Jerry Adler

Stories by Jerry Adler

  • Still Reaching For The Stars

    Ever rise quickly from the couch to get something from the kitchen and suddenly feel dizzy?"--From the "Space Research and You" Web page for NASA's STS-107 mission.Everyone has, which is probably why NASA chose that taxpayer-friendly example to introduce an experiment by Michael Delp of Texas A&M University on how weightlessness affects the blood vessels of rats. Delp's project was part of the Fundamental Rodent Experiments Supporting Health (FRESH) payload, which consisted of 13 rats housed in three Animal Enclosure Modules in the cargo bay of Columbia. There is no reason to question the scientific validity of this work, one of 80-plus experiments carried aboard the mission, and NASA believes the results could be important for astronauts spending long periods in orbit. What that means, though, is that this was space research done for the purpose of doing more space research. For years, backers of scientific work that happens not to involve spaceflight--noting the roughly $500...
  • Spaced Out

    Two thousand years ago a Judean carpenter changed the course of history by offering humanity a path to eternal life. About a week ago a French-born sometime journalist and race-car driver who calls himself Rael tried to do the same thing when his followers announced they had solved the mysteries of human cloning. This was the high point of Rael's second career as a savior, which began when he was taken aboard an alien spaceship and transported to a faraway planet whose inhabitants, the Elohim, had created all life on Earth. For most of the past three decades Rael has been on a mission to replace outmoded religious bunkum with modern, scientific bunkum. "Science is love!" he grandly proclaimed last week in an interview with NEWSWEEK at his Canadian compound--UFOland--near the Vermont border. Soon, he promises, people will be able to make exact genetic copies of themselves, grow them instantaneously to the prime of life and then download all their accumulated memories and...
  • Fast Chat: Robert Caro

    Caro won a National Book Award for the 1,165-page "Master of the Senate," the third volume of his projected four-volume biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. He talked to Jerry Adler.Good year? ...
  • A Cardinal Offense

    It began in the basement of a church in Wellesley, Mass., where 25 parishioners gathered one evening last January to discuss the sex-abuse scandal whose ghastly outlines were just beginning to emerge in the newspapers and courtrooms. The meeting was called by Dr. Jim Muller, a long-time parishioner at St. John the Evangelist, a cardiologist and a founder, in 1980, of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Within months the little band, calling itself Voice of the Faithful, numbered in the thousands, all across the country and overseas, and Muller was devoting most of his free time to it. His wife, Kathleen, who had encouraged him at first, grew concerned."Jim, this is crazy!" she exclaimed one evening."But you told me I should try to change the church," he responded."Jim," she said, "I meant St. John's Church in Wellesley, not the Roman Catholic Church!"Of course not: that would be heresy. For virtually all of its history, the church has been ruled only from...
  • Affirmative Action:Back To The Supremes

    Nearly 25 years ago, a narrowly divided Supreme Court held in the Bakke case that while fixed racial quotas were unconstitutional, race could be a "plus factor" for minority applicants. The tortured logic of this distinction was justified, the court held, by universities' compelling interest in racial diversity. Since then, conservatives have successfully challenged affirmative-action programs in the university systems of several states, notably California and Texas. Another Supreme Court confrontation drew closer last week, when the justices agreed to decide whether the admissions practices at the University of Michigan illegally discriminate against white applicants. The issue should get a thorough airing: on the record will be hundreds of pages of studies on the academic benefits of racial diversity compiled by a Michigan professor. Curt Levey of the Center for Individual Rights, which brought the suit, is hoping for a definitive ruling that could affect not just public...
  • The Great Salmon Debate

    When you think about how good salmon really is for you, you have to wonder, why would you ever eat anything else? That, at least, appears to be the premise behind Dr. Nicholas Perricone's "Nutritional Face-Lift," the three-day regimen described in his new best seller, "The Perricone Prescription," which calls for six to nine meals of grilled salmon. And it is the theory on which Isabel Lamb, a Chicago cosmetics saleswoman and devotee of Perricone's first book, "The Wrinkle Cure," has made salmon (baked in the oven or microwaved with "just a teeny-weeny bit of butter") her lunch choice virtually every single day. She credits this diet with making her skin look so much younger than her real age that she won't give it out because nobody would believe it. Even Dr. Dean Ornish, the famously stringent health guru, will occasionally let himself go to the extent of having a small helping of poached salmon. But then why does Nicole Cordan, 36, of Seattle, who bikes to work and doesn't eat...
  • Look Who's Talking

