The Olympics are always an awe-inspiring forum for the capabilities of the human body. While it's easy to get caught up in intense discussions of pure athletics, we're more interested in aesthetics. So we sent Senior Contributing Photographer Arny Freytag to find competitors--such as high jumper Amy Acuff, our cover model--who offer the best of both worlds. "I have been doing this for 28 years," says Freytag, "and this was the best time I've ever had. It was done mostly outdoors so there would be a feeling of freedom. We even had Olympic Stadium in Munich, built for the 1972 Games, shut down for us to use for one of the shoots. This pictorial is different and fun and really shows natural physical beauty. Lots of open spaces, blue skies, the chance to capture the athletes in motion--I know Playboy readers will like this."
In Open Water, based on a true story and described as "Blair Witch meets Jaws," Blanchard Ryan plays a diver abandoned by her chartered boat in the shark-abundant waters of the Bahamas. "We had to step off the deck and into a swarm of sharks," she says. "There were so many of them it was like shark soup. I'm a certified scuba diver, but I have a primal fear of sharks and just cried a lot in the water. When these powerful eight-foot-long animals bumped into me, I thought, Is my leg still there?" In addition to overcoming her fear of bloodthirsty man-eaters, Blanchard shucked the swimsuit for her first love scene. "I like the shock effect," she says. "I have a problem with the whole Mad About You going-to-sleep-in-boxer-shorts-and-a-tee thing. I thought it would be something else to get the film talked about." That mission accomplished, Blanchard then took time off to follow her favorite hockey team, the Philadelphia Flyers, around the East Coast--her father is the team president. For Blanchard, whose filmography is dotted with roles such as Mother 2 and Salesperson, a leading role in Open Water is her best shot at fame, if not fortune. "We had a fantasy going into this that if we could all just pay off our credit cards, we would be thrilled," she says.
[Q] Did you hear about the guy who sold everything he owned, including his clothes, rented a tux and stood with his family at a roulette wheel in Las Vegas to bet his $135,300 savings on a single spin? He won and doubled his money. Foolish, yes. But if you're going to take that kind of risk, is roulette the best game for it?--D.C., Phoenix, Arizona
From an Argument before the U.S. Supreme Court by Frank Dunham, representing Yaser Hamdi, a U.S. citizen held without charges after the Bush administration classified him as an enemy combatant: "Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement's argument is 'Trust us.' And who's saying 'Trust us'? The executive branch. And why do we have the great writ? We have the great writ because we didn't trust the executive branch when we founded this government. That's why the government saying 'Trust us' is no excuse for driving a truck through the right of habeas corpus and the Fifth Amendment. Is it better to give this one citizen rights, or is it better to start a new dawn of saying there are circumstances where you can't file a writ of habeas corpus, and there are circumstances where you can't get due process? Here there is no law. If there is any law at all, it is the executive's secret definition of whatever enemy combatant is. Don't fool yourselves into thinking that means somebody coming off a battlefield, because they've used it in Chicago, they've used it in New York, and they've used it in Indiana."
John Ashcroft needs all the friends he can get. The attorney general's best friend in Pittsburgh is Mary Beth Buchanan, the federal prosecutor who oversees 25 counties in western Pennsylvania. There are 92 other U.S. attorneys like her, each nominated by the president and appointed by the Senate to prosecute federal crimes and civil cases in a relatively small region. They are given wide discretion over what crimes they pursue, which is the source of their power and often a springboard to political office. Buchanan has proved herself to be an able lieutenant by going after bong dealers and porn producers who live thousands of miles outside her conservative jurisdiction. She's so tenacious that the attorney general once publicly kidded her about being his boss.
It was only seven in the morning, but through the windshield of her Honda, Sandy Wayland could see that another Florida election had gone Barnum & Bailey. Voters were standing around, locked out of their polling place at the Unity church in Miami. Inside, half a dozen elderly men and women were scurrying back and forth and shouting into telephones. A man mimed through the glass, "We can't get the machines to start!" Wayland took out her cell phone and began punching buttons. Within minutes her fears were confirmed: It was happening all over the city of Miami. Shit, she thought, not again.
