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  • Hackers Of The World, Unite!

    As the Feds widen their crackdown on computer tampering, some pioneers of the industry have joined to defend freedom of the keyboard ...
  • We Have Met The Enemy

    When Mick Jagger sang (in "Sympathy for the Devil") that "every cop is a criminal," he was being arty. But the hero cops in three new true crime books might admit he had a point--though not because they buy this stuff about the yinyangness of it all. Cops and criminals each need to know how the other thinks. And since both crime families and police recruit mainly from the working class, they share a common language and culture. "Let's get drunk," N.Y.P.D. detective Vincent Murano tells a prospective informant in his book Cop Hunter (320 pages Simon and Schuster. $19.95) "Let's get some pizza and have a lot of beers and relax and talk about this thing. I don't particularly like those people up there. I certainly don't like the D.A. from Brooklyn. I think he's got a hard-on for you." These intimate enemies trust each other to play by the rules. (Neither side, for instance, may conduct summary executions against the other.) When someone violates that tacit trust, business as usual is...
  • Paley's 'Hail Mary Pass'

    William Paley, 88-year-old founder of CBS, last year tried to revolutionize the beleaguered network, only to be told, gently, that he can no longer shape the institution he created. ...
  • 'Major League Mud Fight' Over The S&L Fiasco

    Attending a street fair in his Brooklyn district, New York Rep. Charles Schumer couldn't walk five feet without someone collaring him about the savings and loan bailout. In Rep. Dick Armey's suburban Texas district, voters are "just furious," says an aide. "They think these big-money guys got away with murder." As the cost of the S&L fiasco keeps climbing--$200 billion, $300 billion, maybe even $500 billion--angry voters are beginning to blame the politicians. The politicians, not surprisingly, are blaming one another. The fall elections, says a Republican operative, are shaping up as a "major league mud fight" over the scandal. ...
  • Fine Art Or Foul?

    The Rev. Donald Wildmon stood one day in the Galleria dell' Accademia in Florence contemplating Michelangelo's "David." What he saw was a figure in white marble, towering 14 feet above him. What he felt was awe. He felt different the day he saw Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ," a photo of a plastic crucifix immersed in urine--and learned that the National Endowment for the Arts had indirectly supported the artist. "Congress has enough sense to give money to fund art, but they don't have enough sense to know what kind of art they are funding," he thought. "That's weirdo." ...
  • A Slow Slide Toward War?

    Civilians would have been the target," George Bush said last week, explaining his decision to break off talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the wake of a failed Palestinian terrorist raid on Israel's coastline. The suspension was meant to underscore U.S. abhorrence of terrorism. But it also reflected a deeper concern: in the tinderbox of the Middle East, such a raid could lead to conflagration. What if the May 30 attack had succeeded and taken scores of civilian lives? Would Israel take revenge by attacking Libya, an apparent sponsor of the raid? Would Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi call on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to keep his promise to retaliate on behalf of his Arab brothers? Iraq might launch just "a few missiles" against Israeli targets, says Israeli terrorism expert Ariel Merari. Israel would be forced to respond. "Then you have a war," Merari says. "In the Middle East ... when the atmosphere is so belligerent, you don't need much." ...
  • Someone's Last Hurrah

    The Communist Party official has six telephones on his desk, a traditional sign of rank in Moscow. They used to ring constantly with calls from the party's Central Committee. But no one there has called him in the three months since Mikhail Gorbachev began shifting power from the party to a new executive presidency. The official is so bitter about being cut out of the decision-making process that he breaks longstanding Soviet practice and criticizes his party leader by name to a foreign visitor. "Gorbachev is now a one-man show," he says. "He and a few personal advisers make all the decisions." The visitor asks for examples of botched decisions. "Show me where something is working right these days," the official replies. ...
  • Rjr Tries To Salvage Its Junk

