Opinion and Analysis about Culture, Style, Fashion, Books, Entertainment and more. - Newsweek Life/Style

Culture

More Articles

  • Transcript: Near-Death Experiences

    The good news: millions of Americans know how to perform CPR. The bad news: when confronted with an apparent victim of cardiac arrest, most bystanders won't do it because it includes mouth-to-mouth breathing.Now Dr. Gordon Ewy, director of the University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center, is championing a new form of CPR called cardio-cerebral resuscitation, or CCR, which focuses on rapid, forceful chest compressions, about 100 per minute, minus the mouth to mouth. "Mouth to mouth inflates the lungs, but it's not the lungs that need oxygen, it's the heart and the brain," says Ewy. "Chest compressions alone will help save those organs."The Sarver researchers have developed two separate CCR protocols. Bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest are urged to perform chest compressions until help arrives. Paramedics are to attempt CCR for two minutes, before they use a defibrillator. Several Arizona fire departments have adopted the new approach. An analysis of that data shows survival rates...
  • Girls Gone Mild? A New Modesty Movement

    Consider the following style tips for girls: skirts and dresses should fall no more than four fingers above the knee. No tank tops without a sweater or jacket over them. Choose a bra that has a little padding to help disguise when you are cold. These fashion hints may sound like the prim mandates of a 1950s "health" film. But they are from the Web site of Pure Fashion, a modeling and etiquette program for teen girls whose goal is "to show the public it is possible to be cute, stylish and modest." Pure Fashion has put on 13 shows in 2007 featuring 600 models. National director Brenda Sharman estimates there will be 25 shows in 2008. It is not the only newfangled outlet for old-school ideas about how girls should dress: ModestApparelUSA.com, ModestByDesign.com and DressModestly.com all advocate a return to styles that leave almost everything to the imagination. They cater to what writer Wendy Shalit claims is a growing movement of "girls gone mild"—teens and young women who are...
  • Book Excerpt: Banville's 'The Sea'

    They departed, the gods, on the day of the strange tide. All morning under a milky sky the waters in the bay had swelled and swelled, rising to unheard-of heights, the small waves creeping over parched sand that for years had known no wetting save for rain and lapping the very bases of the dunes. The rusted hulk of the freighter that had run aground at the far end of the bay longer ago than any of us could remember must have thought it was being granted a relaunch. I would not swim again, after that day. The seabirds mewled and swooped, unnerved, it seemed, by the spectacle of that vast bowl of water bulging like a blister, lead-blue and malignantly agleam. They looked unnaturally white, that day, those birds. The waves were depositing a fringe of soiled yellow foam along the waterline. No sail marred the high horizon. I would not swim, no, not ever again.Someone has just walked over my grave. Someone.The name of the house is the Cedars, as of old. A bristling clump of those trees,...
  • Talk Transcript: Islam in America

    Lackawanna, N.Y., exudes the tranquility of old Americana. In its tidy rows of modest homes, neatly mowed lawns and mom & pop stores, there’s a feeling that everybody is a neighbor. Residents of the Buffalo suburb, perched on the shores of Lake Erie, are quick to boast of a long history of diversity and quiet, small-town living. Elders recall the days when everyone, regardless of ethnicity, earned the same wage at the local steel mill.But ever since the September 2002 arrest of six Yemeni-American men, who later pleaded guilty and were jailed for training in Al Qaeda terrorist camps, Lackawanna wants nothing more than to forget what happened on the rustier side of town, across the railroad tracks, in the heart of the Old Ward’s Muslim enclaves. The city’s residents—especially those in the tight-knit Yemenite community—take to the words “Lackawanna Six” like fingernails to a chalkboard. “Anytime anything happens, the Lackawanna Six story gets revived and repeated, even if an...
  • 'Hairspray' Problem: Segregation Wasn't Fun

