Is That Wine You’ve Been Hoarding Actually Valuable?

A few months ago I stopped by an estate sale at one of the most beautiful houses in my town. I bought a couple things I didn’t need and ended up talking with the owner of the home. When he found out what I do for a living, he asked if I would have a look at his cellar. He had two old bottles of Dom Pérignon Champagne he thought might be valuable.

I felt a cold clutch of fear. It wasn’t the first time someone had told me about a bottle of wine that he or she thought might be worth a small fortune. I’m sorry to report this…

The Best (and Worst) Ways to Make Your Phone Battery Last

The Best (and Worst) Ways to Make Your Phone Battery Last
Illustration: PETE RYAN

If you’re out late with friends and your phone battery is dwindling, these smart, easy tips will ensure you make it through the night:

> First, dim your screen’s brightness and flip to “low power” mode. That’ll give you an extra hour or so of battery (for emergencies only).

> You should also close any draining apps—especially games, maps, social media. And click off location services so the GPS isn’t working overtime. Wait, who are FaceTiming?

> Always stash an Anker portable charger in your bag too. Its PowerIQ helps “deliver an optimum, high-speed charge to all devices.”

> Of course your Anker isn’t working. You used up all the charges three days ago.

> OK. Just keep the phone on airplane mode for now. That should stop your cellular data and Wi-Fi from sapping the battery.

> Seriously, stop turning off airplane mode just to text everyone about how you’re turning on airplane mode.

> Sure, go chat up the bartender. See if he’ll give you a quick charge.

> Are you streaming “Bird Box” right now?

> Yes. Fine. Scream at the phone for 20-30 minutes. I’m sure sonic vibrations will give you a little power—enough to hail an Uber.

> How can an Uber driver not have a phone charger?! This is America!

> Stick your phone out the window. I think the mixture of moonlight and wind power should get you out of the red.

> OK, give me your keys. I read this thing about Ben Franklin recently…

> For the love of god, stop tweeting about your plummeting battery!

> Yes, you’re right, I’m sure some body heat would warm up the lithium ion if we jog a quick marathon or two.

> No, of course you’re smart enough to invent cold fusion. Just maybe not tonight.

> Put. The jumper cables. Down.

> Are you sure the bartender said it was “cool” to crawl though his condo’s window to borrow a power cord? Are those sirens?

> No. No, you absolutely cannot plug your phone in there. Can’t you see the nice officer is charging his stun gun?

The Hottest Hair Color of the Moment Is…Gray

The Hottest Hair Color of the Moment is...Gray
Illustration: Sean McCabe

I thought I found my first gray hair yesterday, and I got so excited,” said 30-year-old Larkin Brown. Um, OK. When I confronted my own first grays a few years back, I was less “excited” and more “existentially panicked.” But attitudes toward gray are shifting. As a researcher and in-house stylist for the San Francisco visual-discovery engine Pinterest, Ms. Brown has recently been submerged in photos of women of all ages flaunting hair that is assertively and fashionably gray. Younger women are dyeing their locks in shades from slate to titanium, and those who are naturally fading are embracing their color.

On Pinterest—which reported an 879% jump in the use of the search term “going gray” from 2017 to 2018—you can find photos of platinum-haired women, including: one sporting gray and blue dreadlocks; brides with twisted silver updos; writer Joan Didion with a sterling bob in a 2015 Celine ad; and scores of stars who’ve made gray the latest outré status color, from Ariana Grande’s silken white strands to the steely cornrows on “The Hunger Games” actress Amandla Stenberg. Lady Gaga, an early adopter, recently tinged her icy Golden Globes updo with lilac. At a yoga class this week, I contorted behind a woman with short ashy hair who could have been 17 or 71 from the back. The new gray hair is more intentional than accidental.

Humans have been dyeing hair since the Ancient Egyptian era, but natural dyes like henna and chemical goop like Clairol’s game-changing 1950s home formulas have mostly focused on covering up rather than accentuating hair that’s lost its pigment. The last time gray hair was this hot was probably the 1700s, when Marie Antoinette types would dust wigs with white powder scented with lavender or orange flower.

On-purpose gray has come a long way since 18th-century rice flour. “More and more companies including our own are offering formulas to achieve silver hair,” said Annie Hu, the marketing director for color and texture at hair care company Joico, which counts Titanium among its top-five best-selling dye shades. Going gray if your hair is, say, brown demands a major commitment, involving multiple bleachings. Even embracing your natural gray can entail a lot of salon time to phase out existing dye. “Hair is a science experiment,” cautioned 33-year-old New York stylist Brittan White, who colors her own hair dove gray and counts dozens of unnatural silver foxes and fox-ettes among her clients. And gray is particularly tricky to get right.