    Was it only last year that financier Henry Kravis and his partners borrowed a whopping $28 billion to buy R JR Nabisco in the biggest leveraged buyout in history? It seems like an age--namely, the age of excessive debt. Now, only 17 months later, the landscape is littered with casualties of overborrowing--Robert Campeau, Merv Griffin, Donald Trump. Kravis, whose name became synonymous with leveraged buyouts in the go-go 1980s, seems determined to avoid the same fate. Adapting to the pay-as-you-go 1990s, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is planning to put IWR on a sounder financial footing. The firm indicated that it would I plow $1 .7 billion of new equity into the food and tobacco giant and retire some $4 billion of high-yield junk bonds. Said a Shearson Lehman Hutton trader, "It's the official end of the junk-bond era." ...
  • A Home Away From Home

    Every morning except Sundays, Dorothy Frutiger kisses her husband, Dick, goodbye and watches as he boards the van to the Cedar Acres Adult Day Care Center in Janesville, Wis. It's a long drive--30 miles--and Dick spends the time chatting with the other passengers who are still able to respond. Lately, he's taken to consoling a younger man, an Alzheimer's victim like himself, who doesn't like the idea of adult day care. A lot of the conversation seems nonsensical; some sentences stop in midthought. But the effort helps keep their minds active. And what is the alternative? Though he's only 62, Dick Frutiger would be watching TV in a nursing home if not for Cedar Acres. "He gets better care there than he would at home," says Dorothy, 58, who works full time as a typesetter. ...
  • Piece De Resistance

    On June 18,1940, Gen. Charles de Gaulle launched the valiant French Resistance movement with a stirring radio broadcast from London, urging French people to continue the struggle against the Nazi forces. Last week France marked the 50th anniversary of the broadcast with a startling temporary monument in Paris. A team of 21 artists painted a gigantic replica of the popular 1940s DucretetThomson radio and wrapped the canvas around the renowned Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. World War II speeches poured from nearby speakers--and then the creation was dismantled, and the radio days were over.
  • To Russia, With Movie Deals

    The movie is pure Hollywood thriller, complete with a leaking nuclear reactor, panicking townspeople and an allstar cast, including Jon Voight and Jason Robards. But as filming began last month on "The Final Warning," a re-creation of the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, the real drama was the choice of location. Cast and crew assembled before a nuclear plant in Kruchatov, 300 miles south of Moscow. In an unprecedented deal made possible by glasnost, the Soviet government has teamed with Carolco--best known, ironically, for financing the anti-communist Rambo pictures--to make the $4 million movie for Turner Network Television. ...
  • Not-So-Square Squires

    In the peerage of pop, British rocker Roger Daltrey is already royalty. Beyond the bandstand, though, the lead singer for The Who has found a place in an entirely separate Who's Who: he's become a country gentleman. The good Mr. Daltrey is the proud owner of a comfortable estate near the English village of Burwash--and not shy about it. For a recent American Express ad, he strolled around his private lake doing the famous, "Do you know me?" routine dressed in a Barbour jacket, cloth hat and Wellingtons. "I run this trout fishery," says the man who made millions singing "We won't get fooled again." He then makes his way . . . not to a limo, but a Land Rover. ...
  • Bad Time For Terrorists

    Colleagues at East Germany's People's Geothermic Enterprise knew the nondescript record keeper as "Dieter Lenz." During seven years in the plant's record-keeping department, Lenz worked odd hours and kept to himself. But the quiet 31-year-old allegedly had a violent past. Last week East German police took him away in handcuffs. They charged that he is really Henning Beer, a top entry on West Germany's most-wanted list as a suspected member of the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist gang. He was one of 10 RAF suspects arrested in East Germany in the last two weeks. A German investigative reporter noticed that during three RAF attacks, including the murder of Deutsche Bank chairman Alfred Herrhausen last fall, Dieter Lenz happened to be on vacation. ...
  • How The West Was Tamed

    As Petruchio, Morgan Freeman is a true cowboy suitor in the New York Shakespeare Festival's frontier version of "The Taming of the Shrew." The production, set in the old Southwest, began previews in Central Park last week. Ever the deadeye, Freeman uses a lasso to tame the prairie virago Kate (Tracey Ullman). "She's someone I know," says Ullman. "She's 40, intelligent, witty but has no man because there's no one to match her." Freeman "may think he's tamed me," she adds, "but I don't think he really has."
  • Mandela

