Newsweek Staff

Stories by Newsweek Staff

  • No, You Can't Have Nintendo

    My wife and I are the kind of mean parents whom kids grumble about on the playground. We're among that ever-shrinking group of parents known as Nintendo holdouts. We refuse to buy a Nintendo set.(Nintendo, for those of you who have been living in a cave for the past few years, is something that you hook up to your TV set that enables you to play various games on your home screen.) Around Christmas time, my son made a wish list, and I noticed that Nintendo was No. 1. I said, "You know you're not going to get Nintendo." He said, "I know I'm not going to get it from you. But I might get it from him. " Alas, Santa, too, let him down. ...
  • Secondhand Smoke: Some Grim News

    There's no denying that cigarettes are a lethal addiction: smoking kills more than six times as many Americans every year as died in the entire Vietnam War. But secondhand smoke remains a source of bitter contention. Is it really a public health hazard, as the antismoking forces contend? Or is it just an annoyance? Four years ago, the U.S. Surgeon General's office and the National Research Council tackled the question. In separate reports, both firmly linked passive smoking to lung cancer. They also found that smokers' children suffered more than their share of respiratory infections. But neither panel tried to gauge the overall impact of passive smoking on the nation's health. The evidence was still too sketchy. ...
  • Mrs. Bush's 'Three Choices'

    I hope many of you will consider making three very special choices. The first is to believe in something larger than yourself, to get involved in some of the big ideas of our time . . . Early on, I made another choice which I hope you will make as well. Whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you are talking about life and life really must have joy. It's supposed to be fun. One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life, to marry George Bush, is because he made me laugh . . . ...
  • Cleaning Up By Cleaning Up

    George Hyfantis Jr. might not strike you as a global enterpreneur neur. He wears Mickey Mouse ties and scribbles notes to himself on the palm of his hand. But his eight-man environmental consulting firm works around the globe on such problems as surveying toxic-waste sites. These day ,he's looking toward Eastern Europe. "We've experienced their problems," hee says. "We've had trouble breathing." Now the Knoxville engineer finds himself in a position to do some good--and do well. His International Waste Management Systems is negotiating to build pollution monitoring equipment in Czechoslovakia. Though Eastern Europe is struggling at the moment, he says, "There will come a time when they will be our competitors in the ! world market. I would rather be working with them at that time than against them." ...
  • We Grew Accustomed To His Face

    Rex Harrison's 11-year-old granddaughter once said: "The difference between Grandfather and myself is that I'm going to be a serious actress." This "unserious" image dogged Harrison throughout his life, which ended last week at 82 when he died in New York of pancreatic cancer. He was the insouciant, throwaway actor who scored his biggest success in a Broadway musical, "My Fair Lady," whereas Olivier and Gielgud were the classical titans who grappled with Hamlet and Macbeth. Even Noel Coward told Harrison: "If you weren't the best light comedian in the country, all you'd be fit for is selling cars." ...
  • 'Rusty Tubs': The Navy's Ghost Fleet

    The Southwestern Victory once carried beans and bullets to troops in Europe, Korea and Vietnam. Now the only items on the old merchant ship are rust, dead pigeons and shards of haze-gray paint. Its pitted hull and 45-year-old steam-turbine engines haven't been tested in years. Yet the Navy is counting on the Southwestern Victory and other ships like it in a pinch. It's part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), intended to provide extra military supplies in a national emergency. The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), which maintains the 331-ship fleet for the Navy, says some of it could go to sea on as little as five days' notice. Congressional critics say the Navy is counting on ghost ships. As many as a third may be useless, requiring months and millions of dollars in repairs to regain seaworthiness: "A rusty-tub program," says Democratic Rep. Ronald Wyden. ...
  • Buzzwords

    OK, you've been accepted to college and your next concern is, will I fit in? The most popular freshman college lingo: Heisman: Stiff-arm approach used to ward off suitors at parties. As in Heisman Trophy.Blower: Frosh who can't hold his beer. Usage: "Watch your shoes, Buffy. He's a blower."Teethmaster: A frat boy. Usage: "Does that teethmaster's hair ever get messy?"Gilligans: Freshmen who work in dorm cafeterias and wear white sanitary caps.Arnolds: Musclehead bouncers who keep freshmen out of bars. As in Schwarzenegger. Warrens: Male upperclassmen who date freshman women. As in Beatty.
  • The Thrill Is Gone