    If you plan on reading any reviews of "Hairspray," the new movie musical that opens today, prepare to be soaked by the word "fun." And it’s a perfectly apt description: "Hairspray" is an energetic, crowd-pleasing musical set in the swinging ‘60s, so it’s replete with bouffants, sherbet-colored culottes and the dangerous, auspicious "race music" of the era. A game John Travolta dons a massive fat suit to play repressed Baltimore laundress Edna Turnblad, who’s overprotective of her dance-feverish daughter, Tracy (effervescent newcomer Nikki Blonsky.) Yeah, there’s fun all over the place. In fact, the only thing threatening to ruin all the fun is the pesky civil-rights movement, which, inconveniently, happens to be taking place around the same time.In the 1988 John Waters film (not a musical, but the basis for the 2002 Broadway musical from which the new film is adapted), the zaftig Tracy longs to be featured on "The Corny Collins Show," Baltimore’s No. 1 afternoon teen-dance show, but...
  • Ansen on 'Chuck and Larry'

    Adam Sandler knows his audience, wants to please his audience … and wants, in his just-one-of-the-guys way, to make them a little bit better than he suspects they are. Thus you have "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," directed by Dennis Dugan, a broad, sometimes wince-inducing comedy built on what is usually called homosexual panic (shouldn't it be heterosexual panic?). Sandler, who plays Chuck, a Brooklyn fireman and ladies man who has to pretend to be gay (for reasons we'll get to), encourages his audience to laugh at all the usual fag stereotypes while offering up an explicit and heartfelt plea for tolerance and diversity.Anyone who's followed Sandler's career knows that he's always slid gay-friendly subplots into his comedies, so no one should be surprised that "Chuck and Larry" comes out on the side of the angels. You could also predict, given his penchant for adolescent humor, that the comedy will pander to the lowest common denominator, if that means getting easy laughs...
  • Saying Goodbye to Harry Potter

    What a lot of commotion over a book. Not since 19th century New Yorkers anxiously crowded the Manhattan docks to be the first to discover the serialized fate of Dickens's Little Nell have people gotten so excited about fiction. And the scope of this frenzy might make even Dickens blush with envy.The camping out and queuing up to be the first in line as book stores started selling the last installment of the saga of Harry Potter at midnight Friday—the parties, the contests, the costumes—all this has happened before with the unveiling of each installment since the midnight sales started with the fourth volume. This time, though, the hoopla soared to unprecedented levels that not even the well-oiled publicity machinery of publishers could have ignited. For weeks now, the rumors have flown over the Internet: Harry lives! Harry dies! This week things reached a new pitch of excitement as books fell into the hands of eager fans despite the closely monitored embargo of the 12 million copies...
  • The Saudi 'Sex & and the City'?

    When Rajaa Alsanea’s “The Girls of Riyadh” hit bookstores in the Middle East in 2005, it caused a furor. Referred to by some as a “Sex and the City” for Saudi Arabia, the book delved into the social, romantic—and sometimes sex—lives of its four female characters. Published first in Lebanon—and published in the United States this month—the book almost immediately made its way to Saudi Arabia, where it was denounced by religious conservatives as immoral and hailed by reformists as a much-needed condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s restrictive society. Alsanea, 24 years old at the time, was propelled to stardom, making appearances on TV, receiving supportive phone calls from the royal family and an endorsement from no less a figure than the king’s labor minister and close adviser, Ghazi al-Gosaibi.“The Girls of Riyadh” explores the lives of four young women—Lamees, Sadeem, Gamrah and Michelle. Their stories are told by a narrator in a series of postings on an Internet chat room. The women,...
  • Evangelicals and the Vitter Effect

    By now, Washington has grown accustomed to its sex scandals. In the capital, obsessed with Iraq and the coming presidential election, the news that Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter’s phone number had turned up in possession of a D.C. escort service created a relatively modest stir. The press dutifully pointed out Vitter’s hypocrisy; a devout Catholic who has been an outspoken moralist, he was a vocal crusader for President Clinton’s impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, accusing Clinton of draining “any sense of values left in our political culture.” Vitter swiftly copped to the transgression via an e-mail to the AP. After rumors of other dalliances began cropping up in the New Orleans papers (he denied them), Vitter grimly took to the microphone, his embattled wife by his side, and, in an all-too-familiar D.C. ritual, apologies for letting his wife, friends and supporters down, then told the world he was pressing on with the people’s business.In political circles,...
  • Study: Zocor May Help Prevent Alzheimer's