    At a historic crossroads in Harlem Nelson Mandela staked his claim. One by one, he invoked the black heroes and martyrs whose words had echoed there before him: Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. There were perhaps 100,000 people pressed against the barricades, filling the streets in all four directions from the platform, and the roar swelled louder as each of the great names sounded. "I am here to claim you because ... you have claimed our struggle," Mandela said. "Harlem signifies the glory of resistance. We are on the verge of victory ... Death to racism! " That brought the loudest roar of all, a mighty ovation in the gathering dusk.With his regal bearing, his smiling serenity and his unbroken spirit after 27 years in South African prisons, Mandela was an authentic heir to the heroes' mantle. And in New York last week, the Harlem rally, a ticker-tape parade, a United Nations address and an ecstatic, chanting celebration in...
  • An Unusual Call From A Listener

    Geraldo should jump all over this one. During a radio talk show in New Orleans last week, noted sex therapist Dr. Judith Kuriansky instructed a female caller to give her inattentive husband "a real big ultimatum to push him off his chair." To which the caller replied, "Why don't you take your hand and push him off the chair. He's sitting two feet from you." The caller was Marilou Hunter, wife of the show's host, Ron Hunter. That night Marilou, 32, was fatally shot as she lay in bed with her husband. Hunter, 51, told police he awoke to find his wife bleeding from a self-inflicted chest wound. Beside her was Hunter's gun. For the record, Marilou accused Ron of physical abuse in one of the two separation suits she filed in the last two years. Hunter denied the claim and said she beat him. No charges have been filed in the death, pending a coroner's report, expected soon.
  • Taking Up Arms Against Aids

    Police riot squads are not a common sight at scientific meetings. But the Sixth International Conference on AIDS, held in San Francisco last week was special. Activists--many of whose lives now depend on the pace of scientific progress--were expected to outnumber the 12,000 conference delegates by 10 to one. The activists were angry, and local officials braced for the worst. In addition to the usual dining and sightseeing tips, the press kits handed out to arriving reporters included a letter from the chief of police, explaining what to do "if you find yourself within a group of demonstrators that is to be dispersed by crowd control officers" and "circumstances do not permit escape." ...
  • 'When You're Serious, Call Us'

    It was meant to shock, and it did. Needled by a congressman who blamed President Bush for the collapse of the Middle East "peace process," Secretary of State James Baker last week delivered a U.S. administration's sharpest public rebuke to an Israeli government since the 1966 Suez crisis. First he detailed how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir scuttled his own peace plan and brought down the misnamed "national unity" government in March by balking at a compromise formula for talks with Palestinians. Baker complained that Israel's new right-wing government was posing more obstacles to talks. Then he offered the White House phone number: 1-202-456-1414. "When you're serious about peace, call us," he said. ...
  • Matchup

    She is not a nightmare yet," said Steffi Graf of 16-year-old Monica Seles, but Seles is certainly waking up women's tennis. With her double-fisted, double-grunting style, the young Yugoslavian beat Graf in straight sets at the French Open, becoming the youngest to win the title. She's even challenging Graf in the glamour department. But when Wimbledon begins next week, the sweatbands go back on.
  • No More Cash

    Soviet citizens are finding it easier to travel abroad, but an upcoming government ruling may cramp their style once they reach their destinations. This summer, Moscow will stop providing up to $200 to travelers at the tourist exchange rate (6.2 rubles for $1). The service is indispensable since it's illegal to take rubles outside the country, but Moscow can't afford the cash outflow any more. Future travelers will have to rely on the generosity of foreign friends and relatives because they'll be penniless when they arrive.
  • Value Judgments

    With the exception of veterans and schoolchildren, few Americans normally pause to I observe Flag Day. But this year the nation's attention was riveted on Old Glory. Last week the Supreme Court struck down a federal flag protection law, ruling 6 to 4 that although the desecration is offensive, it is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. "Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering," Justice William Brennan wrote for the majority. George Bush, who rode into office wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, immediately issued a call for a constitutional amendment banning desecration of the flag. As the GOP leadership jumped on the bandwagon--and Democrats played for time--amendment legislation began advancing through Congress. A House floor vote could come this week--the initial step in the campaign to alter the Bill of Rights for the first time in its 199-year history (page 18). ...
  • Barry: The Mayor's Last-Ditch Strategy?