    He might have been just a $50,000-a-year assistant at Merrill Lynch. But dress him in a coral-pink silk shirt and royal-blue blazer by Fendi, and in the pages of W magazine he's "Banker Douglas Faneuil," curly-haired and baby-faced with the blush of hipness on his cheeks. Faneuil, 26, has improbably emerged as a key figure in the Justice Department investigation of Martha Stewart's sale of stock in the biotech company ImClone last December. Law-enforcement officials have confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Faneuil has agreed to plead guilty to a minor charge and to cooperate in the case that has shocked all Americans with the realization of how much they enjoy seeing Martha Stewart in trouble. People get the informers they deserve; Leona Helmsley was sent up the river by a maid who recalled her sneering that "only the little people pay taxes." If Faneuil's testimony seals Stewart's fate, at least she'll have been done in by someone with taste.Faneuil has been of intense interest to...
  • A Tale Of Two Hogs

    The pork board keeps reminding Americans how lean pork is, and if you don't believe it, you should look at some pigs. An obvious place to begin is in northeastern Iowa, where a farmer named Gary Lynch keeps 100,000 or so hogs at any one time, spread out over six counties in vast steel sheds holding 1,000 animals each. Lynch, whose license plate reads porkie--no small distinction in a state with 15 million pigs--calls himself "a family farmer," and he is one, in the sense that his family works with him, and he lives on the land. But his pigs illustrate the remarkable evolution of the breed from a byword for slovenliness into the poster animal for modern, high-efficiency corporate agriculture: uniformly pink-skinned and narrow-hipped, lined up at the trough as eagerly as so many CEOs. When George W. Bush visited Iowa last week, he ate Lynch's pigs, smoked and cooked by Lynch's barbecue company. You can't get more corporate than that.But there's another farm, less than 30 miles away,...
  • The 'Thrill' Of Theft

    Some 800,000 times a day, this tableau of temptation, fear and exhilaration plays out in the humdrum aisles of department stores and supermarkets, frequently over such unlikely objects of avarice as batteries and souvenir knickknacks. It's a window into our desires: retailers like Brandy Samson, who manages a jewelry and accessories store in the Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Fashion Square, uses shoplifting as a guide to taste. "We know what's hot among teens by seeing what they steal," she says. It can be a cry for help on the part of troubled celebrities like Bess Myerson, Hedy Lamarr and maybe Winona Ryder, who was arrested in December on felony charges of taking $4,760 in clothes from the Beverly Hills branch of Saks Fifth Avenue. She pleaded not guilty and was freed on bail, although her fans continue to protest the injustice of the arrest with free winona T shirts. And it's an economic bellwether: thrills and temptation won out over fear in 2000 to the tune of some $13 billion,...
  • Rites Of Comfort

    She was returning home from business in New York, and scheduled to fly to San Francisco aboard United Airlines Flight 93, leaving at 8 a.m. But on the night of Sept. 10, Donna Garton couldn't sleep; she'd just gotten the unsettling news that her best friend's breast cancer had spread. So at 5:30 in the morning on September 11 she got dressed and headed to Newark, where she found a seat on a flight leaving at 7 a.m. instead. And that is why, after Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, she was so happy to wake up at all the next morning--even if it was in Denver, on her way home in a rental car with three strangers whose flights had also landed unexpectedly in Lincoln, Neb. Now, two months later, she finds herself staring at the calendar at a word whose simple English constituents suddenly strike her with the force of revelation: Thanks. Giving. Garton, who has a busy career as a development officer at Stanford University, had been planning a dinner just with her husband and three...
  • Remembering Terror, 1988

    On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103, a 747 bound from London to New York, exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground. Until this year, it was the deadliest terror attack ever on American civilians. But the United States didn't declare "war" on terrorism--or on Syria and Iran, which were widely suspected of masterminding the operation, or on Libya, which almost certainly carried it out. Instead, the government treated it as a criminal case. The only people charged with the murders were two midlevel Libyan intelligence agents, who finally came to trial in the Netherlands last year. One was convicted; the other went free. For many of the families of the victims, the lack of a serious American response to the bombing of Pan Am 103 felt like a betrayal by their own government. Their demand to hold someone accountable for the murders led them to the radical step of suing Libya in American courts, setting a precedent for the use of legal remedies...
  • Shooting To The End

