In the March 2011 Issue: The New Essentials

Thu, Feb 10, 2011

In the March 2011 issue (on newsstands now): From the perfect pair of boots to a Thomas Keller-approved spatula, 59 must-own tools and toys for the modern man who thinks he has it all; Dicky Eklund, the real-life Fighter, battles on where the movie leaves off; and the amazing Daniel Kish, blind since childhood, uses echolocation to live the life of a sighted person.

From The New Essentials

You’ve got the basics covered: food, shelter, flatscreen. Consider this a collection of second-order necessities, greasing the tracks to make life run smoothly so you can enjoy the ride.

Problem No. 7: Everything works wirelessly — except for your music
Solution: As usual, Apple offers an elegant fix: AirPlay. It’s not an object so much as a protocol that lets iDevices wirelessly stream music to AirPlay-enabled audio systems. The diminutive Denon RCD-N7 receiver is one of the first with the capability — though it also includes a CD player and a dock for that “vintage” feel. [$600;]

Problem No. 15: Most daypacks are burdened with too many useless straps
Solution: Since you don’t need an ice ax while doing errands on a bike or exploring a foreign city, the Osprey 24/Seven Orb backpack avoids excessive ornamentation. The 12-liter pack still covers the basics: water-bottle pocket, padded laptop sleeve, and a meaty grab handle on top. [$59;]

Problem No. 30: You want a vintage bike without the repair bills
Solution: Look at the fuel-injected, 865cc Triumph Scrambler, all knobby tires and chromed exhaust, built for hustling down roads paved or dusty. Then watch Steve McQueen jump the Swiss border in The Great Escape astride an eerily similar ride. Cool enough for ya? [$8,799;]

For many more of our New Essentials, check out our March issue, on newsstands now.

From Kevin Gray’s The Fighter and the Damage Done

By now, the Dicky Eklund story is well known to the millions of moviegoers who’ve seen his family’s drama played out with all its strained loyalties, front-porch melees, and quests for redemption. But what happens after the film version ends is left uncertain. The postscript about Dicky Eklund that comes at the end of The Fighter is strenuously vague: “Dicky maintains his status as a local legend. He trains boxers at his brother’s gym.” The recent real life of the three-time Golden Gloves winner is, in fact, shockingly vivid. Dicky has been arrested more than 66 times, at least several times in the past decade, where the movie of his life leaves off. In the past four years alone, he has been arrested for cocaine possession and a string of assaults, including a charge of attempted murder. He was questioned in other crimes as well. In May 2006, Dicky was involved in a homicide that took place outside Captain John’s, a bar just down the street from where his life story would be filmed months later. A 29-year-old patron was punched once in the face, hit his head on the pavement, and died. Dicky says the victim was throwing a punch at him when his nephew intervened. In the end, John “Jackie” Morrell, the 25-year-old son of Dicky’s sister Donna, confessed to the beating and served 11 months in prison. “The cops want me for that,” he says. “Cops said I threw the shot. With my record I could have got 25 to life. I didn’t do it. He confessed to it. My nephew, the one that killed the guy, goes, ‘Dicky, they still think it’s you.’ ”

Dicky had once been a New England welterweight champion, known regionally as the Pride of Lowell. Dicky was a scrappy Irish tough who danced and fidgeted his way through bouts and never suffered a single knockout. His most notable moment in the ring came in 1978, when he knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard in a 10-round fight that he ultimately lost by unanimous decision.

For that bout, Dicky was paid $7,500, a pittance compared with the millions his brother Micky made over the course of his career. Their fortunes outside of the ring have differed sharply as well. “He lives out in the Highlands,” Dicky says of his half brother, “where all the fags live.” Theirs is not an easy relationship. “We’re close now,” Micky says. “But, you know, we have to keep each other at arm’s length sometimes. That’s how big families are now and then.”