    My ego is gone now," said Washington Mayor Marion Barry last week. "There was a time ... I would have said, "I don't care if I get five votes, I'm going to run'." While jury selection for his trial on 14 perjury and cocaine-related charges continued, Barry, 54, went into a television studio to record a 12-minute speech. The mayor's message: he would not seek a fourth term this fall. When the speech was broadcast, it settled one burning question. But Barry's withdrawal raised new speculation about his upcoming trial, the mayoral campaign--and the volatile race relations in the nation's capital. ...
  • The Blockbuster Game

    Looking for exciting action, expensive stunts and daredevil risks this summer movie season? Skip the local multiplex. Why not go behind the gates of Paramount Pictures, where a compelling drama is unfolding inside the studio's executive suites. For most of the 1980s Paramount reigned as Hollywood's top-grossing studio, but declining output and disappointments like "Harlem Nights" and "We're No Angels" dropped the studio to fifth place in market share in 1989. Now Paramount is spending big in an effort to recapture its audience. It's put up some $200 million on a handful of sequels and quasisequels that, management predicts, will help propel the studio back to glory. Among the hoped-for hits: the Tom Cruise stock-car film "Days of Thunder" ($45 million), "Flight of the Intruder," a $27 million techno-thriller made by "The Hunt for Red October" team, and Francis Ford Coppola's long-awaited "The Godfather Part III" ($50 million). ...
  • A Mixed Bag For Summer

    Schlock queen Danielle Steel says she wrote this novel of the Vietnam War despite her fear of offending "those who lived it." It probably is sleazy to use a national nightmare as backdrop for a trash best seller. Yet no one minds romances of the antebellum South; Steel's "Message from Nam" (Delacorte. $21.95)needbe taken no more seriously. You know the plot: heroine beds A and B, then finds true love with unlikely C. Just because C is an MLA (A and B die in combat) doesn't mean this book says anything about the war. Though Steel does try: "There were four hundred thousand American boys in Vietnam ... and nothing made sense anymore."The heroine is a "journalist," but we never see her at work. Here, complete, is the tale of her interviewing Lt. William Calley about My Lai: "The interview with him had been brief, and in some ways very painful." And after 26 of these novels, Steel can't write a sex scene. "She responded to him as she never had to anyone," goes a typically soft-focus...
  • Thoughts On Mayor Barry

    What do Genghis Khan, Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover and D.C. Mayor Marion Barry have in common? We don't have all day, so I will tell you: they all were / are historic figures who did some good along with their much more famous bad and thus are a pain in the neck to analyze. ...
  • No Bailout For Gorb?

    It now seems very unlikely that a "Second Marshall Plan" for the Soviet Union will be approved at next month's economic summit in Houston. At a final strategy session last week, West German foreign-policy adviser Horst Teltschik urged his fellow "sherpas"--the advisers from the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and the European Community, who are carrying the load for summit planning--to back a $20 billion bailout for Mikhail Gorbachev. Bonn, Teltschik said, was willing to bear more than its share of the burden for payments to maintain Soviet troops in East Germany and credit guarantees for the crumbling Soviet economy. In Bonn's view, the plan would ensure Soviet support for keeping Germany in NATO--and help keep Gorbachev in control. Washington argued it couldn't afford the plan and the others argued that a heavy investment at this time would be risky because of uncertainty about Gorbachev's future.
  • Aids The Next Ten Years