    Bill Biggart walked two miles from his apartment near Union Square to reach Ground Zero on the morning of the attack, taking pictures along the way, and he went about 100 feet too far. Other photographers were almost as close to the Twin Towers that morning, but Biggart--who disdained the telephoto lens as a device best suited to taking pictures of Jennifer Lopez sunbathing--felt the need to get closer than any of them. As a photojournalist Biggart was drawn to conflict, but the best pictures he brought back were of faces--grinning Israeli soldiers and exuberant Palestinian youths, shot from so close that his wife, Wendy Doremus, didn't dare ask for details of his trips until he was safely back in New York. And from the site of the most recent horror, which struck almost with-in sight of his windows, he would have brought back faces, too, if he had returned himself. Instead, the 300-odd photographs he took that morning with his three cameras--two film, one digital--were buried along...
  • Hitting Home

    You could draw an emotional contour map of the New York region last week, and put shock at its center, in the still-smoldering ruins that tenaciously refused to yield up their myriad dead. Beyond that, a band of fear among the people who live and work in the city itself, which (as they have just discovered) is what military planners call a "target-rich environment." And then, farther still, where on a clear day the Twin Towers were thumb-size bumps on the horizon, a circle shaded by grief in the suburban towns of New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island, on the streets where the flags are the thickest, in the houses with pictures of the missing taped to the windows. This is where many of the corpses now buried in the rubble lived.Stretching east on Long Island, from the border with Queens halfway to the Hamptons, is a jumble of suburbs whose borders are so unmemorable residents sometimes just describe their hometowns as a certain exit number on the Long Island Expressway. Here, many...
  • Connecting In New York

    At 8:55 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, Andrea Popovich, 24, had her last cynical thought for the year. As she emerged from a subway station near her office in downtown Manhattan, she saw a crowd gaping up at the sky. A woman appeared to be praying, and Popovich, with the generous spirit that characterizes New Yorkers who find someone blocking their path to work, thought to herself, what now? A cloud in the shape of Jesus? Then she turned around and looked up.At that moment the sky was filling, invisibly, with phone calls from people trapped in the burning tower. At first the messages were reassuring. "Mom, don't worry," Joyce Carpeneto said in a message left on her mother's answering machine at 9 a.m. "A plane hit the World Trade Center. We are going to evacuate the building. Now pray for us." A half hour later, Daniel Lopez called home and left a message for his wife, Elizabeth: "Hi, hon. I'm OK. There was an explosion. I made it to the 78th floor. I'm helping people to get out. I'll...
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    Ground Zero

    The bombing rippled out to touch all New Yorkers, who responded with bravery, generosity and a deep sense of community. How the city's longest day brought forth its finest hour.
  • Arthritis: What It Is, Why You Get It, And How To Stop The Pain

    Twenty-One Million Americans Suffer From This Potentially Crippling Disease And Account For 7 Million Doctor Visits Each Year. Yet With New Warnings Out About The Best Available Pain Relief, Treating It Is More Complicated Than Ever.
  • So, You Want To Open A Restaurant?

    At the age of 22, Geoffrey Zakarian, who had grown up and gone to college in Worcester, Mass., went to live for a few months near Monte Carlo, where he was researching a thesis on urban development. He took a room in a French town where every corner had a pastry shop with seven different kinds of frangipane tart and where the average lunch lasted as long as Easter services in Worcester. Zakarian loved food, but he had always thought of it as what your mother put on the table at 5:30. Suddenly he saw it in a new light. He envisioned himself as the owner of a stylish restaurant, greeting beautiful women and important men coming to eat his food. Back at home, he announced to his conservative Polish-Armenian family that he had decided to become a chef. ...
  • This Bulb's For You

    Although he grows 87 varieties of garlic on his tiny farm in Sonoma County, Calif., Chester Aaron would readily concede that nobody needs that many different kinds to eat. He himself can identify no more than eight or 10 garlics by taste, and when he exhibits at food shows or fairs, he puts out just three or four--some Creole Red, for its sweet, earthy flavor; a little Asian Tempest, for gum-scorching heat; a few heads of Spanish Roja, with a robust garlic flavor that fills the mouth and everything else between the toes and the scalp. Even so, the same people who insist on extra-virgin Umbrian olive oil in numbered bottles sometimes find it hard to believe they should bother tasting anything as banal as garlic."This is a scam," one woman, a well-known food writer and critic, once announced to Aaron at a Washington, D.C., food fair. "Garlic is garlic."Aaron mashed a little Asian Tempest into a bowl of hummus and fed it to her on a cracker. She gasped in astonishment, mingled with...
  • More On Birds And Dinosaurs