STREAK QUEENS Perhaps even more striking than allover gray is the skunk-like addition of one supremely stylish white streak. Just ask Susan Sontag, Cruella De Vil or Daphne Guinness. A brazen white streak can also connote magical powers in the cartoon world (think Rogue in ’X-Men’).
STREAK QUEENS Perhaps even more striking than allover gray is the skunk-like addition of one supremely stylish white streak. Just ask Susan Sontag, Cruella De Vil or Daphne Guinness. A brazen white streak can also connote magical powers in the cartoon world (think Rogue in ’X-Men’). Illustration: Sean McCabe

So when I explored dyeing my hair (which is normally reddish, boosted with highlights) fully gray for this story, pros quickly nixed the idea. They dissuaded me from spending multiple days at the salon submitting to arduous bleaching. Instead, New York editorial hair stylist Edward Lampley devised a temporary alternative: I’d spend one day with a grayish-violet powdered updo and another capped by a more extreme grayish-blonde wig. Not exactly Cruella de Vil, but enough for me to glean what it might feel like to be a 30-something gray-haired woman.

“Is this a Gaga thing?!” asked an esteemed colleague on Grayish-Violet Updo Day, near the (actual) water cooler. I was mortified that people might think I’d been enthusiastic enough about the singer’s recent Golden Globes look to spend two hours re-creating it for work. But, like Gaga’s, the dusty French twist was clearly artificial and, judging by the mostly encouraging feedback, striking. I’d absolutely recreate it for a special night out in the hopes of looking like a low-rent version of streaky-haired heiress Daphne Guinness.

Grayish-Blonde Wig Day was less successful. A sampling of reactions, from a day at the office and an after-work art opening: “It changes your look radically”; “Just…no”; “Not flattering”; “You don’t look healthy”; and, most worryingly, “Are you OK?”

That reception may have been tinged by the lumpy shape of the cheapo wig I wore. But the ashy color did wash out my complexion in a Crypt Keeper kind of way. Gray hair—fake or natural—must jive with your coloring to work. When it does, the results can be splendid: It was only after 60-year-old New York set designer Jocelyne Beaudoin stopped coloring her curly blondish-gray hair that she became a style icon, modeling for brands like Rachel Comey. Inspired by Meryl Streep’s fierce white-haired editor in “A Devil Wears Prada,” Ms. Beaudoin underwent a nearly-two-year process to transition from colored to natural hair, finding that it complemented her fair skin and blue eyes. “As you get older, for certain skin colors, it’s softer around your face. That’s more flattering.”

KEEP IT COOL To counteract yellowing tresses, products with cool blue tones are essential for gray hair. Some options, from left: Amika Conditioner, $24, sephora.com; Klorane Shampoo, $15, ulta.com; Joico Toning Foam, $22, ulta.com; Touch-Up Spray, $32, oribe.com; Sachajuan Shampoo, $28, davidpirrotta.com.
KEEP IT COOL To counteract yellowing tresses, products with cool blue tones are essential for gray hair. Some options, from left: Amika Conditioner, $24, sephora.com; Klorane Shampoo, $15, ulta.com; Joico Toning Foam, $22, ulta.com; Touch-Up Spray, $32, oribe.com; Sachajuan Shampoo, $28, davidpirrotta.com. Photo: F. Martin Ramin/ The Wall Street Journal

She did feel compelled to adjust her makeup and wardrobe when she went gray, swapping red lipstick for toned-down pinky reds, and switching out more starkly colored clothing for softer grays, camels and creams. While the exact palette adjustment depends on your natural coloring, most women agreed that gray hair requires…something. When I popped that platinum wig on, I immediately fled to the office bathroom to rim my eyes with navy eye liner. The hair stylist Ms. White said, “I feel like I definitely need a little bit of a blush, or some kind of a lip thing, even if it’s just a neutral color.”

But let’s get down to silver tacks: Is gray aging? Not necessarily on younger women, who benefit from the contrast between a fresh face and silvery hair, as evidenced by British editor and street-style star Sarah Harris, who is in her 30s. Rhiannon Gardier, 38, an Arizona stay-at-home mother who chronicles her natural “silver curl journey” on social media, said, “People think that it’s aging, and it’s not. Every time people give me a compliment, it’s always followed with, ‘You have such a young face—you look like you’re 20.’” As for those whose faces show their age, some of the over-50 women I spoke to enthused that they felt less “invisible” once they’d gone gray, and that their hair looked healthier.