    Summits aren't what they used to be, and I say thank God for that. True, as a great deal of commentary has pointed out over the past few days, much of the glamour, suspense and personal drama characteristic of these meetings at the political apex has been missing from the Bush-Gorbachev encounter. But the excitement of summits past was pretty much a function of more dangerous conditions. I don't pretend that what with the turmoil in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the continued deployment of tens of thousands of nuclear warheads around the world we do not live amid dangers. But much of the high-risk drama of summit conferences used to proceed from the rarity and consequent unpredictability of the meeting itself. Would the two touchy national supremos, each incurring some domestic risk by meeting at all and each watchdog jealous of his own political standing and his country's basic interests, get along? Might bad personal vibes or big misunderstandings make the relationship...
  • Here's Looking At You, Kid

    Take an early look at the Vikings'2010 draft pick, Marcus (Heads Up) Gastineau. The 5month-old son of Mark Gastineau, late of the New York Jets, lives with his mother, Brigitte Nielsen. The great Dane says, "He's a very big boy, very strong, but Iwon't guide him in one direction. I can't say he'll be a football player. He may be a computer scientist." And if Marcus needs a lullaby, Mom can just croon her just recorded single, "Rough and I Ready for Love."
  • The Itch And The Scratch

    They're ba-ack . . . Tick season is upon us again, and Ixodes dammini, the tiny species that unleashes the ravages of Lyme disease, is on the march--out of the woods, up over your socks and right onto your bare calves. The bugs are back and so are the anxious patients, inundating doctors' waiting rooms with symptoms that range from inflamed hair follicles to unexplained fatigue. Sometimes, a quick inspection and a brief chat are all the physician needs to determine that the affliction is not Lyme. If it is, however, the diagnosis is often a lengthy quest, yielding equivocal results. But people who are bugged want clear answers and fast fixes; that itch has opened the way to fast bucks and some sloppy medicine. "You know America. I know America," says Dr. David Harris, health commissioner for Suffolk County, N.Y., one of the peak areas of Lyme incidence. "Some people do use exaggerated fears to sell products." ...
  • Chrysler Loses A Crew Chief

    Put yourself in Gerald Greenwald's position. You are the vice chairman of Chrysler Corp. and heir apparentto chairman Lee Iacocca. Iacocca, 65, is supposed to retire next year but is hinting he just might stay longer. Along comes an exciting--but risky--job offer. You could become chairman and chief executive of UAL Corp., the United Airlines parent, but there's a very big "if" attached. You get the job only if the unions that want to buy UAL can arrange the necessary financing. ...
  • Germany: Unanswered Questions

    The great mistake of the statesmen at Versailles in 1919 had been to reconstitute Germany as a national entity, to give no wider horizon than the national one to the aspirations of the German people," wrote the statesman George F. Kennan in his memoirs. "Now we were faced with this problem once again." He was speaking of 1949, but the words have lost no power. George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev met last week in hopes of locating some wider horizon for the reunification of Germany. Would it be NATO, as the West would like? Or the shapeless 35-nation Helsinki-accords cluster known as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)? For the moment, both Bush and Gorbachev were frustrated. "The Soviets can't stop Germany from uniting and the united Germany will be in NATO," said a senior U.S. official "But without the Soviets' blessing, unification could come to a messy ... conclusion, with elements of real danger." ...
  • Back In Boston

    At a Kennedy Library fundraiser last week, Jacqueline Onassis showed up with her longtime companion, investment wizard Maurice Tempelsman. Earlier in the day, sans Maurice, she applauded warmly as her daughter. Caroline, unveiled a statute of John F. Kennedy outside the Massachusetts State House. Jackie was speechless, but Sen. Edward Kennedy quipped, "I can tell from Jack's expression that he is already feeling uncomfortable on his pedestal."
  • Coke Cans A Snakebitten Promotion

    It seemed like a good idea at the time: getting consumers to buy Coca-Cola Classic by filling random cans with money and prize certificates. But the soft-drink giant's "MagiCans" promotion was snakebitten from the outset. There were reports of malfunctioning prize delivery mechanisms (the money is supposed to pop out when you open the can), and one unwitting Massachusetts buyer drank from a broken can only to get a mouthful of the foul-tasting chlorinated water used to make it feel full. ...
  • Burma: No Win For Ne Win

    For the last 10 months, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has languished in internal exile beside a Burmese lake, reading books on the lawn of her whitewashed villa as government soldiers glare at her from a few yards away. But Suu Kyi, the 44-year old daughter of a Burmese independence hero, has suddenly re-emerged as her country's most important opposition politician. Last week her National League for Democracy (NLD) swept to a surprise victory in military-run parliamentary elections-making remote Burma the latest, and in some ways most unlikely, country to demand democracy. ...
  • In China, Disappearing Dissidents

