Woody Allen's films consistently demonstrate that we are living in a world governed by the absurd. This month he uses the pen to lampoon Hollywood's humbling ways with This Nib for Hire. In this story from Allen's new collection, Mere Anarchy, an unproven writer weighs the benefits of an easy paycheck against the specter of losing literary credibility. "Show-business salaries are so inflated that next to a normal salary they're like a pashas or something," Allen has said. "It's unbelievable. But I'm not Hollywood wealthy—I never took advantage of the sellout opportunities I had. I've never agreed to do Annie Hall II." Allen's return to short stories comes more than 25 years after the publication of his last collection. "I like writing. It's therapeutic in the same way a patient in an institution is given finger paints."
Mark Boal's line article The lirnl Cost oj War (March), about the efforts to discount the number of soldiers returning from the war with post-traumatic stress disorder, is a difficult read. I live in a city where almost everyone is "federally connected" (i.e.. current or former military personnel or related to same), and we still see enraged, violent vets living on the streets.
People often use a cliche when considering get-rich-quick opportunities and miracle cures: "If it sounds too good to be true...." The key to the XanGo presentation and those of many other multilevel marketing operations is that they are designed not to sound uxj gcxxl to be true, or your reporter Jonathan Black would not have signed on ((Ui Rich! Ijw Fbinvr!, March). Oneof my major concerns about XanCio is that it's promoted through testimonials as a cure-all even while the company claims it is not a medicine. To counter the lack of scientific evidence that XanGo can treat illnesses, sales reps argue that dixtors consider the product a lineal because il steals their customers. Km who will shoulder the responsibility when someone is harmed by trusting the advice of an ignorant XanCio rep over a doctor's? If the matter were decided by a
You remember Bai Ling—Chinese girl, slightly schizoid, Mainly known for stray nipples and misfires sartorial. Had a small part in Star Wars that never made celluloid— An odd coda to June '05's cover pictorial, Where she told us eight spirits were living inside of her. Now she's muse to a German-born fashion photographer, Udo Spreitzenbarth, who, in a show at the Berlinale, Hung his five-foot-tall prints of Bai au naturel. One's above. At 8spirits.com view them all.
Australians use wattle seed, an aboriginal staple with a coffee-like flavor, in muffins and ice cream. But the nutty stuff works especially well in beer, as we found when we tasted Barons Black Wattle Superior Wattle Seed Ale.
Built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center, the Navy's amphibious assault ship USS New York (LPD-21) will be ready sometime this year. The vessel, which is being constructed in New Orleans, survived Hurricane Katrina.
(Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, Heather Matarazzo) In this brutal sequel, three American girls studying abroad wind up as prisoners in an underground torture club frequented by rich men with wacko appetites. Battling for survival, our heroines learn the club owners' tentacles reach internationally.
(Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd) Judd Apatow, writer-director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, strikes again with this laugh machine about a TV entertainment journalist (Heigl) who gets preggers from a one-night stand with an aimless 20-something (Rogen). Should they pair up or move on?
(John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack) This hair-raiser from a Stephen King story has Cusack checking into a hotel's infamous room 1408, thinking he'll debunk tales of supernatural calamities that have befallen 56 of the room's prior occupants. The horror hotel lives up to its gruesome rep.
(Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Will Patton) Brad Pitt produced this real-life drama starring Jolie as Mariane Pearl, wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. In 2002 she searched Pakistan for her missing husband, who was researching a story about Muslim fundamentalists, and discovered he had been murdered.
CHIPS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (1977) Enjoy a nostalgia trip with toothy highway patrolman Ponch (Erik Estrada) and his partner as they ride their motorcycles into trouble on California's freeways. VVV
No one has accused wild child Bijou Phillips of being shy, and we're so okay with that. The April 2000 playboy cover model has had a string of edgy roles in movies like Havoc and Bully (pictured). She'll next test her lung power as a college coed studying abroad who makes a horrible lodging error in Hostel: Part II.
SPIDER-MAN 3 (PC, PS2, PS3, 360, Wii) As the movie hits theaters, everyone's favorite swinger spins his way onto consoles, with incredible open-world web slinging and crime fighting, plus epic God of War-like boss battles. Yum.
SPONTANEOUS ROMANCE is the best kind— especially if you've thought ahead. Six things every guy should have in his home at all times: 1. A bottle of chilled bubbly. Moet & Chandon's White Star ($25) is a great standby. 2. Condoms
YOU DON'T USE your stereo to do your taxes, so why store your music and movies where you keep your spreadsheets? Niveus's Rainier Edition Media Center (from $3,200, niveus.com) is a computer built for the living room, leveraging Windows Vista's enhanced media capabilities to feed your entertainment system all the digital goodness it deserves. This unit will store everything you've got and more, and
INSECTS ARE THE ultimate purpose-driven animals. Their highly optimized anatomies arise from their ability to mass-reproduce, their short generational cycles (ask the mayfly) and an abundance of predators trying to turn them into lunch—or, as it turns out, art. Contemplating a dead beetle one day, sculptor Mike Libby was struck by its similarity to clockwork. After he implanted watch parts into the carcass, Insect Lab was born. Libby's creations, including bees, butterflies and spiders (the arachnid pictured is roughly two inches across), are reasonably priced (from $250. insectlabstudio.com). He'll even create custom pieces out of specimens from your backyard.
