Newswire

Newswire

  • Going Like Gangbusters

    Jim Brown's football feats are legend, his screen career is part of Tinseltown's action-picture past, but his sun deck--ah, that continues to make home-improvement history. The structure, which consumes about a quarter-acre of airspace high in the Hollywood hills and features a magnificent view of the L.A. sprawl, first became famous in the late '60s. That's when Brown, retired from the Cleveland Browns as the NFL's all-time leading rusher and riding high as a star of "The Dirty Dozen," gave open-air parties for Malcolm X and other black leaders. Working from a different guest list, he had orgies out there as well. ("You might make love to three girls in one night... and see others making love around you, but it was never vulgar or done with disrespect," he wrote in his 1989 autobiography, "Out of Bounds.") In 1968 the deck made news when the LAPD accused Brown of throwing a woman off it in the heat of an argument. (He was never charged.) Brown by then was beginning to fade from the...
  • Hail The Heroes

    Kuwait was free, Saddam Hussein was licking his wounds and the gulf was 6,500 miles behind them--and last week more than 8,000 veterans of Operation Desert Storm marched proudly down Constitution Avenue for a capital welcome-home parade in downtown Washington. The weather was perfect, the crowds were enthusiastic and the assembled horde of VIPs, led by George and Barbara Bush, paid tribute to what the president called "the finest troops any country has ever had." This was their day--and with another big celebration in New York this week, the nation was ready to bestow its gratitude and admiration on the 540,000 American men and women who risked their lives in one of the most successful military campaigns of modern times. ...
  • It's Crying Time Again

    George Bush's tearful address to the Southern Baptist Convention last week was a rare show of presidential emotion. Though he occasionally gets weepy in private, when he talks about a soldier who died in the gulf war or the loss of his young daughter to leukemia, Bush was taught as a schoolboy that grieving in public is a poor show. So, aides say, he didn't intend to cry when he told the Baptists how he prayed and wept with Barbara at Camp David before the gulf war began. ...
  • New Sununu

    Stung by criticism of his excessive travel on government planes, White House chief of staff John Sununu is quietly trying to rehabilitate himself by inviting small groups of influential journalists to his West Wing office for informal chats. Among his guests: columnist Carl Rowan, The New Republic's Morton Kondracke and NBC's Tim Russert. Notably absent: White House reporters who have criticized him.
  • Do You Believe In Magic?

    Talk about your classic matchups: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are the yin and yang of basketball. Jordan deals in airborne aggression, 'Johnson in earthbound wisdom. The latter is a general who dribbles downcourt with one hand extended, signaling to his L.A. Lakers with Schwarzkopfian certitude. The former is a fighter pilot, the one-man escort for a bomber squadron called the Chicago Bulls. Johnson's jersey belongs in the Hall of Fame, Jordan's sneakers in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. One doesn't need to be a basketball fan to enjoy their performances. As millions watched (the ratings were up 19 percent over last year) the finalists split the two games in Chicago, then traveled to L.A. where the Bulls won in overtime, 104-96. But what do scores and stats mean at a moment like this? In the NBA, these are the good old days.
  • Nature And The Male Sex

    Uh oh. There is bad news on the nature-vs.-nurture front. The perennial argument is about what matters most in human affairs, that which nature does in making us or that which society does in nurturing us. Today's bulletin is: Stress nature, its importance--and its incompetence. Nature blundered badly in designing males. ...
  • Quayle's Space Score Card

    Amid all the speculation about what Vice President Dan Quayle might be like as a chief executive, little attention has been paid to the area where he has had executive authority--U.S. space policy. For two years now Quayle has headed the National Space Council, a White House organization charged with reforming space efforts. Quayle has devoted considerable time and serious thought to this role. What has he accomplished? ...
  • No, But I Saw The Trailer

    How does a major studio sell a movie about firefighters, of all people, with an arcane title like "Backdraft"? Eight months from release and halfway into production, Universal solved its problem by making a trailer that stars a fire. The two-minute teaser used no dialogue and told no story. But the image of billowing rolls of flame spreading beastlike across a room captured the public imagination and spearheaded a hugely successful marketing campaign. In its first two weeks on screen, the movie raked in $32 million. "It was like having a tiger by the tail," says Universal's senior vice president for marketing David Sameth. ...
  • The New Gainesville Murder Mystery

    The setting was tragically familiar: a condominium complex in southwest Gainesville near the University of Florida campus. In a second-floor apartment last Friday were the bodies of Eleanor Anne Grace, 20, and Carla Marie McKishnie, 22, both UF students. The killings occurred in the same area of town where five students turned up brutally slain last August. Authorities rushed to announce that the new murders were not the work of the same killer. They said the victims, who were strangled, bore none of last year's gruesome trademarks, which included mutilation. The assurances were little solace to UF women, who wondered whether Gainesville was becoming a mecca for homicidal misogynists. ...
  • Japan Bash