    A sense of crisis is hard to sustain. It thrives on earthquakes and tornadoes, plane crashes and terrorist bombings. But forces that kill people one at a time have away of fading into the psychic landscape. So, if you've stopped thinking of AIDS as an emergency, consider a few numbers. In 1984, when scientists identified the virus that causes the illness, fewer than 4,500 Americans had been stricken. Today more than 3,000 cases of AIDS are reported every month in this country; the total tops 130,000. An estimated 1 million Americans are infected with the virus--and by the end of the decade, most of those people will be sick. ...
  • A Musical Homecoming

    The Marsalis family, which threatens to corner the jazz market the way the Hunts once tried to dominate silver, has a new project: "The Resolution of Romance," on which trumpeter Wynton pairs with his father, Ellis, a revered New Orleans pianist. Wynton says the new recording represents his coming to grips with the standard jazz repertoire. For father and son, the 21-song set is also a musical homecoming: it is the first time the two have recorded together.
  • The Lost Picture Show

    As great paintings keep slipping from the grasp of museums into private collections, the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth last week announced a stunning turnabout. From an unnamed source, the museum purchased Thomas Cole's "The Garden of Eden," a painting unseen in public since 1831 and never photographed until now. America's first great landscapist, Cole wanted to prove he was "no mere leaf painter" by depicting Eden as a distinctly New World glory. Drawing on Milton's poetic descriptions and on his own nature studies (the mountain in the background is Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire), he finished the picture just in time for the National Academy of Design's 1828 spring show. Shortly afterward, it sold for $400. Although the Amon Carter won't divulge the price, this example of what Cole called "a heavenly atmosphere in the pictures of the imagination" would bring millions on the open market. Let's hope we never find out exactly how much.
  • Madonna: From Boy Toy To Breathless

    In Madonna's stark video of her hit "Express Yourself," she struts around in a man tailored suit, grabbing her crotch and singing about female power: don't settle for second best in men, "if the time isn't right, then move on." Then the scene switches: a nude Madonna is chained to a bed, a dog collar around her neck, as a man takes her in his arms and they kiss. The end. In psychologist Lynne Layton's class on popular culture at Harvard University, the students are torn: is Madonna sending a feminist message? Or is she dusting off the old story of boy-ravishes-girl? If Madonna were in the class, she'd laugh. The video has no real meaning; her signals are always mixed. The message is simply, look at Madonna. ...
  • An Archbishop Rattles A Saber

    Excommunication is the harshest penalty the Roman Catholic Church can use to discipline wayward public figures. It bars them from all the sacraments except for penance and brands them as figures who, by their actions, have cut themselves off from the spiritual community of the church. Generally, excommunication is reserved for notorious heretics, schismatics and Catholic rulers who persecute the church. But last week, in a 19,000-word discourse published in his own archdiocesan newspaper, New York's Cardinal John J. O'Connor warned that "bishops may consider excommunication" as a last disciplinary resort against Catholic politicians who help to "multiply abortions by advocating legislation supporting abortion, or by making public funds available for abortion." O'Connor immediately denied that he had any particular politicians in mind, but there were at least a dozen New York office holders, beginning with Gov. Mario Cuomo, who fit the cardinal's categories. ...
  • Mob Rule In Romania

    Bucharest was a battlefield once more. Police moved to disperse a small antigovernment rally in a downtown square last week, and protesters replied with stones, then fire. The government matched force with force. When protesters stormed Romania's lone television station thousands of club-wielding coal miners were brought in to quell the "fascist rebellion. " The miners beat anyone suspected of opposing the regime, punching a young man to the ground for having long hair and whipping a woman with chains after finding an antigovernment leaflet in her bag. ...
  • Cloudy Future

    It's hard to keep Patrick Ewing earthbound. In "The Exorcist III: Legion," the "official" sequel to the head-spinning original, the basketball whiz has a silent cameo role as an oversize angel. The seven-foot Ewing appears in George C. Scott's dream about the afterlife. And if his acting career doesn't take off? Well, he still has his job as the demon center for the New York Knicks.
  • Panama's High-Profile Proconsul