    The terse, scribbled note delivered to Hou Dejian's Beijing apartment said a great deal about the government's ruthless war on dissent. The previously announced news conference was canceled, Hou's note said, on account of "personal business." Beijing's most outspoken remaining dissident had vanished. So had the Taiwan-born pop singer's associates, university teacher Gao Xin and computer-company executive Zhou Duo. A year ago Hou, Gao and Zhou joined university lecturer Liu Xiabo in a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square. Two days later the government launched its crackdown. ...
  • Ted's Global Village

    Scenes from the toil of a globe-trotting correspondent: You're assigned to cover the Washington summit but can't get within shouting distance of anyone important. So like everyone else, you take notes off CNN, which your editors back in Brussels or Guatemala City or Denver could just as easily do for themselves. You're in a taxi headed for the Polish Parliament and the cabby says, "Hey, I learned my English from Bobbie Battista." Bobbie Battista? She's an obscure Atlanta-based anchor who has a big following in Poland, where there's no meat but plenty of feed from CNN. You're covering last spring's unrest in Tiananmen Square and you go inside to see the same scene on your hotel-room TV, literally bounced around the world and all the way back again. ...
  • Gorb's Fear Of Choppers

    Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to waive a longstanding Soviet security phobia against helicopters last week when he lifted off from the White House lawn for the summit meeting at Camp David. But Gorby agreed to the chopper ride only after a curious condition was met: he insisted that he accompany his host, President Bush, on Marine One. The Secret Service and Soviet security officials balked at the prospect of the two superpower leaders aloft in the same aircraft. (For security reasons, Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle never fly together.) But Bush, eager to be the gracious host and tour guide, overruled the objections. The two men whisked away together to the presidential hideaway. Barbara Bush and Raisa Gorbacheva followed on a separate chopper. ...
  • Time To Wind Down The Party

    Mikhail Gorbachev travels well. But at home he plays to a half-full house. Last week's election of Boris Yeltsin as chairman of the Russian Republic's parliament was a sign of discontent over the pace of reform. While East European governments are actually grappling their way from the plan to the market, Soviet reformers still mark time. At the core of the problem is the inherent weakness of the government--in contrast to its counterparts in Poland, Czechoslovakia or Hungary. ...
  • Yeltsin's Challenge

    Back from the political dead, a scrappy iconoclast puts a scare into Mikhail (Gorbachev and confronts President Bush with an awkward dilemma ...
  • Was It Illness Or Immorality?

    From the time he admitted making a series of obscene phone calls last March to the home of a Virginia police officer and his wife, former American University president Richard Berendzen has been at the center of an intriguing psychiatric debate. Berendzen resigned his presidency and underwent intensive therapy at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, which helped him win a suspended sentence from the court. But some commentators felt he had been let off the moral hook too easily. Not least of the doubters was Susan Allen, the object of most of the bizarre phone calls. Appearing on ABC's "Nightline," she listened stonily as Berendzen and Dr. Paul McHugh, chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Medical School, told how he recalled being sexually abused as a child--a memory "triggered" at the funeral of his father, who died in the very room where the abuse occurred. That, Allen snorted, was no excuse. Berendzen may well have been sick, but he should have controlled himself. "Each time they [obscene...
  • A Season Of Sleaze In Tv News

    Tappy Phillips, ace reporter for New York's local "Eyewitness News," was hot in pursuit of a major homicide case. As the camera zoomed in on a New | York City detective, she grilled him about the stabbing death of a teenage girl found lifeless on a beach. Another preppy murder? A case of "wilding" redux? Not quite. The victim was Laura Palmer, the fictitious corpse of ABC's cult favorite "Twin Peaks." After 90 seconds of air time, the sleuth rendered his verdict: the killer had to be the father of Laura's boyfriend Bobby Briggs. ...
  • 'I Dreamed Our House Caught Fire'

    Like Cezanne with Mont Sainte-Victoire, Richard Ford has for a time explored a single landscape. In some of the stories collected three years ago in "Rock Springs," and now in his novel, Wildlife (177pages. Atlantic Monthly. $18.95), the place, the situation and the characters are very nearly the same. The place is Grand Falls, Mont., in 1960. In each story, the narrator is a 16-year-old boy whose young mother is involved in an affair. In one story the father is dead, but in the rest he's alive: likable, marginally employed, he can be pushed to violence. The interloping lover is, of course, a louse, but usually a louse of some complexity-and the mother's reaction to him, her cleareyed willingness to break with her past, makes these stories eloquent. Ford shows us the moment when human connections come apart. ...
  • Too Little And Too Late?