    Who wouldn't love to find a drug to help prevent or at least delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease? It turns out that one may already exist. Dr. Benjamin Wolozin, professor of pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine, posted a study this week in the online journal BioMed Central Medicine showing that the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor (simvastatin) reduced the incidence of both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's by about 50 percent in a population of 4.5 million veterans over a three-year period. By comparison, two other statin drugs—Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Mevacor (lovastatin)—showed little or no effect.Before you rush to your doctor, be aware that it's too early to draw clinical recommendations from the new findings. This was a broad observational study rather than a gold-standard randomized clinical trial, in which all the variables are carefully controlled. "At least one, sometimes two, randomized clinical trials would be required before the FDA would approve...
  • Emmy Noms: Why 'Lost' Got Overlooked

    The two most talked-about television events of the past year were the final season of "The Sopranos," during which Tony Soprano either did or didn't die in the final seconds of the last episode, and the season finale of "Lost," which blew its audience's collective mind with (spoiler coming, sorry) a pre-crash, pre-island flashback that was actually—gotcha!—a post-crash, post-rescue flash-forward. When the 2007 Emmy nominations were announced at 5:30 a.m. in Los Angeles on Thursday morning, one of these shows was rewarded lavishly by the television academy, earning more nominations—15—than any other series, and the other show got snubbed, big time. The reasons why this happened reveal a lot about how the Emmys work, and a lot more about how they don't.The Emmys have always had a soft spot for nominating programs in their swan-song season, so no one was surprised when "The Sopranos" came up the big winner this year, earning nods for best drama series, best lead actor (James Gandolfini...
  • Activists: Dogfighting Nothing New

    Michael Vick's indictment on dogfighting charges has brought the cruel activity into the headlines this week. But animal-rights activists say the practice is nothing new, and is, in fact, growing in popularity.
  • The Real Story of the Lunch-Hour Boob Job

    Can you really get your breasts enlarged in your lunch hour? Here's the real story behind those reports--and a look at the research that could make fat your friend.
  • Books: How-To Help for Atheist Parents

    Parenting books are the most useless and irresistible kind of literature. Designed to prey on parents' insecurities, they draw you in with expert claims and then disappoint with their know-it-all tone and their failure to solve even a single one of the profound struggles of family life. Same with atheism books: the authors are supersmart and their arguments engaging, but they don't ultimately resolve doubt and you are left with the feeling of having failed to get with the program. The kids are wide awake at 10 p.m. and you're still not so sure you can rule God out completely.Here, then, is the last word in the useless and irresistible: a parenting book for atheists. "Parenting Beyond Belief," published in April by Amacom, a wing of the American Management Association, aims to help folks who are raising their kids without religion deal with the sticky questions that come up about Santa Claus and heaven, and it raises more serious concerns about how to bring up ethical, confident,...
  • Aging Country Stars Still Going Strong

    Slouching slightly in an easy chair as he watches ESPN, Porter Wagoner suggests a kindly grandfather. His voice has thickened with age, his pace slowed by an abdominal aneurysm that nearly killed him last year. But those lady-killer pale blue eyes sparkle as he leans forward, conspiratorially. "I used to run around a lot with women; I enjoyed that," he says. "I'm not really serious with anyone right now. I got some grandkids, and I'm kinda into them." At the moment he's watching NASCAR, relaxing a little before commanding the Grand Ole Opry stage to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a member of country music's most elite hall of fame. "You can always tell if a guy knows where his roots are," he says. "I like the real thing."At 79, Wagoner knows a little something about keeping it real. With 60-odd albums under his belt, he's just released another, "Wagonmaster," and later this month he'll open for the hottest act in rock: the White Stripes—at Madison Square Garden, no less. Wagoner...
  • Words and Terms in the News