    Ambassador Deane R. Hinton is eating waffles on his veranda overlooking Panama City. At 7:30 on a tropical morning, a hint of coolness seeps from the house through half-open glass doors. In the middle distance, birds wheel above the high-rise skyline. In other cities they might be sea gulls. Here they are vultures. Decaying, corrupt and vital to U.S. interests: this is Deane Hinton's kind of country. ...
  • S&Ls: Blaming The Media

    Who's to blame for the savings and loan scandal? The owners and regulators of the industry have had their turn, in a new Hotline poll, the public faults both George Bush (by 59 percent) and Congress (64 percent). Now, inevitably, anger is building at the media for failing to sound clear warnings about the worst financial mess in the nation's history. That failure is "a scandal in itself," concludes Ellen Hume, executive director of Harvard's Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, and there should be "embarrassment and soul-searching at the highest levels of journalism." ...
  • Gorbachev Takes Out His Federalist Papers

    One nation or 15? Confronting his nationalities crisis last week, Mikhail Gorbachev tried to have it both ways. In order to preserve the Soviet Union, he proposed to dismantle it, replacing the present arrangement with a new, looser federation in which the current Soviet republics would have the rights of "sovereign states." The danger in Gorbachev's gambit was that his central government might end up presiding over an empty house. ...
  • Sub Deal

    Colorado Sen. Tim Wirth learned on a recent trip to South Korea that the Soviet Union has made a deal in which three Soviet Whiskeyclass subs will be scrapped in South Korea. The payment for the scrap? Several products, including running shoes and toothbrushes. . . . House members are scrambling for a way to get around paying staffers overtime. Congressional aides were exempt from overtime until the new minimum-wage act last year. This fall they will be entitled to it. Worried that overtime pay will balloon payroll costs, Pennsylvania Rep. Austin Murphy is proposing "comp time"-or extra days off-in lieu of cash.
  • Buzzwords

    Executive headhunters have their own vocabulary--and it's not always flattering to the job candidates: On the beach Unemployed, so harder to place. Class A, Class B Class A, the best candidate, a.k.a. a "walking fee." Class B is as it sounds. Stalking horse Class B candidate: sent to a prospective employer to make the Class A candidate look even better. Positioning Getting the client firm focused on the right candidate. Usage: "Let's send in a couple of stalking horses and then we'll have them positioned for the walking fee." Knockout A mistake that instantly knocks a candidate out of contention. Examples: Being too enthusiastic about a job or demeaning one's current employer.
  • The Junk Kings Auction Off Their Junk

    It was a bargain hunter's dream. "Over 2,000 offices!" exclaimed the auction ad. "Private offices including high-quality desks with matching credenzas, leather sofas ... exquisite corporate board & conference rooms . . . hundreds of tastefully appointed managerial & secretarial offices!" Even the kitchen sink--or, to be exact, "five complete corporate cafeterias." ...
  • The Trump Debt Crisis

    Remember this bit of history? Flush with petrodollars, the big U.S. banks loaned lavishly to Latin American and other Third World countries in the 1970s. As oil and commodity prices dropped, countries like Mexico and Brazil couldn't pay back the loans. So the banks threw more money at them, hoping the problem would somehow work itself out. Instead the countries just got mired in a deeper hole, and so did the banks. ...
  • Euro-Manners

    Here's a fresh angle on the New Europe. French extreme rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen and an associate swapped insults, spittle and blows to the groin last week with a Belgian socialist in the cafeteria of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The brawl erupted after Robert Krieps, a socialist from Luxembourg, asked a group of lunching right-wingers if a speech that morning by Nelson Mandela had ruined their appetites. "Who's this dog?" asked Le Pen, according to press reports. Jose Happart, a Belgian socialist accompanying Krieps, told Le Pen to "go to hell." Le Pen spat at Happart and the brawl ensued.
  • Pam's Bash

