he poor we shall not always have with us, if Werner Erhard has his way. Erhard, creator of the cryptotherapy known as est (Ehard Seminars Training), has begun the Hunger Project, a campaign he promises will end hunger on the planet in two decades.
How this will happen is explained quite deftly in the December Mother Jones appropriately titled "Let Them Eat est." As author Suzanne Gordon observes, Erhard believes we must make the world "our context rather than our condition." Consequently, consciousness is everything; distinctions of wealth and power nothing. The upshot - echoing John Lennon's Vietnam proclamation to '60s radicals, "War is over if you want it" - is simple: If enough people believe hunger is gone, it will be gone.
Now this may seem like sleight of hand in black and white, but Erhard has signed up 180,000 for his project. Already 4,200 have taken a Hunger Project seminar at $30 each, with all funds going directly into the coffers of est. And from the 180,000 project volunteers, est hopes to recruit many of the 120,000 who have not yet taken the $300 basic est training course. This, Gordon claims, is the real thrust of the Hunger Project: to bolster the profits' at parent organization est, whose public image has faded rapidly.
Meanwhile lest the reader think that this will all go away in due time if we forget about it, Chip Carter himself represented dad at a three-day Hunger Project symposium in September and announced afterward: "If my father can go from being almost unknown to being president in four years, we can certainly end hunger in 20 years."
Tumbling right over the heels of its immensely popular Animal House, The National Lampoon has unleashed one of its funniest issues in years on "The Body."
Forewarned is forearmed - or dirobed: This is an overtly chauvinistic issue (The Lampoon's 550,000 readers are 91 percent male). There is an extensive guide on "How to Tell What Girls Are Like Under Their Clothes" (Danger Signs: She's Crazy - More than 3 earrings or under 100 pounds); a critical survey of what's new in paranormal medicine ("marinate your way to a longer life") and a frankly hilarious compilation of euphemisms called "She has a Wonderful Personality."
It starts off with the simple "atheletic (girl)," which means muscular, thighs like tree trunks, great big shoulders, real biceps. Then we move on:
"Shy" means "retarded acting"; "pleasant looking" means "not pleasant looking"; "aquiline" means "big nose on a rich girl"; "roman nose" means "real big nose"; "vivacious" means "manic depressive scarecrow"; "scintillating" means "vivacious on a diet pill jag"; "delicate" means "terminal anorexia nervosa victim."
It's tough being a female executive, and New Dawn ("for today's woman," whoever that is) has some simple advice in the December issue: Link business with golf, another step up the ladder of boredom to true equality.
Take Sandy Jones, vice president of a New York advertising firm. She keeps a putter in her executive suite. "Men come into my office," she says, "not knowing how to talk to me simply because I'm a woman. But when they see me hit the ball with the determination that I do, they figure I must be a pretty good businesswoman too."
Cosmo girls, watch out.
Once Mike Curb was best known as the leader of The Mike Curb Congregation, an angelic-sounding group of singers whose tunes filled the easy-listening airwaves of America. Curb not only produced records but, like many show biz personalities, also backed the efforts of a number of political candidates, even providing the entertainment for Richard Nixon's second inaugural.
Now Curb himself is running for lieutenant governor of California, with an ad campaign that emphasizes a background of good hard work in the best Horatio Alger tradition.
The current New West, however, airs a flip side of Curb's character, a decided contrast to the image of a choirboy who first produced the wholesome recordings of Mormon Donnie Osmond. The piece claims that Curb:
Billed MGM Records, the company he was once president of, for recording-time spent on his own personal projects;
Gave Paramount a bad check to clinch a business deal;
Paid musicians working on records at below the union scale agreed to be contract;
Claimed rights and authorship to music not his own:
Attempted to bill $40,000 of the Nixon inaugural's expenses to MGM.
Curb has declined comment.
Buying land by the acre and then selling it by the square foot - with all sales final - isn't at all unattainable, if the land in question happens to be a cemetery.
"A well managed cemetery certainly can be one of the best forms of land development around," Forbes declares in its Oct. 31 issue.
Consider George Young, who bought several acres at $1,100 each in Texas 25 years ago. Developers would pay $60,000 an acre now, but Mr. Young has parlayed the value into one-half million on acre at his Restland Memorial Park, where he has netted about $200,000 of that per acre.
There are a few qualifications. Many states east of the Mississippi don't allow cemeteries to turn a profit (which in itself doesn't mean that the land can't be profitably developed). And all states require that a certain percentage of income (10-30 percent) go toward maintenance.
Beyond that, apparently, the sky's the limit, as in Nashville where high-density housing has come to graveyards in the form of a 20-story mausoleum. And although cremation may seem more and more popular, George Young reports that 97.9 percent of the people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area prefer to be buried.
Three short notes: Life, which reincarnated last month as a monthly, demonstrates amply that it no longer cares about the timeliness of news. The November issue declares on the cover: "DISCO! Hottest Trend in Entertainment" . . . The November Ebony, it an article called "How To Tell if Your Child is on Dope," suggests that "listening to music at all hours of the night instead of studying homework" is a telltale sign, thereby qualifying every child who has grown vented. And Consumers Union, in a sensitive matter, asks readers to write to 256 Washington St., Mount Vernon, N.Y. 10550 and request rating forms on condoms for an upcoming report.
After tackling violence in football and the big money aspects of professional athletics this summer, Sports Illustrated has not turned its investigative microscope on fixed horse races, with an eye-opening and detailed account in the Nov. 6 issue.
Grand jury investigations in several states have been spurred on by the revelations of Tony Ciulla, who says he fixed hundreds of races over a four year period by paying off many well-known jockeys to hold their horses back.
Ciulla says he would often spend $6,000 a week alone on motels, food, liquor, telephone calls and travel expenses. In one 1975 Adueduct race, Ciulla says he spent $25,000 to bribe four jockeys, $48,000 on 475 tickets and netted a cool $200,000.
Think twice before you decide to sue the manufacturer of the lemon you bought last year and thought was a car. The company will probably win.
In fact, the majority of civil lawsuits are frustrating exercises in futility for the plainstiffs, according to the November issue of Money. A New Jersey couple, for example, who sued over a $21,000 termite-infested house they wound up with $5,000 after legal fees.
"Unless $25,000 or more is at stake, you're fool to litigate," says a New Jersey lawyer. The exception is personal injury cases, because the awards are often huge and lawyers take such cases on a contigency basis.
Even if you do sue, and are confident of winning, don't plan on spending that award too soon. Most of the civil cases being heard in Chicago last month were filed in 1974.
Good Housekeeping hits new depths with its sensationalistic profile on "Son of Sam's Real Mother" in the November issue . . . The November Personal Computing has a handy guide to available mini-computers for the home at under $3,000 . . . November Reader's Digest includes a surprisingly detailed and comprehensive account of the flight of Korean Airlines Flight 902 that was shot down over Russia . . . The outdoor magazine Mariah has purchased the financially troubled Outdoors from Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner . . . In an attempt to appeal to more than just a rock audience, 200,000 circulation Crawdaddy has changed its name to Feature . . . Supermarkets sold $1,538 billion in magazines last year; that's almost the same as movie box-office receipts.