For The Man in the Bomb Suit,Mark Boal patrolled the explosive streets of Baghdad with the elite U.S. soldiers who defuse the deadly improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, favored by Iraqi insurgents. "These guys are running up to bombs while other people are running away from them," says Boal, who spent nearly a month living with the men. "They encounter on a daily basis the most lethal weapons in this conflict. Other soldiers look at them as though they're insane sword swallowers or fire walkers. It takes a surgeon's hands--a slipup will leave you dead or missing half your body. They also have to be vigilant 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because every working moment is a life-or-death situation. They defuse hundreds of bombs a month, but bombs are talked about only when they explode."
Shortly after I began teaching at San Jose State University, in January, I started to receive e-mails from representatives of the International Union of Hotel Workers. They requested that I cancel a speech I'd been scheduled to make at a California Association of Teachers of English convention. The union was boycotting the Westin Santa Clara, which is owned by Starwood, a multinational corporation. They charged the Westin with forcing its San Francisco and Los Angeles workers to pay more for health care, take on heavier workloads and accept low wages. Starwood hotels in Los Angeles were accused of intimidating and harassing workers.
If ever there were an American city where strippers would rank as honorary Wobblies, it would be San Francisco. It has the only worker-owned peep show in the country (the Lusty Lady), and the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union welcomes sex workers as members. Hundreds of strippers work in the Bay Area, and the industry is respectable enough that the tourism bureau lists adult attractions in one of its pamphlets. Five of the local clubs are topless and 12 offer full nudity, but all are involved in a long-standing dispute about the working status of dancers.
From a List of 57 ministries reported to the IRS by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. IRS rules prohibit nonprofits from endorsing candidates: (1) Pastor of the Church of the Living Water in Olympia, Washington says a GOP candidate for Congress is "a prophet to our nation." (2) Pastor at United Baptist Missionary Convention in Baltimore writes the governor offering political support in exchange for social-services funding. (3) Churches in seven states distribute Christian Coalition voter guides. (4) Pastor of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in New York says of Al Gore from the pulpit, "I don't do endorsements, but I will say this man should be the next president." (5) Pastor of the Third New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit tells congregation not to vote for candidate whose "name rhymes with hush." (6) Foundation for Human Understanding radio show advises listeners that Gore will betray nation to the Chinese. (7) Bishop in Colorado Springs orders Catholics not to vote for pro-choice candidates. (8) Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Waterford, Michigan endorses his son for school board on church letterhead. (9) Jerry Falwell Ministries sends e-mail endorsing George W. Bush. (10) Pastor of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Miami says God ordained John Kerry to run. (11) Pastor of Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia says, "I can't tell you who to vote for, but my mama told me last week, 'Stay out of the bushes.'" (12) Bride of Christ Church in Bellwood, Pennsylvania offers to drive voters to polls "in support of President Bush." (13) Pastor at East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina expels nine parishioners who admit to voting for Kerry. The IRS says it is investigating 30 churches, but Americans United knows of only one that has had its tax-exempt status revoked, for buying a full-page ad in USA Today encouraging people not to vote for Bill Clinton.
It's 4:30 P.M., early December 2004, and a caravan of Humvees rumbles out of Camp Victory carrying Staff Sergeant Jeffrey S. Sarver and his team of bomb-squad technicians from the U.S. Army's 788th Ordnance Company. As Sarver's team bounces down Victory's rutted roads, the convoy passes a helipad where Chinooks, Black Hawks and Apaches thump in and out, some of them armed with laser-guided missiles and 30-millimeter cannons that fire fist-size shells. Sarver sees the Bradley and Abrams tanks sitting in neat rows, like cars at a dealership, their depleted-uranium bumpers aligned with precision. All that lethal hardware is parked, more or less useless against the Iraqi insurgency's main weapon in this phase of the war: improvised explosive devices made from artillery shells, nine-volt batteries and electrical tape--what the troops call IEDs.
Gentlemen, as Anita Loos told us years ago, prefer blondes. But she wasn't thinking about some nouveau Jazz Age development. Our jones for blondes is in our DNA, something that got hardwired in the species on that day eons ago when some simple-celled ancestor crawled out of the primordial ooze onto some chilly beach, beheld the sun, the great blazing orb, and sensed that with all that light and heat a rich, multicelled life would be possible. It's the same with us. We see those halos of golden hair and we are warmed.
The old fisherman has had another shitty day, hauling up the dead detritus of the sea. He's already cast his net three times; four's his limit. Why? He doesn't remember, but that's it, one to go. He tucks up his shirttails, wades in waist-deep, casts again for the thousand-thousandth time, give or take a throw or two. He waits for the net to sink. He can feel fish swimming between his legs, tickling his cods. Praise God, the bountiful sea. But this time his net snags on the bottom. It's not fair. He works his scrawny old ass to the bone, and what does he have to show for it? Wet rags and an empty belly. Even if he caught a fish, what would he do with it? He'd sell it to a rich man, go hungry and cast his net again. His existence is a ceaseless punishment. He throws off his clothes and dives under. The net's about all he's got in the world; he has to rescue it.