In the only election since he assumed power in 1994, North Korean dictator Kim Jong II got 100 percent of the vote. How did he do it? It's easy to be the most popular candidate when you don't have an opponent. Refugees reported that during a wave of famines in the 1990s, the government rewarded supporters and members of the military with donated food rations, while critics were left to starve. Kim has sentenced officials he suspected of disloyalty to prison, a concentration camp or death.
The old masters worked on fine Belgian linen. Modern artists paint a more exquisite medium: the skin of a beautiful woman. We published pictures of our first painted ladies--nude models wearing paint instead of clothing--in the 1960s, when psychedelic body painting was a craze. But not until the arrival of the new millennium did these trompe I'oeils become a high-profile presence at Playboy Mansion parties. They became so popular that guests--Playmates and others--started showing up similarly undressed for the occasion. Artist Mark Frazier and his staff provide the latex-paint apparel that is so cleverly conceived and executed, the naked women appear to be fully clothed--unless you look very closely, which some guests are understandably inclined to do. The painted-ladies craze has recently spread across the country, prompting Sports Illustrated to publish a swimsuit-issue pictorial that features bathing beauties in nothing but paint. "I started out experimenting with paints that could stay on my hands for hours and not make them itch," says Frazier, who puts in a lot of prep time on the computer before he turns a model into a Goldfinger-worthy creation. "If I could open a school right now, I wouldn't have enough room to teach--it would be overflowing. Every single male, whether he's conservative or liberal, always looks at me and asks, 'Can I just come and hold your paintbrush?' "
Consider the following scenario: You've invited a woman over to your pad and she's just arrived, looking great. Does she want a drink? Of course--whatever you're having. As you break into your liquor cabinet and get to work on a couple of martinis, all you can think about is the curve in the small of her back. You're sold. But for her, it's more complicated. Her inner dialogue has already begun: I'm going to sleep with this guy. No, you're not. Why? You don't know him. Who are you? I'm me. Then you sleep with him. Not until I find out who he is. Will my friends like him? Any brains?
The Bowl Championship System has never worked. It has always tripped over its formula for determining a national champion, but last season it fell flat on its face. It couldn't match up USC and LSU, clearly the nation's two best teams, in the game every fan wanted to see. Instead, LSU played Oklahoma--which Kansas State had clobbered for the Big 12 title--in a pseudo national championship at the Sugar Bowl, while USC faced twice-beaten Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
He'd played those idle whistling-in-the-dark games with friends. If you had to choose, which would you rather be--blind or deaf. Lose your arms or legs. With only 24 hours to live, how would you spend your last day. Well, someone not playing games had turned the games real. The doctors couldn't tell him exactly how long he'd live but could estimate plus or minus a couple of months how long it would be before he'd want to die. A long or short year from today, they said, he'd enter final storms of outrageous suffering, and the disease he wouldn't wish on a dog that had just bitten a hole in his ass, the disease he calls X 'cause its name's almost as ugly as its symptoms, would shrink his muscles into Fritos corn curls. One by one, millimeter by millimeter--with excruciating slowness--it would saw through all the cords stringing him along with the illusion he's the puppet master of his limbs and dry up his lungs so they harden, burn and crumble, and he'll cough them up in great heaving spasms of black-flecked phlegm. No one knew the precise day or hour, but sure as shit, given his symptoms--the jiggle in his legs, spiraling auras wiggling through the left side of his field of vision, numbness of tongue, fasciculation everywhere rippling like a million snakes under his skin, bone-aching weariness and fatigue totally out of proportion to the minimal bit of physical activity required to survive the day--the specialists agreed unanimously his ass was grass; maybe he'd last one more Christmas, if lucky, just in time to beg Santa for death, if death hadn't already come creeping and smirking into his room.
