's So Great About Christianity (Regnery, $28), I can't help but think of the scene from Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, in which Max von Sydow's character says, "If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, He'd never stop throwing up."
That’s Yeats, dude—William Butler Yeats, from a poem called "The Host of the Air,” from The Wind Among the Reeds, published in 1899, when Yeats was 34 years old. Why tell you this? To get you laid. I’m not saying you can’t get laid without aid from Yeats, who couldn’t get himself laid at age 34 with Warren Buffett’s cash, Brad Pitt’s dick, and a keg of Guinness.
DAVE GROHL IS 38 going on 15. He loves four-letter words, drinking, and volume knobs. And he’s the classiest rock star alive. There’s zero attitude to suggest he’s also one of two men left on the planet who knows what it was to have been in Nirvana.
“[I] will put as much effort into this as I can. I’ll fix it so the whole family of Hendrix’s will have the right to wear the Screamin’ Eagle patch of the U.S. Army Airborne!” —Jimi Hendrix in Jimi Hendrix: An Illustrated Experience (Atria Books, $45), by Janie L. Hendrix and John McDermott
THE POLICE? No, Ghostland Observatory was the year’s most notable live-music story. Each of their shows at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Sasquatch! started as a small gathering and ended with a gyrating mass of thousands. Aaron Behrens and Thomas Turner are a two-man “dance band” that doesn’t shimmy in a fey Scissor Sisters way.
Go back to the cover, begin music, start flipping. This story will cost you $9.90.
"The General Specific," Band of Horses: A welcoming, clap-along jingle from South Carolina's finest. (This Way In) "You and I," Cut Off Your Hands: A jubilant chorus grounds an instantly catchy scornfilled kiss-off. (Books) "Execution Song," Johnossi:
On TMZ.com, there’s a video of former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and his wife supposedly arguing as they sit in their car outside Spago in Los Angeles. The unedited video clip was shot by a paparazzo, uploaded to TMZ’s video archive, labeled “The Real Moonwalker” (you can see it here:
WHAT’S WITH all the friendliness? Everybody in America seems to want to make sweet love to all their colleagues while behind their backs they want to ram rusty screwdrivers down their throats. In my country, it’s the other way around: Everyone at the workplace is unfriendly to each other, and then they are best friends over the weekends playing football.
Bambu White Rum, “the first and only rum designed for women.” Sexy Beast signature fragrance for dogs. Music from the Mound, a CD of Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka’s favorite inspirational songs. The new book Laces: 100s of Ways to Pimp Your Kicks, which includes 50 shoelacing styles and 16 special knots.
AFTER A LONG NIGHT OUT at the bar, a man stood up to leave and fell flat on his face. Thinking he might just need some fresh air, he crawled outside. But when he tried to stand again and fell facefirst into the mud, he de cided to crawl home. The next morning, his wife found him asleep on the doorstep.
THE AVERAGE MAN loses more than a billion dead skin cells per day, and while there’s no biological imperative to scrub them off your body, there is an aesthetic one: They’re dead, and when they combine with your natural oils, they lead to dull, waxy pallors and clogged pores.
WE DON’T KNOW when it happened, but at some point in the past decade, the microbead took over your shower. This seemed like a good thing. The name alone sounded vaguely scientific and all business, and we enjoyed the thought of tiny bioengineered pellets digging deep into our pores.
Rule No. 897: Any medical condition is made less terrifying if you place “the ol’” before it: “the ol’ cancer,” “the ol’ pneumonia,” “the ol’ herpes.” Rule No. 992: In ascending order of viscosity: ointment, balm, salve, unguent. Rule No. 993:
IDEA FOR a TV commercial: A remote hospital in a war-torn jungle. A man stumbles in on the brink of starvation, clothing in shreds. The doctor—young, good-looking—sticks a straw into a sack of IV fluid. The man drinks it, smiles, and shouts:
WHAT CAN OT HER COUNTRIES TEACH US ABOUT EATING RIGHT?
Dr. Mehmet Oz
In spite of all the bad news about Americans’ health, the truth is that we have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, 77.9 years. (Andorra has the highest, 83.5.) But there’s a caveat: A big part of why we live so long is that we’re good at treating what you might call lifestyle diseases— things like high blood pressure and diabetes.
INSTEAD of sitting inside or over your ear, AirDrives ($100; airdrives. com) rest outside of them. They shoot the music in, which gives you highquality sound but doesn't block outside noises, thus eliminating the choice you once had between the Decemberists and social interaction.
In the next several months, I am directing three television pilots in three different cities—Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver—which means during the height of football season I need a remote way to watch the Giants give up a 20-point lead in the last two minutes.
THE F3 WAS designed for the developing world, where cell phones need to do just two things: work and survive. Its twin antennas maximize signal strength. Its sealed keyboard keeps out dust and rain. Its ring can be heard over the clamor of an oxcart, and a single charge lasts almost two weeks.
THERE ARE A FEW DRINKS that I love, lots that I like, and a great many that I despise. But there’s only one that I fearnot because it’s strong or because it tastes nasty. Nothing’s stronger than Everclear, and I’ve done shots of that, and nothing’s nastier than Thai centipede wine, and I’ve choked that down.