    indelible (lasting; something that cannot be erased or washed away) “Indelible Love: My Son’s Tattoos and Me” astute (sharp and insightful) confounded (frustrated)“While I pride myself on being a rocker, baby-boomer mom (open-minded and astute like no other mom before me), I’m confounded by the rash, youth-driven choice that Alec has made—not just once, but repeatedly—and the permanency of it all.” aplomb (poise, confidence)“Was I wrong to have drilled into him the importance of being true to himself, relentlessly nudging him to be who he is, to rise about his inhibitions and face the world with aplomb?” hindsight (perception of an event after it has happened) “But, oh, the agony of hindsight: the woe of the ‘if I only knew then what I know now.’”
  • Teens and Antidepressants: Did Warnings Go Too Far?

    Seventeen-year-old Michael didn't want to end up crazed and suicidal like the Columbine killers. The Massachusetts teen had read that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were taking antidepressants when they rampaged murderously through their Colorado high school in 1999, and he didn't want to snap as they had. "He'd say it was like there was an evil guy on his left shoulder and a good guy on his right, but the evil guy just kept winning," Michael's mother, Lorraine, recalls. Despite his pain, Michael feared that antidepressants would "put him over the edge." Lorraine wasn't so sure. After consulting a specialist, she persuaded Michael in January to try Prozac, one of a family of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. By spring, the "good guy" was winning: Michael made the honor roll for the first time.Lorraine can't know for certain whether Prozac saved Michael's life, although she's convinced it did. These days, however, fewer parents or doctors are following...
  • The Men of Summer

    Is it weird that television's best new drama of the summer is on a channel called American Movie Classics? No more peculiar than MTV's thriving for years without playing much music, right? Besides, in the era of "The Sopranos," TV has revolutionized itself by often feeling more movie-ish than the movies. AMC, which reaches into more than 91 million homes, has never created its own scripted TV series. That'll change with the July 19 debut of "Mad Men," a stinging drama set in 1960 about Madison Avenue advertising executives that is so sumptuously filmed, you could turn down the volume and just watch the suits. But then you'd miss series creator Matthew Weiner's crackling dialogue, soaked with casual bigotry and sexism, evoking, he says, "this textured world where Kerouac and Ginsberg are writing while Eisenhower is in the White House." Weiner wrote the "Mad Men" pilot seven years ago, and it helped land him a gig on—whaddya know?—"The Sopranos." "It was my writing sample," he says....
  • Q&A: Lawyer for Abused Explains Church Payout

    The record $660 million settlement approved today by a Los Angeles judge ends a five-year legal battle between victims of abuse by Catholic priests and the nation’s largest Roman Catholic Archdiocese. The agreement came on the eve of civil trials that could have led to embarrassing public revelations—and put Cardinal Roger Mahony in the witness stand to explain personnel decisions in which pedophile priests were promoted, moved and protected for decades.  Together with earlier settlements, the L.A. Archdiocese has now agreed to pay $764 million, far in excess of the $157 million paid in Boston in 2003.Under the terms of the agreement, the settlement is divided among the 508 victims according to the severity of their cases. The church will pay $250 million, its insurance carriers $227 million, and religious orders who employed some of the priests will pay out $60 million. The source of the $123  million remains to be determined. It may come from the religious orders—who continue to...
  • Ansen Review: Latest 'Harry Potter' Never Takes Off

    Decidedly older, definitely angrier, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) goes through his darkest days in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." He has good reason to be both paranoid and rebellious. Dementors attack him on his school break, he's threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts, and The Daily Prophet, the official organ of the Ministry of Magic, calls him a liar for claiming that the evil Lord Voldemort has reappeared on the scene. Even Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) seems to distance himself from Harry. Making matters far, far worse, the smiling, pink-clad fascist, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), Hogwarts's new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, is transforming the school into a joyless, repressive prison for Harry and his friends.This description will be redundant to the millions of readers of the fifth installment of Harry's adventures—an 870-page epic that had to shed many pounds to squeeze into a two-and-a-quarter-hour movie. Those who have not read the book,...
  • Will: Sisyphus in the Senate