    Small flurries of panic buying began even before Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov delivered his speech. Then the flurries became a wave. Shoppers in Kiev raced from store to store last Friday, buying twice the usual amount of cooking oil, six times as much flour and eight times as much macaroni as they had purchased on an ordinary day. But those days ended abruptly when Ryzhkov made his announcement to the Soviet Parliament. The government proposed to double the price of food at the beginning of next year; bread prices would triple on the first of July. Angry miners spoke of a strike--possibly similar to the walkout that paralyzed Soviet industry last summer. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitaly Masol vowed his republic would "stand in firm opposition" to the Moscow plan--and even Mikhail Gorbachev failed to give it much of an endorsement. Within a single day Ryzhkov was left vulnerably alone, pleading with the public for "restraint and calm." ...
  • Christo's Latest

    Some people are going to say Japan is living up to its picky, no-fun stereotype. Christo, the Bulgarian-born artist who wrapped in fabric Paris's landmark bridge, Pont Neuf, five years ago, is planning to string 1,300 blue umbrellas across a Japanese valley and 1,700 yellow ones in California. But Japan, unlike California, has taken a regulatory stance and is requiring enough documentation to fill a Yellow Page-size binder. Christo, no stranger to red tape, is finding the Japanese overly fussy. But then, maybe wind-testing a 450-pound umbrella isn't such a bad idea.
  • The Bad News Bears

    When the stock market talks, everybody listens--even the frowning bad-news bears. The Dow Jones industrial average hit a new high in May, and most of the pessimists beat a retreat. Individual investors have been piling into stocks since December by buying stock-owning mutual funds. That may be bad news. Market lore says the public is always wrong. ...
  • It's Not Boring, It's High Concept

    ABC gets credit for renewing "'Twin Peaks," but blew it by nixing "Anything But Love." This is especially true given the interesting plots of next year's shows, including:(Zzz) Cop Rock, ABC A musical. Imagine cops inhaling jelly donuts, then bursting into arias. Bochco's chutzpah is appreciated, but c'mon.(Zzzzzzzzzzz) Baby Talk, ABC This spinoff of the uniquely dumb movie "Look Who's Talking" also features that comic impresario, Tony Danza, as the baby's voice.(Zzzzzz) Going Places, ABC "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was funny, but it had Dick Van Dyke. This one's about comedy writers writing a comedy show.(Zz) Fresh Prince of Bel Air, NBC Rapper plays a poor Philly kid dumped in moneytown. Sounds like "The Famous Teddy Z" with less Yiddish, more rhyming.PHOTO (COLOR): "Baby Talk'PHOTO (COLOR): "Fresh Prince'Subject Terms: TELEVISION programs
  • How Do Planes Differ From Buses?

    Guaranteeing that small children ride in safety--whether by airliner or school bus--hardly sounds like a controversial cause. Yet efforts to translate that desire into federal regulations have raised two hotly debated questions. Who should pay for the extra safety measures and would their costs really be worth their presumed benefits? ...
  • A Deadline For A Divorce

    Canadian Prime Minister Pierre, Trudeau surveyed the results of Quebec's referendum on independence and pronounced the separatism movement in his native province dead. But on the night of that defeat a decade ago, Rene Levesque who had led the raucous rebellion that brought Quebec to the brink of secession, took a different view. "A la prochaine, " he said. Until the next time. ...
  • Another Weapons Fiasco

    A mysterious Israeli weapons shipment that ended up in a Colombian drug lord's arsenal may have links to an aborted secret State Department effort to oust Manuel Noriega before the invasion. The curious tale is being unraveled by government investigators in Antigua, where the 500 Israeli weapons stopped in April 1989 before being transshipped to Colombia. The Israeli behind the shipment, mercenary Yair Klein, claims he was arming and training anti-Noriega exiles on Antigua. American intelligence officials deny any connection to the weapons that were found on the ranch of slain cocaine kingpin Rodriguez Gacha. But in May of 1988 the then assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams ordered $1 million from a Panamanian escrow account given to the exiles. Antigua's defense chief says he checked about Klein's training school with the CIA and got clearance. One congressional source blames Abrams--who did not return NEWSWEEK'S calls--for failing to keep close tabs on the operation.