Flavored nondairy creamer Animal Blanket Alternative theory of any assassination, including JFK’s Named method of child rearing Mole Marshmallow cereal Seasonal color scheme Hooters waitress Child Wasting disease Bathroom stall at work Ex-wife Denny’s location Mall entrance Character on Disney’s Hannah Montana Barber at the Haircuttery Choke hold Female host of an earlymorning fitness show Rose Kitten Kettle Mitten Song from The Sound of Music Method of suicide.
WINE DRUNK VERSUS TEQUILA DRUNK, FISH PEE & THE MYSTERY OF THE SWISH
Are there really different kinds of “drunk”— you know, red wine makes you sleepy, tequila makes you more aggressive, etc.? No and yes. Ethanol—the psychoactive molecule in alcohol— is ethanol is ethanol; whether you consume it in the form of red wine, tequila, or Cristal from Mrs. Fella’s fetid clog, it has the same essential effect upon the nervous system.
A big, oversized wallet is a dangerous thing. This is how I know: My friend Bill used to carry a wallet so large (see fig. 1) that when he drove, he pulled it out of his pocket and put it on the dash of his car, lest it dislocate his hip. He lost this wallet.
To escape the inevitable questions that arise: “Do you love me?” “Am I pretty?” “Can I have $300 so my aunt can have an operation?” No one needs an interrogation when his body has just performed a feat of stunning humanity. You see, powerful hypnotic brain drugs are released during orgasm:
THE FIRST RULE OF SHOPPING for anything is to know what you’re talking about. It’s true for cars and mortgages and plasma TVs, and it’s true for wristwatches. Take, for example, this fine piece of work: David Yurman’s new Belmont Shadow chronograph is all round edges and black steel, shiny and smooth as wet marble, with a Swiss-made automatic movement and a resistance to water up to 30 meters.
The case of your watch is crucial to its appeal. Here’s what it’s probably made of.
Stainless steel St COMPOSITION: Iron-carbon alloy mixed with chromium and nickel. THE GOOD: Lightweight and highly corrosion resistant. THE BAD: Prone to scratching. BEST SUITED FOR: Everything. It’s watchmaking’s most ubiquitous and affordable material.
The unseen machine that keeps your watch ticking a so gives it most of its value. These are some questions to ask about it.
A manual watch needs winding to keep it going, and the longer it ticks, the longer its so-called power reserve. A. Lange & Söhne’s new 31-day power-reserve movement, pictured here (top), can go an entire month without being wound and without missing a beat, thanks in part to two complementary mainsprings each nearly two meters long.
Ignoring a cultural phenomenon today may render you completely irrelevant in a few years. Just so you know.
<p>HERE IS WHAT I KNOW about Harry Potter: nothing. I haven’t read any of the books about him, nor have I seen any of the movies. I know the novels were written by a rich middle-aged British woman named J. K. Rowling with semi-lush hair, but I have no idea what the letters J and K represent.</p>
IF I HAVE LEARNED only one thing from a) personal experience and b) Vivian Cash’s fascinating memoir, I Walked the Line, it is this: No human can compose a love letter without seeming slightly insane. Love letters are like suicide notesif someone is in the emotional position to consider writing one, they’re generally in the worst psychological position to make any cogent sense.
1. When you call us for a same-day date, we will always be busy—even if we really aren’t. Advance notice is mandatory. 2. There are nonverbal ways to say “I love you.” Scouring that repulsive, scummy shower you haven’t cleaned in the last four months?
There is no headline on this story. No photograph, no illustration. Only silence. Curious?
<p>I’M A TALKER. By nature. I’m an explainer, a chatterer, a negotiator. I used to think each day began whenever I started talking. But lately, I’ve begun to see the day’s first moment of speech as the icy grip of anesthesia setting in. And all that talking that I used to think meant something—all that jabber about the Red Sox, or the treatise on the placement of cup holders in the new Endeavor?</p>
PUT THIS MAGAZINE DOWN for a moment and listen. For a solid minute, just hear your world. Count the different sounds. Depending on where you happen to be, these intrusions may have included one or more of the following: a pot hitting the sink, a whirring computer, the flight-attendant call button, the voice of Joe Buck, someone else’s phone ringing, a plane passing overhead.