    It's LIVE FROM THE KENNEDY CENTER with Pamela Harriman! Plus Crosby, Stills and Nash, Gladys Knight, Rodney Crowell, the Gypsy Kings and "Saturday Night Live's" Dana Carvey doing his impersonation of George Bush. Harriman hopes to raise $1.2 million for the Democratic Party with a gala at the center this week. Harriman sought advice from singer Paul Simon. who suggested SNL producer Lorne Michaels. "I have a background in the theater and lots of friends," says Harriman. The center had been off-limits to political fund raising until last year, when President Bush and the GOP changed the rules. Now Democrats have the stage.
  • Here Come The Mob And Van Gogh

    What's hot in Hollywood now that "Dick Tracy" has been released? The mob is making a big comeback. The making of"The Godfather, Part III" has been well reported, but there are at least four other gangster films in production: "Miller's Crossing," with Albert Finney; "GoodFellas," a Martin Scorsese film, starring Robert De Niro, based on "Wiseguy" by Nick Pileggi "The Krays," about twin hoods who terrorized Britain in the 1960s, and "State of Grace" (its working title), with Sean Penn and Ed Harris. U.S. fans can also look forward to a rush of foreign films about Vincent van Gogh, honoring this year's 100th anniversary of his death. Among them: "Vincent & Theo," a Robert Altman movie already shown on European TV; "Vincent and Me," a Canadian film about a 12-year-old girl's sketches sold to the Japanese as van Gogh's newly discovered childhood drawings, and Akira Kurosawa's "Dreams," featuring director Scorsese as van Gogh.
  • Silver-Haired Athletes Reaching For The Gold

    A male midlife crisis used to be a condition characterized by the pursuit of leggy showgirls and the wearing of toupees. No one would think of buying a ticket to see a man in such a pathetic state. But last week a 43-year-old Texan faced a truly compelling crisis--how to pitch to the best team in baseball, the Oakland Athletics. And he survived it in exemplary style: by hurling a no-hitter. The Rangers' Nolan Ryan is the oldest person ever to pull off that feat--but he is hardly the only middle-aged man to muscle his way into the sports pages of late. From California (where Mark Spitz, 40, is trying to swim his way into the 1992 Olympics) to New York (where jockey Angel Cordero, 47, boots home winners at Belmont Park), silver-haired athletes are going for the gold. Some, such as golfer Jack Nicklaus and bowler Earl Anthony, have dabbled in the senior circuit, a kind of parallel universe where everyone wears Sansabelt slacks. But despite what science says about the body converting...
  • A Wall Of Water Washes Through Ohio

    Nine-year-old Amber Colvin was playing cards with her friend Kerrie Trigg when the house began to fill up with water. It was late evening, and a series of rogue thunderstorms had just dumped five and a half inches of rain on the Ohio-West Virginia border region below Wheeling, W.Va. Wegee Creek, normally a placid stream, was rising to almost unbelievable heights, and Amber and Kerrie climbed into a bathtub for protection from the swirling water. Then the house collapsed. Before long, Amber found herself swept downstream into the Ohio River. Somehow she survived by clinging to two logs. "I had them for a long time," she said afterward. "I just drifted." ...
  • The 'Slap Flap' Explained

    Remember Sondra Gotlieb? She's the wife of the former Canadian ambassador who became notorious when she slapped her social secretary during a 1986 embassy dinner for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. (The secretary had told her seating arrangements had to be changed.) Now, in "Washington Rollercoaster," a gossipy account of her seven years on Embassy Row--so far available only in Canada--Gotlieb tells us the "slap flap" happened because she was exhausted, upset over a slight by Nancy Reagan and starved from dieting to fit into a new dress. Among other tidbits: she says publicly what much of Washington knew privately--former White House chief of staff Don Regan spread false rumors that the then national-security adviser Robert McFarlane was having an "adulterous affair."
  • Tinkering With The Constitution