THE WHOLE POINT of laptops is that they can go anywhere—and that means more than just being small and light. Of course Toshiba's Portege R400 (from $2,600, toshiba.com) is available with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connecting on the go, but if you opt for the built-in cellular antenna, you can use the Net when out of router range. What's more, the swiveling screen can fold into a touch-screen tablet configuration, letting you use a stylus to click around the web or take handwritten notes. The fact that this flexible wonder is small and light (with a gorgeous piano finish) doesn't hurt matters either.
van you explain how therapists test a person for heterosexuality? I read that the Reverend Ted Haggard, the prominent Colorado minister who preached against homosexuality but admitted to having sexual contact with a former male prostitute, was declared "completely heterosexual" after three weeks of therapy.—J.H., Dallas, Texas
Thanks to playboy for exposing our government's hush-hush cost-overrun alcazars in Iraq ("Sand Castles," March), which some call the Wolfie-schlbsser ("Wolfie's castles"), after Paul Wolfowitz. One speculates they'll be used as fortified palaces for the jun-
I was upset to see a letter in the March "Reader Response" that alerted parents to a website about how to opt out of sharing their kids' information with military recruiters. I am so tired of liberal Americans demanding that the military protect their right to spit on the military. Did you know we live in one of the few countries in the world that does not require military service of all its citizens? One of the benefits of mandatory service is that it gives citizens who don't have connections to the military a taste of what it means to put their family and friendships on hold to take up arms in order to secure the freedoms of their country.
Pardon me, but your hypocrisy is showing. In "Christian Radio Invasion" (February) you intimate how awful it is that Christian radio uses FM translators to build networks. Apparently you're against all censorship except that of your political opponents. Bully for them for using a loophole. If you don't like it, use the political process to close it. Better yet, stop whining and take advantage of it yourself. In America the same loopholes are available to all. If you don't use them, that's your problem. Alan Gertonson Indianapolis, Indiana
muncie. Indiana Not much about CBS's short-lived reality-TV program Armed & Famous clicked. For the show, celebrities including Erik Estrada, Jack Osbourne and La Toya Jackson joined the Muncie police force. Now, months after Armed & Famous was canned, it has emerged that some of the showbiz cops participated in a questionable SWAT raid during filming and are named in a recently filed claim against the city. The grounds are all too familiar: The team raided the wrong address. Lyndsay Clements, a 22-year-old college student, alleges excessive force was used when the SWAT team mistakenly entered her apartment and cuffed and questioned her. She also claims a search of her apartment was illegal. After team members removed Clements from her home, Osbourne, accompanied by Jackson, questioned her out front.
new york-A storm has broken out over the use of the word scrotum in The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, this year's winner of the Newbery Medal, one of the most prestigious honors for children's literature. After The New York Times covered the controversy, an e-mail disseminated by Random House's First Amendment Committee (Patron's publisher is a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster with no connection to Random House) noted, "The article fails to mention that scrotum, which occurs on the very first page of the novel, is the proper, nonvulgar word for an anatomical body part." The uproar should highlight the fact that books are constantly under fire at schools and public libraries. In 2005 (the most recent year for which numbers are available), the American Library Association logged 405 official "challenges," or formalized attempts to ban a book. And as one can guess from the latest skirmish, the challenges frequently have to do with sexual openness. Among the 10 most cited books are It's So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families and It's Perfectly Normal, an introduction to puberty, as well as such classics as Judy Blume's Forever, J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and Robert Cormier's Chocolate War, all opposed as a result of—what else?—sexual content.
london Exiled leaders of Iraq's gay community suggested at a conference that death squads are systematically killing homosexuals with the tacit approval of the new government. Ali Hili, who fled Iraq and now works for U.K.-based
KEVIN MITNICK IS THE MOST NOTORIOUS HACKER IN THE WORLD. SOME SAY HE IS ALSO THE MOST DANGEROUS. HERE. FOR THE FIRST TIME, IS THE INSIDE STORY OF HOW HE STAYED A STEP AHEAD OF THE FBI UNTIL FINALLY, INEXPLICABLY, HE MADE A SIMPLE MISTAKE THAT BROUGHT HIM DOWN
Puberty is no picnic for anyone, but while browsing the dusty stacks I came across two coming-of-age stories that make my own seem like a Broadway musical. In 1979 Dr. Julianne Imperato-McCinley and three colleagues reported that they had identified 30 teenagers and adults living
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, 43-44, 106-109, 112-113 and 150-151, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
The Black Eyed Peas' STACY "FERCIE " FERGUSON has a lot of things going for her, but modesty isn't one of them. She bragged about her breasts and buttocks (or "lady lumps") in the hit "My Humps," then touted her feminine flavor in "Fergalicious," stating plainly that "the boys wanna eat it." We keep searching for the metaphor in that line, but we can't find it.