The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn’t Want You to Know
John H. Richardson
<p>IN THE YEARS AFTER 9/11, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann worked at the highest levels of the Bush administration as Middle East policy experts for the National Security Council. Mann conducted secret negotiations with Iran. Leverett traveled with Colin Powell and advised Condoleezza Rice.</p>
<p>TWENTY-THREE YEARS AGO, when I first compiled Esquire’s Best New Restaurants, if there was an engaging little trattoria in a city that never had one, it had a good chance of making the cut. But the dedication of a generation of chefs has transformed American cities once considered gastronomic backwaters into serious dining towns, and there is no question that the U.S. now has many of the best—and certainly the most diverse—restaurants in the world So now that little trattoria better be as good as any in Rome.</p>
<p>The Chateau Marmont is the kiss of death in a celebrity profile. I see the words Chateau Marmont, and I just stop reading. ESTABLISHING SHOT of the CHATEAU MARMONT, chichi hotel on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. WRITER (V.O.) It’s like opening a movie with a voice-over.</p>
<p>Sexy? Of course. But there’s more to it than that, you know. The following aren’t just pretty faces. They are pretty faces that make us smile, keep us informed, and inspire us to brush up on our Ukrainian. Those Who Make Us Laugh When they parody the hot girl, these women have a distinct disadvantage:</p>
<p>FOUR MILES EAST of Las Vegas Boulevard, well beyond the glitter of the Strip, the Valley High School gym is cool and humid, redolent of floor wax and old socks. The ball pounds on the polished hardwood, the sound echoes off the familiar glazed concrete blocks that form the inner walls.</p>
<p>I don’t understand boredom. All you have to do is walk around the house as if you were blind. How could you be bored? Depressed, yes. That’s a different ball game. I know depression. I know every degree of it. But not boredom.</p>
Fanfare for the common man. And for his lovely wife, Elizabeth.
<p>"the pure products of America go crazy,” wrote William Carlos Williams—antipoet of “the thing itself"—but Dr. Williams was from north Jersey, and as far as I know never strayed to Cleveland, whose own pure products long have been flame tempered, union made, and born batshit insane.</p>
We asked seven more of the best chefs in America for the kind of recipes they make for themselves at home—big meals with a high tasteto-effort ratio. And then we tested every one of them. Turns out these guys eat pretty well.
<p>BY THE TIME I went to culinary school, I'd already come up through the kitchen ranks, working in Italian restaurants around Philly. But my dad was a plumber, so I also grew up with a wrench in my hand, learning how to fix things. Recipes are no different.</p>
FOR MOST OF US, IT STARTED WITH A SHIRT. A NICE SHIRT, CERTAINLY, BUT IT WAS WHAT THE SHIRT REPRESENTED—PRESTIGE AND PROSPERITY AND THE PROMISE OF THE GOOD LIFE—THAT SO MANY PEOPLE WERE TRYING TO BUY. NOT EVERYONE BOUGHT IT, THOUGH—NOT AT FIRST, ANYWAY.
<p>IT’S A COMPLICATED EXPERIENCE, buying a shirt from Ralph Lauren. Anytime you buy a shirt, or any piece of clothing, you’re saying, “This is the kind of guy I am.” No big news there. But when you buy a shirt from Ralph Lauren, you’re saying, “This is the kind of guy I am—one guy, like many others, and proud to be so.”</p>
The longtime friend of Ralph talks stereotypes and T-shirts
WOW. They’re going to use two black models in one ad in America. That’s what I remember thinking when I learned that I was doing the Polo ad campaign with Tyson Beckford in 1996. At first, Ralph told me that I would only be doing the campaign for Ralph Lauren Collection, and I couldn’t believe it.
LAUREN RECENTLY VENTURED TO HIS PARENTS’ HOMELAND AND THE FINAL FRONTIER OF THE POLO EMPIRE TO OPEN HIS FIRSTEVER STORE IN RUSSIA. THE EDITOR IN CHIEF OF RUSSIAN HARPER’S BAZAAR RECALLS THE VISIT AND CONSIDERS LAUREN’S NEWFOUND CACHET AMONG MOSCOW’S MONEYED CLASS.
THE FIRST RALPH LAUREN SHIRT I ever owned was purchased illegally. This was, I think, back in 1985, and I was sixteen years old. We already had Gorbachev at the rule and perestroika was afoot, but all this had little effect on life in the small town in the Caucasus where I grew up.
HE’D BEEN A FIXTURE in American life for decades. A vital figure in the fashion and business cultures of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. He was, in other words, a very big deal. But an entry on Ralph Lauren’s life and accomplishments didn’t appear in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (neither our print nor online versions) until 2002.
FOR ALL THIS TALK of what he stands for, Ralph Lauren is also a man. A rich man, sure, and a famous one, too, but also just a man. He has kids. He has a hometown. He has mottoes. These are things worth knowing, and interspersed with some of the common crossword clues below are ones that reveal a little bit about that man.
Last winter, the men on the following pages made national headlines with two rescue missions atop Oregon’s tallest peak, Mount Hood. Now gearing up for another season of saving lost climbers, they take a break on their home turf to Took back on a tough year,
Rising 11,239 feet above sea level, Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest peak and a destination for ten thousand climbers and hikers every year. Most of them make it up and down the mountain without so much as a cramp. Others falter, and when they go missing, it’s usually the volunteers of Portland Mountain Rescue who take time off from their day jobs, lace up their boots, and head on up after them.
The Guide, p. 80: David Yurman chronograph, davidyurman.com. Vacheron Constantin watch, 877-862-7555. Jaeger-LeCoultre watch, jaeger-lecoultre.com. Bell & Ross watch, bellross.com. P. 82: Rado chronograph, 866-597-0595. Patek Philippe watch, patek.com.