    Is Japan bent on world economic domination? Yes, according to a report prepared for the CIA by a group of experts. The document--titled "Japan 2000"--Calls the Japanese "racist," "amoral," "not democratic" and manipulators of public opinion. The report envisions a Japanese-Soviet alliance and predicts the U.S. could lose the ability to wage war without Japanese financing. A White House official says Washington is unconcerned that the report may irritate the Japanese, who have had no comment. But the Japanese press reported that the president of the Rochester Institute of Technology, where the study was produced, was planning a trip to Tokyo to placate Japanese benefactors.
  • No Cream For The Fat Cats

    How would you in America feel if your government screwed things up so much that popcorn and peanut butter and even Twinkies were rationed, and all the steakhouses closed their doors for lack of meat? How would you like it if 90 percent of the farmers lived on welfare, yet were able to take cost-free month-long vacations in Hawaii? ...
  • Lifts And Orchestrates

    Leave it to the Japanese to come up with a fitting way to honor Mozart's bicentennial. Japan's Triumph International lingerie firm has fashioned a musical bra which, when hooked, plays 20 seconds of a Mozart variation. The front-fastening bra contains a micro-Musical bra chip and a tiny speaker fastened under the armpit. It's made of indigo-blue fabric embroidered with a musical staff motif and studded with tiny lights that flash when the music plays. One drawback: because of the electronics, the bra can't be washed.
  • How To Help Gorbachev

    To hear Mikhail Gorbachev in Oslo last week was to see Karl Marx stood on his head. In his long-delayed speech accepting the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize, Gorbachev linked prospects for "a new world order" directly to success in Soviet economic reform. It bordered on diplomatic blackmail. "The world needs perestroika no less than the Soviet Union itself does," he said. "[We are] entitled to expect large-scale support." He called on "the major Western nations" to help make the Soviet Union "an organic part" of the world economy. In other words: capitalists of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but our chains. ...
  • Women Who Kill Too Much

    Pathetic stereotypes of testosterone-crazed behavior."--Richard Johnson, New York Daily News. ...
  • A Battle Over Teaching Sex Ed

    How should schools teach sex education? There is the wrath-of-heaven (or points south) approach, there is the silent treatment; in some precincts, there is even full disclosure. Now come jingles. Don't be a louse, wait for your spouse! Do the right thing, wait for the ring! Pet your dog, not your date! These are the pro-abstinence messages of the junior-high-school textbook, "Sex Respect," used in 1,600 school districts nationwide. They're "catchy slogans designed to trigger memory," says author Coleen Kelly Mast, "no less corny than commercials on television but much more important." ...
  • A Dismal Report Card

    How bad are eighth graders' math skills? So bad that half are scoring just above the proficiency level expected of fifth-grade students. Even the best students did miserably; at the top-scoring schools, the average was well below grade level. Hardly any students have the background to go beyond simple computation; most of these kids can add but they have serious trouble thinking through simple problems. These grim statistics, released last week in the first large-scale state-by-state study of math achievement, prompted Education Secretary Lamar Alexander to declare a math emergency in the nation's schools. "None of the states are cutting it," he said. "This is an alarm bell that should ring all night throughout this country." ...
  • A Maverick Master

    People used to pigeonhole Frank Gehry as a regionalist architect. That meant he was a flaky southern Californian whose far-out buildings looked like the scene of an earthquake the morning after. The first and most famous of these was his 1978 renovation of his own house on a quiet street in Santa Monica. He took a humdrum little pink-shingled Dutch colonial and wrapped it in corrugated metal, with big pieces of chain-link fencing and glass pushing up out of the structure. Inside, he ripped out walls, leaving a forest of bare studs, and the ghost of the original: an old bay window in the living room overlooked the new kitchen. "I had only myself and my family to please," Gehry recalls. ...
  • The Troubled Altar Of Freedom

    It was his first visit to Poland since the collapse of the Communist government, and everywhere that Pope John Paul II went last week he found signs that liberty is becoming as troublesome for the Polish church as Marxist oppression ever was. Welcoming the pope in a drizzling rain, President Lech Walesa rightly greeted the pope as "a symbol of the spirit of this nation, of a nation that never accepted a system of enslavement. " But in the course of his nine-day visit to his homeland, the pope conducted himself more like a visiting evangelist than a triumphant celebrant of Poland's liberation. In each of his public masses, John Paul focused on one of the Ten Commandments, warning his newly free fellow compatriots against "an easy and mechanical copying" of hedonistic Western values. ...
  • Japan: Under A Deadly Volcano

    The white smoke billowed hundreds of feet into the air and the molten lava shot down forested slopes at up to 125 miles per hour. When Mount Unzen, a volcano in southwest Japan, violently erupted last Monday for the first time in nearly 200 years, it killed 37 people and forced 7,200 villagers from their homes. A second eruption on Saturday caused no known casualties, but displaced an additional 1,300 people. Authorities had feared a repeat of the 1792 volcano disaster, which claimed 15,000 lives.
  • Secret Warriors

    Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf had a very big problem. For months, KH-11 spy satellites and high-flying TR-1 reconnaissance planes had circled over Saddam Hussein's air defenses, looking for holes. They had found none. Unless the allies could find a way to break through the early-warning radars ringing Iraq, the air raid on heavily defended Baghdad might become an Iraqi turkey shoot. Schwarzkopf feared that he would lose scores, even hundreds, of planes on the first night of the air war. That night was now only a few days away. ...