Plus, looking young is not necessarily the point. “What nonsensical piece of logic in society says that women should always have hair that looks like they’re 26?” asked Wieden and Kennedy’s co-president Colleen DeCourcy, who stopped coloring her sleek bob three years ago at age 50. As the leader of an international ad agency, she hopes to set a positive example for the young women she encounters: “I didn’t want the first things I was trying to accomplish to be pretty or young. I wanted it to be: wise, don’t give a f—, authentic, empowered.”

1. Matte Dove Appearances aside, I don’t coo. 2. Streaky Lavender I have 56,000 Instagram followers. 3. Pure White Don’t get me near that red wine. 4. Light Ash I’m president of the Khaleesi fan club. 5. Deep Gunmetal Get out of my way. Out!
1. Matte Dove Appearances aside, I don’t coo. 2. Streaky Lavender I have 56,000 Instagram followers. 3. Pure White Don’t get me near that red wine. 4. Light Ash I’m president of the Khaleesi fan club. 5. Deep Gunmetal Get out of my way. Out! Photo: F. Martin Ramin/ The Wall Street Journal

Annie Hu of Joico connected the trend to a larger movement toward transparency in beauty: “We’re at a time when we are embracing so much individuality and authenticity.” For the young women painstakingly dyeing their hair gray at great cost, it’s more about the illusion of authenticity, which makes sense in the context of a style moment which emphasizes prominent eyeglasses and Eileen Fisher-inspired turtlenecks. Old is in.

But as with any outside-of-the-box trend, women in creative industries can experiment more freely than those in traditionally buttoned-up workplaces. New York-based finance wizard and Wall Street trailblazer Alexandra Lebenthal, 54, admitted, “It makes me sad to say it, but I cannot see a woman at a big corporation deciding to do that. You’re not really supposed to step out of the mold.” On the other hand, Ms. Beaudoin thinks that her set-design career was actually boosted by her gray ’do. “My business is such a business of youth that I’ve always been so concerned about how I was going to age out of my job,” she confessed. “But since I’m not trying to hide my age, and I’m embracing it, people respect that. Plus, it looks good. I work mostly in fashion, and you have to look good.”

When I tested grayish styles at our casual office, my colleagues seemed more concerned with how the shades worked with my outfits (and how long my wig wrap took) than whether it aged me. I did avoid wearing my glasses, though, nervous about looking more like Mrs. Claus than a fashion editor. I’d like to think that when my gray takes over, I’ll be as empowered to own it as Ms. DeCourcy—life goals!—but it’s hard to imagine losing the color that connects me to my mom, brothers and daughter, all redheads to some degree.

In a 2011 episode of “The Simpsons” called “The Blue and the Gray,” Marge is inspired by a sprightly platinum-haired woman to dye her naturally blue beehive gray. When she comes home her daughter Lisa says, “I know I use the word ‘empowering’ a lot, but this time it really is that!” When Marge returns to cobalt after mixed reactions, she wonders if she’s copping out, but Lisa reassures her, “As a feminist, virtually anything a woman does is empowering!” Matt Groening’s tiny philosopher is right: It’s not the color that’s liberating, it’s the option to choose whichever color you’d like.

Does He or Doesn’t He?

For men of steel, dyeing is a different game—all about leaving just enough gray that you look…plausible

MR. SLATE George Clooney’s salt-and-pepper coif is a look men’s products aim to simulate.
MR. SLATE George Clooney’s salt-and-pepper coif is a look men’s products aim to simulate. Photo: Getty Images

Women think men have it nice ‘n’ easy when it comes to our hair’s eventual loss of pigment. According to a 2019 report by market-research firm Mintel, when women were asked if it’s more “acceptable” for a man to go gray than a woman, they were significantly more likely than guys to agree. Mintel’s findings suggest that men find conspicuous aging relatively treacherous, yet only four in 10 considered it socially acceptable to color their hair.

In my experience, men dread the prospect of being caught with fake, shoe-polish locks—known as “Dracula cap”—but aren’t nuts either about going entirely mad-scientist gray like the dotty Dr. Emmett Brown in “Back to the Future.” The desirable compromise? “Salt-and-pepper has a level of sophistication that can be mouthwatering,” stylist Mary Alice Stephenson told this paper in 2013.