    How small can a dinosaur be? Until now, the answer was, about as big as a medium-size dog--the size of a velociraptor, the swift, ferocious predators that haunt the nightmares of modern humans who saw "Jurassic Park." But last week, in the journal Nature, three Chinese paleontologists reported finding a new species of theropod (the suborder of upright-walking carnivores that includes velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus) that was very much smaller--about 15 inches long, or roughly the size of a modern crow. "For a dinosaur, Microraptor zhaoianus is a very small dinosaur," says Luis Chiappe, head of vertebrate paleontology at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.And a potentially important one, because the specimen may shed light on one of the hottest topics in paleontology, the evolutionary transformation of dinosaurs into birds. By coincidence, a different Chinese team reported in Science last week the discovery of a bird from the Early Cretaceous, Protopteryx fengningensis,...
  • And They're Off!

    Somewhere amid the endless opening procession of fruit-colored blazers, beaming under their hats, were the faces we will get to know so well over the coming days and weeks: the hard-bodied sprinter squeezing out the last few hundredths of a second standing between the human race and the practical limits of two-legged propulsion; the ponytailed gamine who can hurl herself spinning and tumbling into the air and land with the authority of a jackknife stuck in a pine plank; the lithe swimmer with the easy smile and the golden California sun in her hair. Soon the pedestrian hordes of officials and also-rans will fall away and they will stand revealed to us, the fruit of our youth, bedecked with all the swooshes and milk mustaches their grateful nations can bestow. Australian swimming phenom Ian Thorpe solidified his hold on his countrymen with two gold medals and two world records in the first full day of competition. America settled for a silver medal in the men's 4 x 100 relays, but...
  • An American Epidemic: Diabetes

    The Silent Killer: Scientific Research Shows A 'Persistent Explosion' Of Cases--Especially Among Those In Their Prime
  • Management A La Trotter

    Would you like Charlie Trotter to be your cabdriver? Of course you would. If Charlie Trotter, the famously perfectionist Chicago chef, drove a cab, its door handles would gleam like polished flatware, and if you weren't satisfied with your ride, he'd offer to drive you somewhere else, gratis. "It would be so easy to say, 'Hi, how're you doing?' " he mused recently, apropos of his favorite topic: why the rest of the world should be more like Charlie Trotter's restaurant. "'Where can I take you today? Do you have a preferred route?'" So of course you'd want Charlie Trotter as your cabdriver--even if, based on the prices in his restaurant, a ride to Chicago from O'Hare might set you back $175 before tax and tip.Is that any way to run a business? A surprising number of people seem to think so, and Trotter has transformed himself into a new archetype: chef as management guru. He has lectured to business classes at Northwestern and the University of Chicago. Last year Ten Speed Press...
  • The Cook-And-Tell Chef

    He is imposingly tall, and lanky, towering over his crew of Mexican and South American cooks even without the white toque he disdains as effete and prone to catch fire. His hands are strong and his fingers exceptionally long, splayed and knobby-jointed. What you don't see, at first, are the calluses and scars, the little missing pieces that more than a quarter century of working with knives and red-hot sizzle platters and bubbling vats of molten fat got sliced or burned away and never quite grew back -- possibly because instead of seeing a doctor, he just covered the wound with towels and kept on working. Nor do you see the toll taken by 25 years of 14-hour days or the drugs he took to get through the days or the drugs he took to unwind when the days finally ended at 11 or midnight. And the feet. Don't even ask about the feet.In the annals of chef memoirs, "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain is unique, and not only because he fails to provide a single recipe. Bourdain claims...
  • Living Canvas

    Great artistic movements begin in rebellion, and end up in museums. Along the way, there is typically an inflection point, a paradigm shift when the response they elicit changes from shock and outrage to "ummm... is this the only color it comes in?" Michael McCabe has tattoos on both arms down to his wrists; he has written about tattoos and been a tattoo artist for 20 years, during most of which time it was illegal in New York City. So he could appreciate how far the art has come, as he circulated among fashion models, socialites, art-world figures, bikers and interested dermatologists at the opening of "Body Art: Marks of Identity"--a new show at the American Museum of Natural History that may legitimize tattoos and nose rings the way the Armory Show of 1913 did for modern art.On the one hand, McCabe has nostalgia for the days when tattoos were still the badge of the hip and the outlaw, not something a housewife might get to celebrate losing 20 pounds. On the other hand, he can...
  • Bill's Next Move

