Newswire

Newswire

  • A Bumper Crop Of Good Sense

    Michael Pollan is a serious gardener and a serious writer with a lot on his mind. This frightening combination of vocation, avocation and temperament could probably drive all the snakes out of Texas and make water run uphill. Instead, Pollan has done something even more astonishing. He's written a book about gardening that even nongardeners might want to read.Most gardeners, when they get to the typewriter, are either practical-minded (how-to books) or deliriously lyrical. Pollan, who has read his share of this stuff, points out that even the best (Eleanor Perenyi, Henry Mitchell, Vita Sackville-West) get so wrapped up in their subject that they can't stop long enough to tell you what their gardens look like. Perhaps because he's only been at it seriously for about seven years, Pollan can still remember that there are readers of intelligence and curiosity whose gardening habits amount to no more than a stroll through the yard every month or so to see what's died.Nor has he lost...
  • Unsentimental Journey

    The Studio Museum in Harlem kicks off a retrospective of the collagist Romare Bearden ...
  • A Quagmire After All

    How the Bush administration trapped itself while trying to wage the peace ...
  • Unanswered Questions In Palm Beach

    In the swirl of national controversy, the central mystery of the Palm Beach rape case only deepened. What really happened at the Kennedy mansion on Easter weekend? Three weeks later, these were only a few of the open questions: ...
  • Sununu Vs. Skinner

    Attorney General Richard Thornburgh hasn't decided whether to resign and run for the Senate seat left vacant by the death of John Heinz, but rival factions are already forming over the choice of his successor. Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner is widely seen as the leading contender for the Justice job. But NEWSWEEK has learned that White House chief of staff John Sununu is pushing former California governor George Deukmejian. Sununu wants to boost California's representation in the cabinet with an eye toward the state's 54 Electoral College votes. Also, he may see the highly regarded Skinner as a potential rival for his own job. "He wants to block Skinner," says a GOP insider. "The Duke would be a way to do it."
  • Keep Your Eye On The 'Bucky Balls'

    The iconoclastic architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller never realized his dream of making the geodesic dome as popular a building shape as the box, but if man didn't appreciate the beauty of his design, nature did. In 1985, researchers led by chemist Richard Smalley of Rice University serendipitously discovered a strange molecule, made of 60 atoms of carbon, shaped exactly like a geodesic dome. They dubbed it buckminsterfullerene--or "bucky ball" to its fans. It is only the third form of pure carbon known (the other two are graphite and diamond) and has properties that are fantastic even by Fuller's standards. These "truncated icosahedrons" do not react with even corrosive gases, suggesting that they could serve as the slipperiest lubricants ever devised. They can be blasted apart only by powerful lasers, and they spin more than 1 billion times per second-and so might become "the smallest ball bearing ever," says Smalley. ...
  • Cookie Power: A Fig Grows In Newton

    It was invented the same year as the zipper--and it has endured equally well. Sixty-five million pounds of Fig Newtons are consumed annually, and next month the blue-chip cookie will celebrate its 100th birthday in its namesake town. "You don't hear of Fig New Yorks or Fig Springfields," brags Theodore Mann, mayor of Newton, Mass. Actually, Fig Newtons got their start in Cambridge, produced by a new machine that could/ extrude one substance (fig jam) inside another (pastry dough). But when the Kennedy Biscuit Works began producing the goodies in 1891, they were named for the nearby town--and Newton entered cookie immortality. ...
  • Hasid Trip

    Hollywood, where the term original idea is an oxymoron, is developing at least six movies about ... Hasidic Jews. Among the films featuring the traditional Jewish sect: "Close to Eden," about a gentile cop who goes undercover among the Hasidim. "Benny's Heir" is about a Hasidic doctor who falls for a woman with mob ties. And producer Sherry Lansing's project is "Holy Men": a Hasid-turned-cop returns to the sect to investigate his brother's murder.
  • A Lifeline In Iraq

    Bush orders American troops to help the Kurds, but getting out may be harder than getting in ...
  • Pondering An Act Of God

    I'm one of the lucky ones. When the helicopter and the airplane collided over the grounds of Merion Elementary School in suburban Philadelphia on April 4, my son Andy and his classmates were in their third-grade classroom discussing plans for the much anticipated arrival of the circus. The plane exploded, the helicopter fell and fiery wreckage rained on the schoolyard where first and second graders chased one another in the spring sunshine. The crash claimed the lives of two children and five adults, including Pennsylvania's U.S. Sen. John Heinz.As news of the accident spread, hundreds of parents like myself, swathed in terror, rushed to the school, plea-bargaining with God or some other higher power to spare our children. Most of us found our children frightened, but unharmed. Three families weren't as fortunate. Becky Rutenberg arrived only to learn that her son David had been airlifted to a hospital burn center, with burns over 68 percent of his body. For two families, the Blums...
  • London Is Talking About ...