    Sen. Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, has not received the memo explaining that Congress can accomplish nothing in an election year or the year before one. He calls himself the Senate's designated driver, the one not running for president, so he has time to try legislating. He also is the Senate's Sisyphus, determined to roll the boulder of tax reform up Capitol Hill yet again.The fact that Wyden's proposal, the Fair Flat Tax Act, seems radical is a measure of how foolishness has become conventional. Today, as when tax reform was accomplished in 1986, the objectives are threefold—although Wyden stresses only two.One is simplification for its own sake. Americans spend an estimated 6.4 billion hours (more than the 6.3 million industrious people of Indiana work in a year) and more than $265 billion on compliance with a tax code that is six times longer than "War and Peace" (not counting 8 million words—20,000 pages—of regulations). And even with professional help, Americans cannot be...
  • Why Bush Gave Scooter Libby a Pass

    As is often the case in the Bush White House, it was a decision made swiftly, and with stealth. For weeks, allies of I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby had aggressively lobbied the president to pardon Dick Cheney's former chief of staff. Libby's powerful supporters—including major GOP fund-raisers like Florida developer Melvin Sembler, the chairman of his legal-defense trust—argued that Libby's conviction in March in the CIA leak case was a miscarriage of justice. Libby's allies pressed their argument with White House aides but got nowhere. George W. Bush's senior staff was under strict instructions: listen politely, but give away nothing about what the president might ultimately do.Behind the scenes, Bush was intensely focused on the matter, say two White House advisers who were briefed on the deliberations, but who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. Bush asked Fred Fielding, his discreet White House counsel, to collect information on the case. Fielding, anticipating...
  • My Turn: My Son's Tattoos and Me

    My 21-year-old son, Alec, has beautiful blue eyes, but the first thing people notice about him is his right arm. That's because waterfalls, big cats, Buddha and a host of Zen symbols cover the entire limb. No unmarked skin shows from his wrist to his shoulder.It started with the left wrist when he was 19—a tattoo of Tibetan Sanskrit wrapped around his lower, inner arm and finally peeking out just below his pinkie. By Christmas, three months later, his right shoulder was encircled with a large golden sun that hovers over a symphony of blues, reds and greens. Now Alec is known in our small New Jersey town as the guy with the tats.And I'm unhinged. While I pride myself on being a rocker, baby-boomer mom (open-minded and astute like no other mom before me), I'm confounded by the rash, youth-driven choice that Alec has made—not just once, but repeatedly—and the permanency of it all.At first, I cried. I yelled at him. I alternated between threats ("If you get one more tattoo, Dad and I...
  • Q&A With Rapper T.I.

    On the low, while the mainstream wasn't watching, 26-year-old Atlanta native “T.I.” (a.k.a. Clifford Harris) quietly and confidently stole the show from the more notable names in the rap game. His last album, “King,'' bowed only second to Jay Z's offering of “Kingdom Come” in sales and because of his steely good looks and no nonsense stance, Denzel Washington handpicked him to play a pivotal role in “American Gangster,'' the actor's next big film. But don't let Harris's innocent schoolboy profile fool you. In his latest album, “T.I. vs T.I.P.,'' the rapper boldly addresses what he considers to be the dual personalities that reside within him—and boy do they conflict. T.I. is the savvy businessman with major endorsements with car dealerships, a 2006 Grammy and two-picture deal with the film company New Line. On the other hand, “T.I.P.,” a nickname he acquired from his paternal great grandfather, is something of a hothead. At the ESPY awards pre-party in Los Angeles on Wednesday night...
  • Potter: OK to Spoil Ending?