By the time Dicky’s career ended, in 1985, he’d racked up 19 wins and 10 losses and picked up a fierce crack habit. His spiral into drugs and prison devastated the Eklund family — his mother, Alice; his seven sisters; Micky. Dicky was featured in the 1995 HBO documentary High on Crack Street and was later sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison for, among other things, kidnapping and masked armed robbery. (He and a hooker friend had been luring johns they’d then rob at gunpoint.) It’s only when he got out of jail, after five years, that his younger brother’s fighting career gave him focus. As one of Ward’s trainers, Dicky helped his half brother win the WBU World Championship title in 2000, which is where Hollywood rolls the credits on their story. Micky Ward would go on to bigger and more profitable fights, taking on the late Arturo Gatti in three epic battles that netted him $1 million each. (The first and third fights landed both men in the hospital and each was crowned Ring magazine’s Fight of the Year.) Micky retired in 2003 with a record of 38 wins — 27 by knockout — and 13 losses. Today, he runs a gym in nearby Chelmsford. Dicky had been training boxers at a Cambodian gym in downtown Lowell — a gym that had been renovated to house his training business — but lately he hasn’t been showing up. Now he trains fighters at Micky’s.

Read Dicky Eklund’s full story in our March issue.

From Michael Finkel’s The Blind Man Who Taught Himself To See

The first thing Daniel Kish does, when I pull up to his tidy gray bungalow in Long Beach, California, is make fun of my driving. “You’re going to leave it that far from the curb?” he asks. He’s standing on his stoop, a good 10 paces from my car. I glance behind me as I walk up to him. I am, indeed, parked about a foot and a half from the curb.

The second thing Kish does, in his living room a few minutes later, is remove his prosthetic eyeballs. He does this casually, like a person taking off a smudged pair of glasses. The prosthetics are thin convex shells, made of acrylic plastic, with light brown irises. A couple of times a day they need to be cleaned. “They get gummy,” he explains. Behind them is mostly scar tissue. He wipes them gently with a white cloth and places them back in.

Kish was born with an aggressive form of cancer called retinoblastoma, which attacks the retinas. To save his life, both of his eyes were removed by the time he was 13 months old. Since his infancy — Kish is now 44 — he has been adapting to his blindness in such remarkable ways that some people have wondered if he’s playing a grand practical joke. But Kish, I can confirm, is completely blind.

He knew my car was poorly parked because he produced a brief, sharp click with his tongue. The sound waves he created traveled at a speed of more than 1,000 feet per second, bounced off every object around him, and returned to his ears at the same rate, though vastly decreased in volume.

But not silent. Kish has trained himself to hear these slight echoes and to interpret their meaning. Standing on his front stoop, he could visualize, with an extraordinary degree of precision, the two pine trees on his front lawn, the curb at the edge of his street, and finally, a bit too far from that curb, my rental car. Kish has given a name to what he does — he calls it “FlashSonar” — but it’s more commonly known by its scientific term, echolocation.

Bats, of course, use echolocation. Beluga whales too. Dolphins. And Daniel Kish. He is so accomplished at echolocation that he’s able to pedal his mountain bike through streets heavy with traffic and on precipitous dirt trails. He climbs trees. He camps out, by himself, deep in the wilderness. He’s lived for weeks at a time in a tiny cabin a two-mile hike from the nearest road. He travels around the globe. He’s a skilled cook, an avid swimmer, a fluid dance partner. Essentially, though in a way that is unfamiliar to nearly any other human being, Kish can see.

For more on Daniel Kish’s amazing ability, check out our March issue.


  • Swimming with elephants in the Bay of Bengal
  • Matt Taibbi on the indifferent man’s NCAA bracket
  • A twin-turbo Bentley races the Acela Express — and wins.
  • The only thing better than drinking beer? Cooking with it.
  • Bear Grylls on hangover cures and starting a fire with a car battery
  • All the deets and deals you need to ski into Spring

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. dannyb278 Says:

    I’ve had my 2002 triumph since 04 and that greeen Scrambler is the only bike that could pull me away from my Bonneville America.


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