David A. Kaplan

Gore's Secret Plan

Early on, much more than possible recounts, the issue of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County consumed the Gore campaign. If a lawsuit went his way, it would eliminate George W.

A Bush Feeler

Who would lead the legal effort for George W. Bush? The campaign immediately thought of a man who combined political smarts and moral rectitude--Jack Danforth, the retired GOP senator and Episcopal priest.Two days after Election night, Danforth and his wife, Sally, were on their way to the Caribbean.

The Ballpark By The Bay

Ballparks have always had a special hold on baseball fans (at least those with a lyrical bent). "Green fields of the mind"... "full of fragments of ourselves"--this is the stuff of American stadiums.

They're Outta Here!

Give those umpires some credit. In the greedy, spoiled-rotten world of Major League Baseball, the 68 men in blue have managed to make the players and owners actually look like the good guys.

Infamy And Immortality

It is, and always will be, simply, The Fix. And "Shoeless Joe" will forever be the name associated with it. In the autumn of 1919, in a nation just over the Great War, the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox assembled for the World Series.

Trouble Brewing

In the hall of mirrors that Wall Street can be, Howard Schultz apparently thought he had it figured out. Bury the bad news, go with the good. Just before July 4, the CEO of Starbucks ran a conference call with analysts and announced that profits for the current fiscal year would be 10 percent below expectations, the result of an expensive Internet start-up and an unspectacular Frappuccino supermarket thrust.

The Phantom Next Door

Talk about weirdo neighbors. Up in the "back country" of wealthy Greenwich, Conn., lived a man named Marty Frankel. There was nothing unusual about his compound of multi-million-dollar homes just off Lake Avenue, within cantering distance of Fortune 500 CEOs, movie directors, Diana Ross and Leona Helmsley.

Silicon Heaven

There's rich, there's filthy rich--and then there's Woodside. In Silicon Valley, there are dozens of affluent towns where the overlords of tech build their megalo-mansions and try to prove that there's no such thing as too-conspicuous construction.

The Selling Of Star Wars

The emperor is all-powerful, all-knowing. Nothing escapes the reach of the Empire. Not even the steely New York Times.Earlier this year the paper's Sunday Arts and Leisure Section ordered up a piece on George Lucas and his new $115 million "Star Wars" prequel.

$3 Billion Screams!

Think green, green, green. It's the color of the money they're hoping you'll fork over, it's the color of some of the food selections, and it's the color you'll be turning on some of the rides at Florida's newest theme park.

Get Ready For Nanotechnology

COW IS A COW IS A COW. GOD MAKES them, farmers raise them, we eat them--it's a simple, predictable division of irresponsibilities. But what is a cow really besides some grass, water and air molecules uniquely rearranged to attract flies and moo?

Can Keith Fly Solo?

EVER THE WISE GUY, KEITH OLBERMANN will tell you he's really taken his new job with all-news MSNBC to be closer to the bright lights of the big city. Up until last June, he may have reigned as the nation's smartest, sassiest sportscaster around, as co-anchor of ESPN's ""Sportscenter.'' But he had to do it in the boonies of Bristol, Conn., ESPN's world headquarters. ""From the window of my house,'' Olbermann recalls with mock wistfulness, ""I could look out on the whole Farmington Valley.

Cyber Toy Story

FORGET THAT PLACE BILL GATES IS building. Down the road a mile from the Marriott Conference Center look-alike he'll soon call home is the real Xanadu of the Microsoft realm.

Caped Crusader

HE MAY BE THE RICHEST, strangest, most rebellious comic-book artist in America. But even Todd McFarlane - creator of Spawn, the country's hottest superhero - doesn't let his little daughters near the stuff.

The Cult Of The Pilot

IT WAS A COMPANY FEW WANTed to fund and a product the smarties all scoffed at in Silicon Valley. But when the Palm Pilot was introduced last year by Palm Computing (now owned by 3Com), it was the hottest tech toy since the joystick.

Life And Death Decisions

THE NATION'S ONGOING DEBATE over the death penalty is now centered on a Denver courtroom and a killer named Timothy McVeigh. But a better picture of capital punishment in America could be found just outside Mobile, Ala., last Friday.

A Visit To Dino Island

WHAT A DAD, WHAT A DIRECTOR. A few weeks after his wife, Kate Capshaw, gave birth to their seventh child in Los Angeles, Steven Spielberg boarded a Gulfstream 4 for Hawaii to finish shooting ""The Lost World.'' A week before Christmas, in a remote cove on the lush leeward side of Kauai, he was doing the movie's opening scene: little girl meets little dinosaurs, girl offers roast-beef sandwich, dinos munch girl instead (off camera).

Sensing Trouble In The Skies

NIGH, THE END IS near--the millennial comet is approaching and we have to escape the Earth before it's too late! Before Rancho Santa Fe, it was easy to dismiss such apocalyptic theories as the harmless fantasy of Internet lunatics with too much time on their hands.

Goodbye, Pac-Man

IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS JUST pinball. Then, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. You got some quarters from Pa, elbowed your way between the juvenile delinquents and flippered or joysticked your youth away.

The Force Is Still With Us

IT WAS A REVIVAL IN MORE THAN the movie sense. One night last week at the Gotham Cinema in Manhattan, several hundred fans gathered for a sneak preview of a movie they'd collectively seen thousands of times before on video.

City Slickers

IN THE GREATEST METROPO- lis on earth, on one of those sparkling autumn afternoons that light up any imagination, the mayor has a few moments to himself. Crawling up Sixth Avenue in his armored Suburban wagon--just a driver, a bodyguard and two aides are aboard--Rudolph W.