    Todd Gitlin remembers a 1975 issue of The New Yorker as if it came out this week. Pauline Kael, the movie critic, reviewed Woody Allen's "Love and Death." But when Gitlin read the review he unexpectedly heard every funny joke. Now Gitlin avoids reviews, except the first paragraph, which he skims to see if the movie is good or not. "That experience actually changed my life," recalls Gitlin, who teaches ethics at the Columbia University School of Journalism.A lot has happened in the three decades since Gitlin had his epiphany, especially in the ways we get our news—the multiplicity of television stations and networks, the Internet and online news sites and bloggers. But the question hasn't changed: in an age where cultural happenings migrate from the arts section to the front page all the time, do journalists break the "news" about endings and plots if they know ahead of time? Put more bluntly, if we found out ahead of time how the final installment of "Harry Potter" turns out, should...
  • Smashing Pumpkins Not So Smashing

    Between Michael Bay’s impossibly awful "Transformers" movie, Thomas Harris’s "Hannibal Rising" and the inevitable debut of trans-fat free Chicken McNuggets, it seems lately that there’s no  shortage of opportunities to obliterate our positive associations with once-reliable brands. So credit Billy Corgan of the sorta-kinda reformed Smashing Pumpkins for picking an apt title for the band’s first new album in seven years: "Zeitgeist." Corgan’s new album accurately represents the term, which translates roughly from German into "the spirit of the time," by reanimating the band that brought him worldwide fame, only to tarnish its legacy with an album that renders itself unlikable by trying too hard to be liked.Corgan’s Achilles' heel has always been his need for approval. Following the band's ambitious, practically operatic major-label debut, "Siamese Dream," in 1993, he spent the next seven years taking the Smashing Pumpkins through the standard motions of muting their sonic palette as...
  • Music: Producer Joe Boyd Recalls the ‘60s

    Joe Boyd had one No. 1 single in his career as a record producer: Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis.” But if Boyd was never one to crank out a lot of chart toppers, he had something more valuable in the long run: a nearly infallible ear for talent. He was the first man to produce Pink Floyd and a pioneer in the field of world music. Musicians sought him out to produce their albums, as Boyd recalls in his new book, “White Bicycles,” a splendid account of music in the ‘60s that's packed with profiles and vignettes about Syd Barrett, Sandy Denny and even a wordless Dylan. As Boyd writes, "I was there and I do remember."A preppie from Princeton, N.J., with an ear for what we now call roots music, Boyd came of age in the early '60s, working at the Newport Folk Festival (and is ready to testify as an eyewitness that Pete Seeger did not try to take an ax to the cables powering Dylan’s famous debut as an electric artist), organizing jazz tours in Europe, where he settled, getting by...
  • My Turn: Finding God and Grace Among the Dying

    When I try to describe my work as a hospital chaplain I sometimes fall back on the line from the film “The Sixth Sense”: “I see dead people.” Not all the time, granted, but more than I'd ever seen before in my life.Death and dying are a natural part of life, and yet most of us are far removed from it; I know I was. Before I started this work a year ago, the only dead person I'd ever seen was my father. My time at a suburban hospital has shown me that death and dying come in as many forms as there are people and lifestyles. As someone told us in a hospital lecture on dying, "People pretty much die as they lived."People with dysfunctional families often die amid tumult. At times, family members are estranged, and the remaining parent and adult children may hurl angry words at one another over the lifeless corpse, as we hospital chaplains try to offer some form of comfort or coming together amid the flying barbs."I'm the bereaved one!" shouted one widow at the chaplain who showed...
  • Joycelyn Elders on the Clash of Politics, Science

    On Thursday, President Bush's nominee for surgeon general, Dr. James Holsinger, faced blunt questioning at his Senate confirmation hearing about how he would react if he were pressured to put politics before science. "I would resign," Holsinger said.If history is any indication, he's likely to be tested on that promise. Earlier in the week, three former surgeons general—including Dr. Richard Carmona, the most recent occupant of that august office—testified before Congress that he felt intense political pressure. Carmona, who left office in July, said that the Bush administration had delayed his reports and changed his speeches on controversial issues such as smoking and stem cells. "Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," he testified. That came as no surprise to Joycelyn Elders, who served as surgeon general from 1993 to 1994 under President Bill Clinton; she was asked to step...
  • The Asian-American Trollope