    It seems that when the new Tory finance minister, Norman Lamont, moved to 11 Downing Street recently, he rented a basement flat in his west London house to one Sara Dale, 40, and her boyfriend. In the rental agreement, Dale described herself as a "therapist dealing in stress and nutrition management." She failed to mention her treatment techniques--involving leather, toys and fees of $150 an hour.An exclusive report on Lamont's new tenant in the tabloid News of the World--with photos of Dale in "work attire"--touched off a media frenzy. Lamont issued a statement denying he'd ever met Dale and said he'd evict her if the allegations proved true.Two days later Dale invited reporters into her "love room." Yes, she said, she did give massages while naked but always stopped short of intercourse.Once, she said, she'd put a patient in a bubble bath with rubber ducks and threatened to spank him if he didn't splash about. And yes, she had appeared in the rubber-fetish mags, Shiny and Mistress...
  • Naming Names

    At first, she was simply The Accuser, The Victim, The Woman in the Palm Beach rape case. But when a supermarket tabloid--and then NBC, The New York Times and several other newspapers--disclosed her name and details of her personal life last week, she assumed a unique and precarious spot in the annals of modern celebrityhood-exposed, yet still hidden. Millions of people have now seen the grainy black-and-white picture with the Mona Lisa smile. They've shared her secrets: her drinking habits, her high school grades, her unwed-motherhood, even her 17 traffic tickets. But to everyone else, she is still a tantalizing cipher--silent and faceless, trapped by her self-imposed exile, perhaps in the sanctuary of her stepfather's house. ...
  • The Sixth-Floor Window

    If at first you don't succeed, keep on pestering. That was Hollywood director Oliver Stone's strategy, and on his fourth try, he got permission last week to film from the same sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy. Stone re-created the assassination for "JFK," his movie on New Orleans prosecutor James Garrison's (Kevin Costner) investigation of the shooting, due early next year. Dallas officials didn't want to close the room, now a museum, for anyone. "It's open every day except Christmas, and that's the way it should be," said city commissioner Christopher Semos. But they finally gave in, on their terms: 6:30 to 10 a.m., four days only, and clean up after yourselves.
  • The Message In The Market

    The Dow broke 3000 because it's anticipating a recovery. But it could stay stalled for months. ...
  • Ray Anderson Plays His Funny 'Bone

    The jazz trombonist Ray Anderson noticed some years back that when he sang at certain pitches, his voice split in two. His vocal cords produced one note, and the skin outside the larynx produced a second. The first is a cartoonish Satchmo styling; its shadow sounds like Satchmo through an aerosol can. Together, vying their way through a standard like Duke Ellington's "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," they're as queerly beautiful and weird a voice as you're likely to hear. ...
  • Buzzwords

    Nurses--those hardworking angels of mercy--have a darker side. If you listen closely, you may hear them say: A mess. Usage: "We've got a real train wreck coming into emergency."Pillow on face. A patient who complains too much. Usage: "She'd better quit whining or she'll be POF."A person whose veins are hard to find when drawing blood.Transfer a patient to another ward. Usage: "Let's turf that train wreck to neuro."Short of breath.
  • Number 11

    A word to wise Indonesians: when asked to name your idol, lie. A Christian-owned tabloid called Monitor conducted a poll last year asking Indonesians to name the person-dead or alive--they admire most. The top pick was President Suharto; Saddam Hussein was seventh. The problem is, the Prophet Muhammad finished llth, which didn't exactly please the nation's largely Muslim populace. Demonstrations broke out. The government shut down Monitor and arrested editor Arswendo Atmowiloto. He is likely to serve five years for insulting a religion.