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One State’s Boom Could Turn Into Another State’s Boon

We’ve all seen the sad scene this summer: Neighbors and colleagues head off on vacation to Montana or Wyoming or Idaho and come back glassy-eyed, their brains turned to Jello by an addictive overdose of uncrowded vistas and dangerously clean air.

We’ve all worried that generations of Angelenos are being lost to the temptations of the Rocky Mountain states. But such tragedies never really sink in until defined by a Time cover story.

“Boom Time in the Rockies” (Sept. 6) tells tales of numerous telecommuters, “modem cowboys” and others who have escaped big cities on either coast for the region that may well become “a magnetic pole of the New West.”

The reasons why folks leave places like Los Angeles for places like Boise are many and familiar. One, recounted by Time’s Jordan Bonfante, was summarized years ago when writer Wallace Stegner termed the West: “Hope’s native home.”

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Deedee Corradini, Salt Lake City’s mayor says simply: “Look at L.A. or San Francisco. I don’t know how you can begin to solve those problems, whereas we can solve ours.”

As Time points out, the new paradise is not without pitfalls. Three people were killed and two wounded one week in gang-related drive-bys in Denver this summer. And where things are more pristine, outsiders are usually less than welcome.

Besides, if the exodus continues, L.A.'s Westside may soon be vacant, the freeways will unclog and the San Gabriels will become visible just as hordes of Range Rovers shroud the Rockies in smog.

Required Reading

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* Earlier this year former President Bush flew to Kuwait accompanied by former Secretary of State James Baker, former White House chief-of-staff John Sununu and Bush’s sons Neil and Marvin, among others. By all indications, according to a report by Seymour M. Hersh in the Sept. 6 New Yorker, everyone but the president himself seemed bent on scooping up the spoils of war.

Hersh quotes Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who says he has turned down hundreds of millions of dollars he could have made representing American corporations in Kuwait.

“I won’t do it,” Schwarzkopf says. “American men and women were willing to die in Kuwait. Why should I profit from their sacrifice?”

No laws have been broken by the Bush gang’s money grubbing. But even the most freewheeling of capitalists recognize bounds of decency, Hersh says.

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In using American soldiers’ lives “as a kind of calling card,” he says, “haven’t Baker, the two Bush sons and the rest transgressed those bounds?”

* What with all the lawyer bashing going on, the American Bar Assn. decided to take the nation’s pulse to see just how hated attorneys really are.

The answers, gathered from a poll of 1,202 adults and reported in the September ABA Journal: more despised than police officers, accountants and bankers; less loathed than stockbrokers and politicians.

Well-paid and well-educated middle-age folks who “know a lot about the legal system” are far more likely to have unfavorable views of attorneys than poorer and younger people.

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And people who get their information about lawyers from newspapers are a lot less likely to admire them than those who derive their opinions from TV.

New on Newsstands

Not too long ago, a publication called Beer The Magazine would have evoked images of frat boys passed out next to a Coors keg. But with the last decade’s explosion of micro breweries and “brewpubs,” beer has attracted the attention of connoisseurs as well as drunks.

As Beer’s “Brewmaster and Publisher” Bill Owens points out in his editor’s note, 85 million Americans now spend more than $35 billion a year on brewskis.

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Dozens of letters in the first section suggest that Owens, who has also edited a trade publication, already has a strong following among “super-premium” beer aficionados.

Features in this artfully produced, large format magazine come with titles such as “The Ritual of Wheat Beers” and “Munich Through the Beer Glass.” Another piece recommends hotels that boast great beer selections. Locally, the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, the St. James Club in Los Angeles and the Hyatt Newporter get good marks.

(One year, five issues, $24. Box 717, Hayward, Calif. 94543-0717)

Shredder Fodder

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Esquire is usually too gentlemanly to depict bare-breasted women in its pages. So, an editor might wonder: How can we get in some T&A; yet circumvent accusations of crass titillation?

The Fall Esquire Gentleman tries a National Geographic approach:

Take a couple of way white models, deck ‘em out in rugged outdoorsy duds that probably cost enough to feed five Ethiopian families, then set up a shoot in an apparently dirt-poor Kenyan village where a beautiful, dark-skinned African model can flash her breasts with naive (read primitive) immodesty.

Esquire’s red-haired model also disrobes. But it’s OK, because she has painted her body the dark shade of the natives.

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Lest anyone doubt the aesthetic and anthropological sincerity of the spread, someone has scrawled noble savage blather about getting far away from “the frantic plastic rat race, plastic surgery, plastic toys, values . . . " across the pages.

Forget all the other obvious isms. Whoever is responsible for the layout should heed its message--"We have gone too far. Gotten too fat and slimy--too phony . . . "--and plead guilty to blatant sleazoidism.

Another thing: Smoking would hardly seem fashionable these days. But for some reason Esquire Gentleman has men (and a woman) puffing like crazy.

In a spread eulogizing Steve McQueen as “the embodiment of cool,” the lead photograph shows the actor, who died 13 years ago at age 50, with a cigarette as a fashion accessory.

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At least the article points out the cause of McQueen’s death: lung cancer.


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