    For those who believe that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is destined not only to rule the world but to own everything in it, last week unfolded pretty much according to plan. Several hundred billion dollars' worth of stockholders packed Microsoft's 13th annual meeting, confident that, no matter what the United States government did, there would be many more of them. Gates announced a deal to invest $100 million in Tandy Corp. and put what amounts to Microsoft boutiques in 7,000 Radio Shack stores nationwide. The company spun off its money-losing Expedia travel Web site, minting a few new millionaires as the stock soared from $14 to $52. And Microsoft's own stock closed down a barely perceptible $2 or so a share. That seemed to reflect the market's judgment, a week after U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's historic ruling that the company used its software monopoly to hurt competitors and consumers, that in the end the most powerful country on the globe would be no...
  • The New Zen Of Stuff

    If he weren't so scrupulous about his "very minimalist" esthetic, Mark Rose could probably just about fill his apartment with stuff. The apartment, after all, in New York's East Village, is only 600 square feet, and Rose, a florist who is passionate about cooking and entertaining, shares it with a companion, Mehmet Tangoren, a fashion buyer equally passionate about clothes. Which is why, when Rose embarked on renovations earlier this year, the first person he called wasn't an architect; it was a closet consultant.What the kitchen was to the 1980s, the bathroom to the 1990s, the closet may be to the coming decade: status symbol, personal retreat and locus of domestic self-expression. Tangoren's fall-winter wardrobe hangs in the 15-square-foot walk-in wardrobe behind rice-paper-and-mahogany doors; Rose's copper saucepans now nestle on inch-thick melamine pantry shelves behind sliding frosted-glass panels. In the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Peter and Chris Sweders have a 3,150-square...
  • 'I'd Like To Learn My Fate'

    It was minus 63 at the south pole when the go-ahead came through, at 9:27 Saturday morning--Friday afternoon in the United States. About 870 miles away at McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast, Maj. George R. McAllister of the New York Air National Guard revved up the engines on his specially outfitted LC-130 transport, the only large plane in the world meant to fly in and out of the Pole. The planes are not supposed to land or take off below minus 58, but officers were gambling that the temperature would rise enough during the three-hour flight to make the round trip possible. In the 42 years that there has been a permanent American research base at the pole, this was the earliest in the Antarctic spring that a flight in has been attempted. For the 41 men and women wintering there, the start of spring flying season means fresh supplies, visitors and, for many, a flight home to resume their lives. For one in particular, Dr. Jerri Nielsen, the base physician who has been treating...
  • A Sanctuary Shooting

    The day began with prayers for many of the 150 teenagers at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, and now, at nearly 7 o'clock in the evening, they were worshiping again. Wednesday, Sept. 15, was "See You at the Pole Day," when evangelical students assemble around school flagpoles to hold hands and pray. Fliers had been posted for the evening prayer meeting, and one of them may have caught the eye of Larry Gene Ashbrook, a 47-year-old unemployed loner who lived a few miles away. Wearing sunglasses and a dark-green jacket, smoking a cigarette, Ashbrook marched into the church lobby and asked where the youth group was meeting. A maintenance man asked him to put out his cigarette. Ashbrook pulled a 9mm pistol from his pocket and began firing.The toll this time: seven dead--four of them teenagers--plus Ashbrook, who shot himself in the head as officers arrived. Seven people were injured, three of them critically. Inevitably, the tragedy, in the home state of Republican...
  • Just Don't Say No, Not Us

    Susan, a Los Angeles homemaker and the mother of a 16-year-old son, believes it's never too soon to start lying to your kids about drugs. She began when he was 6 and, all fired up by an elementary-school program, asked if Mommy had done any of those terrible things. "I didn't hesitate to say no," she says, belying a history of marijuana use from the age of 12, LSD at 15 and a two-year addiction to amphetamines. She lied when he asked again five years later, although her husband, with considerably less to hide, confessed. That made her feel even worse. "I lied to him and now he thinks it's so terrific that I never tried drugs," she says. She beats down the impulse to tell the truth. "I think he would feel incredibly betrayed," she reasons.Susan, and most of the 78 million adult Americans who have used drugs, will never run for president. But they have found that doesn't exempt them from difficult questions about their behavior when, like a certain candidate, they were young and...