    Min Jin Lee’s ambitious debut novel, "Free Food for Millionaires," has been showered with praise by literary critics. Lee’s protagonist, Casey Han, is the daughter of Korean drycleaners who tries to reconcile her immigrant upbringing with the privileged Manhattan lifestyle that her Princeton education has promised her. Skillfully manipulating multiple points of view, Lee reveals the intricacies of New York’s caste system while having Casey navigate her career (banking versus hatmaking), love, family obligations, money and belief.Lee, 38, a former lawyer and stay-at-home mother, had a circuitous journey to authorhood. Since deciding to write 12 years ago, she faced rejections from The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Knopf and also attempted three prior novels, none of which were published. Now, critics compare her to Jane Austen and George Eliot. She spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Charlene Dy. ...
  • Starr: Soccer’s Cinderella Team

    I am of the persuasion that believes rivalry is the lifeblood of sports. As a Bostonian, I am particularly partial to Red Sox-Yankees, but I have no lack of respect for Ohio State-Michigan (on the gridiron) Duke-UNC (on the hardwood) BU-BC (on the ice), Federer vs. Nadal and Tiger vs. the field. Whatever stirs your juices is fine by me.One of the burgeoning rivalries bordering on a blood feud that always stirs my juices is our very own U.S. soccer lads vs. Mexico. Most of the passion surrounding this rivalry is, not surprisingly, delivered from south of the border. Mexican fans are distressed if not totally crazed about the recent turn of events on the soccer pitch. They cannot believe that the damn Yanquis have actually supplanted their country as soccer’s numero uno in this Central America/North America/Caribbean region.It is hard to imagine a moment of greater despair for Mexican fans than when the United States earned a quarterfinal berth in the 2002 World Cup by booting Mexico...
  • Book Excerpt: Elmore Leonard's 'Up in Honey's Room'

    Honey phoned her sister-in-law Muriel, still living in Harlan County, Kentucky, to tell her she’d left Walter Schoen, calling him Valter, and was on her way to being Honey Deal again. She said to Muriel, “I honestly thought I could turn him around, but the man still acts like a Nazi. I couldn’t budge him.”“You walked out,” Muriel said, “just like that?”“I valked out,” Honey said. “I’m free as a bird. You know what else? I won’t have to do my roots every two weeks. Dumb me, I spent a whole year wanting him to think I’m a natural blonde.”“He couldn’t tell other ways you aren’t?”“Anytime Walter wanted some, he’d turn out the light before taking off his pajamas. He was self-conscious about being skinny, his ribs showing, so it was always pitch-dark when we did it. He said American food, all it did was give him gas. I had to learn to cook German, big heavy dinners, sauerbraten with red cabbage, bratwurst. For the ?rst time in my life I had to watch my weight.Walter didn’t gain at all. He...
  • Inside Roswell's Competing UFO Festivals

    This is what happens when a flying saucer crashes in your town: the little green men are, well, little and green, but also purple, blue, yellow and black. Some wear dark capes and rubbery masks. Some hold Super Soakers in lieu of death rays. Others wear diapers instead of pants. One is dressed like a ballerina. Another just turned his Halloween costume inside out.These extraterrestrials are children participating in an "alien costume contest” inside a McDonald’s in Roswell, N.M., as part of the city’s 2007 Amazing Roswell UFO Festival. “Everybody," says George Byrne, a longtime Roswell resident, as he watches his grandchildren prance around the McDonald’s playground in their alien costumes, “needs a gimmick.”This city has a good one. This year’s edition of the city’s annual four-day festival, which began July 5, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Roswell Incident, in which military officials from nearby Roswell Army Air Field announced that a “flying disc” had crashed into a...
  • Cleaning Up the Tour de France