When we meet Scarlett Keegan, the first thing she wants to get off her chest is that hers isn't a stage name. "My mom's favorite movie is Gone With the Wind," she says. "I didn't wake up one day and say, 'I want to be a star. I'm going to change my name to make it sound sexy.'"
You're Killing Me! The Playboy Compendium of Outlaw Humor
After World War II, Americans felt entitled to some old-school funny to go with their peace and crabgrass. They'd just put an end to the worst stand-up act in the checkered history of German comedy, and it was time to whip up a few Boston cream pies and break out the exploding cigars. They wanted Bob Hope to be a fast-talking coward, Jack Benny to be an unyielding skinflint and Milton Berle to put on a dress. But things changed in the 1950s. History did not end. There was communism and McCarthyism, war and nuclear proliferation, Emmett Till and Selma, Alabama, the pill and rock and roll. Uncle Miltie in a dress wasn't cutting it anymore.
There is no greater celebration of the human form than the Olympic Games. Every four years the athletes of the world gather in one place for one reason: to see who has the best body. And the female athletes in this pictorial have bodies capable of truly remarkable feats. Long jumper Ineta Radevica routinely launches herself into a low earth orbit and alights a full Winnebago length from where she took off. High jumper Amy Acuff flows over a bar as tall as Tracy McGrady in a seemingly death-defying sequence: ponytail, back, butt, calves, toes. Mary Sauer and Fanni Juhasz brandish a 15-foot-long pole and, with a leap of faith, transform its potential energy into an elegant violation of the laws of gravity. Haley Clark swims faster than any woman ever. This year on Mount Olympus, these women will push their bodies to the limit as they strive to embody the Olympic credo of Citius, altius, fortius: Faster, higher, stronger. As witnessed here, their physiques also conform to the Bauhaus ideal. Form, after all, follows function.
Below is a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month's merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 34, 39--40, 76--79, 110--117, 169 and 172--173, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
In the mid-to-late 1990s you couldn't click on the TV without seeing Jenny McCarthy's cute mug smiling at you. From the MTV hits Singled Out and The Jenny McCarthy Show to the covers of Rolling Stone and TV Guide, Jenny was everywhere. Then, just as suddenly as she had appeared in our Chicago headquarters a decade ago, looking to become a Playmate, she vanished. Or so it seemed. In reality Jenny was off having a baby and writing a pregnancy book. She luxuriated in her lowprofile life, only occasionally emerging to host shows such as America's Best Beaches or to pull a cameo in Scary Movie 3 with fellow Centerfold Pamela Anderson. Now we are proud to announce that Miss McCarthy (or Mrs. Asher, if you ask her husband, John) is back where she belongs: complete and total ubiquity. In the past few months we've seen her all over the place: interviewing iconic athletes (including Muhammad Ali, pictured above) at the Xbox E3 press briefing in Las Vegas, walking the runway in the Race to Erase MS fashion show in Los Angeles and signing her book, Belly Laughs, in the Windy City. What's next for Playmate of the Year 1994? Rumor has it she's working on another sitcom. Welcome back, Jen. That's our kind of McCarthyism.
Split PersonalityAs cell phone--PDA hybrids go, the new Motorola MPx ($600 to $700, motorola.com) is a minor design miracle. Open it like a phone and you see numbers on the keypad. Open it like a laptop (inset), and you see a full computer-style keyboard. It has a 1.3-megapixel digital camera and speaks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and pocket PC.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), September 2004, volume 51, number 9. Published monthly by Playboy in national and regional editions, Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, Illinois and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40035534. Subscriptions: in the U.S., $29.97 for 12 issues. Postmaster: Send address change to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. For subscription-related questions, call 800-999-4438, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Girls of The ACC--Don't be a tar heel: Check out our seminole college girls pictorial. We've got blue devils out of dresses, cavaliers cavorting naked, tigers getting frisky, yellow jackets minus their coats and much more. Smells like team spirit.