As Gaia, brash and lusty servant of Titus Pullo on the HBO series Rome, ZULEIKHA ROBINSON runs afoul of the lady of the house and needs disciplining by Titus. In this case, cruelty yields to kinky kindness.
1 In 2005 designer Christian Lacroix revamped Air France's stewardess uniforms. We don't imagine this frock from his latest collection will ever get off the runway— barring a revival of the defunct Hooters Air.
Way back in 1982 Jane Fonda created the first successful mass-market workout video. Its unique formula? Women watched it to get in shape, men watched ii because Jane still had it at 45, and no one got mad if the tape was left in the VCR. Now substitute short shorts for that frumpy leotard and our own stunning Holly, Bridget and Kendra for Barbarella, and you've got The Girls Next Door Workout ($15. playboystore .com). The DVD features a 10- to 20-minute workout routine from each of Hef's favorite blondes, performed—where else?—at scenic spots around the Mansion.
The rumor mill whispered that Kawasaki had developed a ludicrously fast Jet Ski. Well, it's true. The new Ultra 25OX (SI 1,500, kawasaki.com) has a 250-horsepower supercharged four-cylinder engine based on the Kawasaki Ninja superbike's. The most powerful personal watercraft on the market, it can hit 70 miles an hour in mere seconds. The editor who tested this baby had to order himself new shirts, as his arms are now 42 inches long. Yes, you can still do all those social things—put your girlfriend on the back, bounce the kids around, cruise the beach in the shallows in search of bikini babes—and then you can go out and scare yourself silly.
Run by two brothers. Barking Irons is a small fashion company that crafts rings out of old 19th century silverware. Inspired by the lawless streets of the Five Points (where Gangs of New York is set), they're perfect for a night out with your lowlife cronies at whatever saloon or brothel you fancy. For an added statement, file your teeth into sharp points. Pictured: the Nautical Ring and Liberty Ring (both $295, barkingirons.com).
When vou first met Clocky (S50. nanda home.com) in our August 2005 issue, it was but a prototype. Now it's in production and ready to roll—literally. When this little stinker's alarm blares, it leaps from your bedside table and scrambles around the room on two speedy wheels, forcing you to chase it down. By the time you catch Clocky, you're so harried you may need an am scotch to calm down, but you're very much awake.
Digital-camera screens keep getting larger, but they still can't show you if your drunken officemates have their eyes closed in a group shot. Fujifilm's FinePix Z5fd J300. fujifilm.com) can. Smart software picks out the faces in each picture and instantly zooms in on them so you can check important details quickly. It uses the same technology for autofocus to ensure that it focuses on faces and not the scenery.
Centuries ago Peter the Great, founder of St. Petersburg in Russia, had a favorite vodka that he slurped. A couple of years ago some investors found the recipe for his vodka and. in celebration of the city's 1500th anniversary, created the Czar's Gold brand using the original formula and water source (Lake Ladoga, outside St. Petersburg). Czar's Gold is now one of the official vodkas of the Kremlin, and it's beginning to show up in American shops (about S35, (zarsgold.com). Try it chilled with a hottie named Olga.
Commemorate an era that never existed with a weapon that never did either. One of three retro-futuristic masterpieces dreamed up by the lunatics at VVeta Digital (Peter Jackson's effects company) in homage to the 1950s-malinee future, the FMOM Industries Wave Disrupter Gun ($690, wetanz.com) weighs more than seven pounds and is made in limited runs of 500.
A few tricks can take the edge off a redeye. We find an indulgent shave alleviates it immensely. Matched to the task, Kiehl's offers an opulent Lite Flite Shave Cream (SI7) for the brush. It's buttery and comes in a tub that packs easily, unlike a mug and soap. Start with a bit of shaving oil ($18), slap on the cream, follow with moisturizer ($25) and add a touch of Eye Alert ($20), all available at kiehk.com. Good. As. New.
If you buy your own exercise equipment, it can take up half your house. Simplify the situation with Bow flex's SelectTech dumbbells (bowflex .com), which let you keep an entire set of Weights in the space usually occupied by just one pair. To adjust your routine, simply dial in how hard you want to work, whether low weight and high rep or vice versa, and lift them out of the base. ITiree configurations are available: two pounds to 20 pounds (SI-19). five pounds to 52 pounds ($400)and 10 pounds to 90 pounds (pictured, $000).
THE RED-HOT SUMMER ISSUE- PLAYBOY DELIVERS A BOUNTY OF WARM-WEATHER PLEASURES INCLUDING FAST GIRLS, FAST CARS. BLOCKBUSTER ACTION HEROES. BRILLIANT BEACH READS, A GRILLING TIP OR TWO AND A RETURN TO THE SUMMER OF LOVE.