    When they forged the Constitution 203 years ago, the Founding Fathers made it so difficult to amend that Patrick Henry complained the document would permit the "most contemptible minority" to frustrate progress. Changes, after all, could be made only with the vote of two thirds of both the Senate and House memberships, followed by three quarters (now 38) of the state legislatures. He might have had a point. (Fathers are like that.) While 10 amendments were added in 1791--the Bill of Rights--just 16 others have made their way into the national charter since. ...
  • 'Adam Smith' Goes To The Land Of Marx

    Most Soviets don't even I have a checking account--let alone a full grasp I of the capitalist system. But I starting this fall, they'll be I able to immerse themselves in such sophisticated free-market concepts as junk-bond trading and high-stakes investing. Last week producers of "Adam's Smith's Money World," public television's equivalent of Capitalism 101, announced they will broadcast the show in the Soviet Union, beginning as early as September. To be dubbed in Russian, "Money World" will, become the first American i business program to appear on Soviet television, where American shows of any sort are uncommon. "Adam Smith has come to the land of Karl Marx," says "Money World" host George J. W. Goodman, who uses the pseudonym of 18th-century economist Adam Smith. "This shows how fast at least some things are moving in the Soviet Union." ...
  • A Split In Now

    The Illinois Senate race has split the National Organization for Women. NOW's Illinois chapter has endorsed Democratic Sen. Paul Simon. But NOW national president Molly Yard has called Simon's pre-1984 record on abortion "awful" and hinted strongly that the national organization will back his GOP opponent, Rep. Lynn Martin, in part because she is a woman. The local unit argues that Simon outscores Martin on a number of other women's issues, including Head Start, day care and infant health care.
  • More Oil On The Waters

    From the radio room five decks above, the blast felt like "sort of a bump . . . a vibration," the captain later recalled. Then the room went dark and the corridor outside began to fill with smoke. "I looked forward and saw bright flames coming from the pump room top. Flames were licking up right over the bridge." The captain, C. M. Mahidhara, ran to his quarters, where his wife and two children were asleep. "Get out! Get out!" he screamed. Mahidhara radioed a nearby workboat to stand by for rescue. Thirty-seven people--including the captain's family--were taken off the oil tanker Mega Borg that night. The bodies of two crewmen were found near the wreckage of the pump-room hatch cover, which had been blown more than 100 yards along the deck. Two other crewmen were presumed to have died in the weeklong fire that reduced the 886-foot ship to a smoldering hulk--a disaster that demonstrated again that the transportation of large quantities of oil remains one of the riskiest enterprises...
  • The Con Games People Play

    John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation begins with a scene of pure urban hysteria. Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing) and her art-dealer husband, Flan (John Cunningham), flap about their ritzy New York apartment in a frenzy: they've discovered that they've been hoodwinked by a young black man, Paul (James McDaniel), who's passed himself off as the son of actor Sidney Poitier. Claiming to be short on cash while awaiting the return of his "father," Paul has talked himself into the hospitality of Flan and Ouisa, who later discover their guest copulating with a male hooker. Frazzled with fear and horror, the couple throw Paul out. It turns out that Paul has pulled a similar scam on other upscale New Yorkers. Events escalate into a surreal comedy that highlights the confusion between illusion and reality in the increasingly chaotic metropolis. ...
  • Tracymania

    It's that guy in the yellow overcoat again. Have the feeling you've seen him somewhere before? Like, maybe, everywhere you turn? And now here he is on the cover of NEWSWEEK. Small world, isn't it? And now here you are, actually reading another story about William Bendix in "Brick Lacy." ...
  • Interrogating The Prisoners

    Drug czar William Bennett has a new strategy in the war on drugs: systematically interrogate the captives. The Justice Department is preparing a major effort to build a comprehensive CIA-style database on the Colombian drug cartels by questioning hundreds, perhaps ultimately thousands, of drug dealers serving time in U.S. prisons. "We have a big human intelligence resource sitting in cages right here in the United States," says a senior administration official. "We don't even have to go hunt for them. " FBI and DEA field agents will thoroughly grill drug traffickers about their operations, with the possibility of earlier parole for those who cooperate with the program.