    This year's Tour de France is going to be different. At least, that's the line professional cycling is pushing. Two weeks ago, the International Cycling Union (UCI) asked riders to sign an antidoping charter before the start of this year's three-week stage race, which begins Saturday. If found guilty of doping, riders agree to pay the ICU the equivalent of a year's salary in addition to serving the standard two-year suspension from cycling. Tour organizers insist that any rider who does not sign cannot start the race.You can almost hear cycling fans the world over breathing a resounding sigh of "So what?” Doping has long been as inextricable a part of the culture as shaven legs and skinny tires. But Lance Armstrong’s domination of the Tour attracted a worldwide audience, and with that audience came more money—and increased scrutiny. Now, with sponsors threatening to defect to less volatile (if less dramatic) sports, cycling’s governing bodies have been forced to react publicly. And...
  • New Book Celebrates America's Show Tunes

    Let’s begin with a few things that critic and novelist Wilfrid Sheed leaves out of his book about the American popular song circa mid-20th century: “Peach Pickin’ Time in Georgia,” “Miss the Mississippi and You,” “Right or Wrong,” “San Antonio Rose,” “Stormy Monday,” “Smokestack Lightning,” “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again,” “I Can’t Help It if I’m Still in Love With You,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “Crazy” and “Stagger Lee.” All of those songs were written or sung to wide acclaim in the period that Sheed covers, roughly the time between the two world wars with a 10-year slop over either way. Sheed makes a point of saying that he’s not trying to be encyclopedic, that he’s writing specifically about something he calls the jazz song, a concept that he never really pins down. To speed things along, let’s just say show tunes, which to Sheed are pretty much the end all and be all of American songs. It’s what he grew up listening to, and don’t we all love what we loved when we were young?...
  • Auditioning for 'Big Brother'

    Of all the nice people I meet at the "Big Brother" auditions last spring, my favorite contestant is a woman named Emillan. She arrives for her big date with Hollywood dressed from head to toe in black lingerie, which she purchased for $200 from Frederick's of Hollywood. "I work in the sex industry," Emillan tells me. Really? How? Actually, Emillan holds three different jobs. "I'm a stripper. I'm a foot-fetish model—that's where I make money—and I specialize in domination." Really? How? OK, I'll spare you the details. I ask Emillan if she has any reality TV experience. "I auditioned for 'Coyote Ugly,' where they were looking for a bartender/singer, but I didn't make that. My friend told me I was sneaky and conniving and I'd be perfect for this." It's settled. If I make it into the "Big Brother" house and so does Emillan, we're definitely forming an alliance.Tonight marks the eighth season of what I think is the greatest reality TV show of all time. "Survivor" has its rats and ...
  • Q&A With Enrique Iglesias

    The world's best-selling Spanish music artist, on his way to Live Earth, holds forth on Al Gore, performing in a gay club, 'Insomnia'—his new album and the real thing—and sleeping pills.
  • Ornish: Stop Stress-Related Weight Gain

    New studies show that stress not only makes you gain weight, but it affects what you eat and even where you pack on those extra pounds. What you can do to stop it.
  • Autism: Earliest Diagnosis Ever

    A new study finds that autism can be identified at around 14 months, much earlier than previously thought. How early diagnosis can improve outcomes.
  • Remembering Beverly Sills

    The late Beverly Sills, a peerless soprano, did everything she could—and there wasn't much she couldn't do—to make people fall in love with opera
  • Q&A: Hugh Dancy on 'Evening', Clare Danes

    Is Hugh Dancy the next Hugh Grant? The 32-year-old British actor has been pegged as the next big thing in Hollywood. He just completed a successful run on Broadway in "Journey's End," as the lead, Capt. Stanhope (a role that Laurence Olivier originated). He has four movies out this year, including "The Jane Austen Book Club," based on the recent book. In his latest drama, "Evening," Dancy plays Buddy Wittenborn, a rich New Englander who is dating the film's heroine, Ann. In real life, Dancy is now dating the actress who played Ann, Claire Danes. He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh. ...