January 14, 2005 marked an anniversary not celebrated on Wall Street: Five years earlier the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of well-known, predominantly blue-chip industrial stocks, hit its all-time high of 11,722.98. For most of the first half of 2005 the Dow Jones hovered around 10,500, or 10.4 percent below that high. The Standard & Poor's 500, another index used to measure the stock market's performance, had fallen 8.9 percent from its March 24, 2000 peak of 1,527.46. But the real damage investors and shareholders had suffered in the past five years could be seen on the NASDAQ Composite Index of more than 4,000 mostly high-tech stocks, which remained more than 40 percent below its high of March 10, 2000. Those were the days of unlimited optimism about stock prices, matched only by overenthusiastic projections from the managements of that era's highfliers.
There are many ways to lose your money, but the easiest is to let suspicion sleep. In my 50 years analyzing the stock market, I have seen a fool's parade of manias, bubbles and speculation--not to mention junk bonds, derivatives, conglomerates, leveraged buyouts and outright fraud. The chronology below should provide a cautionary tale. Remember, bubbles always end badly.
<p>When the lights go out in Georgia, Vanessa Hoelsher is there to make sure you don't grow thirsty. The 23-year-old special-events coordinator is often out on the town in her home of Atlanta, promoting her company's wines and spirits. "If there's anything going on in Georgia with our liquor brands--whether it's Usher's birthday party or whatever--I'm kind of the go-to person," she says. It's not hard to understand why she gravitated to this line of work. Vanessa is direct and approachable as well as beautiful, an intoxicating Southern belle who--here's a shockeroo--lacks a Southern accent. "My family comes from Ohio, which is probably why I didn't pick up the accent," she explains. The Buckeye descendant remains tight with her family. "I have three brothers, and one of them is my twin. You'd think I would have been a tomboy, but I've always been feminine and girlie. I did get a thicker skin from having all those boys in the house. I'm not easily offended. I'm the first one to laugh at myself."</p>
It's Tuesday, and Matt Leinart--the quarterback who led USC to an undefeated season and a second straight national championship last year--is headed to Togo's to have lunch with his dad, Bob. "Nothing fancy, but it's become a ritual," says the six-foot-five lefty, who looks more than a little like Super Bowl hero Tom Brady. "The last time I missed our Tuesday lunch we lost to Cal." That was back in September 2003. "We're not going to miss another one."
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 36, 41--44, 118--125 and 166--167, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
We want kids, doc, but I can't seem to get my young bride pregnant.Ha! what are you? 85? I suggest you get a younger boarder to help you outwhat did the doctor recommend? Viagra? Node, he want's us to rent out a room to someone.
Aeschylus once said, "Suffering leads to wisdom," but the Greek playwright has nothing on the remarkably indefatigable Dean Karnazes, who has made a career of running more than 100 miles at a stretch--and pushing the human body further than any other marathoner in history. In his memoir, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, 42-year-old Karnazes chronicles everything from completing the Badwater 135-mile race through Death Valley (during which his shoes literally melted) to tackling a 200-mile relay--as the only guy on his team. During races Karnazes keeps his energy up by eating éclairs, burritos and pizza ordered from the road. Still, he sometimes falls asleep while running. The obvious question: Is he crazy, masochistic or both? "This is a good thing," he says. "If I thought I were damaging my body, I wouldn't do it. My life mission is to get Americans to be more active." Karnazes has been approached for the motion-picture rights to his life story, but before he gets to that, he has another goal. "This fall I want to run 500 miles nonstop from San Francisco to L.A.," he says. If he completes it, that distance will put him in the world-record books, as well as raise thousands of dollars for charity. But come on, does it ever get old? "Actually, I wish I were running right now."
Jim Jarmusch is already thinking about his tombstone. "It'll probably say, 'He never saw any Star Wars films or Gone With the Wind,'" jokes the iconoclastic director. Jarmusch, 52, has been making movies his own rebellious way for more than 20 years, from his 1983 breakthrough, Stranger Than Paradise, to 2003's chain-smoking, java-swilling Coffee and Cigarettes. "I'm not anti-Hollywood," he explains. "It's just not the place for me. I would be either very unhappy or a complete failure." Jarmusch's latest film, Broken Flowers, is his most accessible yet. A Grand Prix winner at Cannes, the comedy follows a man (played by Bill Murray) who learns he has a long-lost son as he reconnects with a series of ex-lovers (including Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange and Julie Delpy). Jarmusch says Broken Flowers isn't an attempt to strike box-office gold, just an excuse to work with a national treasure. "I think Bill Murray should run for president," says the director. "The thing is, he'd probably win. All Chaos would break loose, but we'd have fun for a while."
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), September 2005, volume 52, 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 email@example.com.