Bizarrely, I desired this mouthwatering look when I was only 21, a strapping art student with a full head of lame mousey hair. I had grown up in the backwater of Edmonton, Canada, craving sophistication, the sort of 12-year-old who wrote pestering letters to Manhattan ad agencies for tips on “breaking into the business.” I convinced one of my art-college friends to attempt to dye my hair “salt-and-pepper” in his moldy bathroom.

It turned out mauve.

Twenty years later, fate got around to more accurately fulfilling my dreams. I had a passably glamorous publishing job in New York and drab hair that was naturally distinguished by a heavy sprinkling of gray at the temples. I fretted over this. I looked, to put it politely, like a sophisticated old fart.

I’ve since heard of younger Wall Street types or assistant district attorneys who ask their stylists to dust their hair with gray to command more respect at work or even to look sexier, but I’m pretty sure no one’s mouth was watering at the sight of my head.

The gray colonized more and more of my scalp. After unsatisfying dalliances with Clairol’s Natural Instincts home coloring kits (it’s natural! it’s instinctive!) whose artificial-looking tints washed out over time, I gave up. For years.

Then one day a stylist tempted me with Redken’s Color Camo process, promising it would blend in pigment but leave just enough gray to avoid Dracula cap. I would, she assured me, be a near-dead-ringer for George Clooney after she was done. Instead, my hair looked like a cheap faux fur, uniformly minkish in tone. “I think I left it in too long,” she murmured, almost to herself.

That plausible, salt-and-pepper Clooney effect has been the Holy Grail for graying men since Grecian Formula 16, the first notable coloring product for men, debuted in 1962. To reassure guys that “[getting] rid of some of the gray but not all of it” is a manly pursuit, its maker, Combe, cast its commercials with athletes like MLB all-star Pete Rose and Oakland Raider George Blanda (“no phony dye job for me”), claiming its pointedly colorless potion was “as easy to use as water.” Even at 21, I viewed this skeptically, and now that I’m almost entirely, resignedly gray, I find it far easier to stick to actual water.

Dare to Cook Photo-Free (And Love It So Much More)

Hard as it is to fathom in an age when we Instagram every plate and sauté with one eye on YouTube, cookbooks once came without photos.

There is, after all, information an image can’t convey. “A photograph doesn’t tell you what to do when the meat is dry or the chicken is old and tough,” said Matt Sartwell, managing partner of the New York City bookshop Kitchen Arts & Letters.

I…

Why Boxing Is the Best Workout of 2019

HIT PARADE Title Boxing Club’s redesigned gyms feature classes inspired by pro pugilists’ workouts.
HIT PARADE Title Boxing Club’s redesigned gyms feature classes inspired by pro pugilists’ workouts.

At Rumble, a Manhattan fitness studio that could pass for a more hardcore version of SoulCycle, a swanky white entry decked in emoji-like logos and pop art leads to a crimson-lit workout room. Instead of bikes, however, the room is filled with bags, swinging under heavy assault.

Rumble—which launched in New York in 2016 before expanding to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and last year sold a minority stake to luxury mega-gym Equinox—is at the forefront of the boutique-ification of boxing, a sport more likely to evoke the sweaty ambience of “Rocky” than a Victoria’s Secret outlet. The combat sport has evolved into something a casual gym-goer might try. Among the catalysts: social media-savvy supermodels like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Adriana Lima, and stylish male celebs like David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, and Scott Eastwood—all of whom happily Instagram jabs and crosses.

“Celebrities started showing that boxing didn’t have to be grungy,” said Andy Stenzler, Rumble’s CEO. “That you didn’t have to hit each other to get a great workout.” Boxing may be a centuries-old sport, but the combination of inviting spaces, trainers who aren’t bullies and circuit-style classes feels fresh.

The action at Rumble.
The action at Rumble.

Aspiring sluggers spend half of each session clobbering the bags, the other half executing strength exercises using body weight, dumbbells and lighter brass knuckle weights ($36/class, $3 to rent gloves, rumble-boxing.com).

At Rumble, the glossy leather gloves don’t reek of sweat; they’re stored on ski-boot heaters that kill bacteria. The teardrop-shaped bags don’t hurt your wrists; they’re filled with water, more forgiving than sand. And the sequences—described in punchy graphics beamed along the crown of each studio’s wall and synchronized to music—are easy to follow. There’s no fear of getting struck in the face by a classmate, either. “We want it to be fun, not intimidating,” said Mr. Stenzler.

Subtract the combat and boxing is still a killer total-body workout. “You’re constantly moving,” explained Chris Gagliardi, a certified personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. “It’s challenging muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, body composition, your brain. You’re working on power, speed, balance, agility, coordination. It’s a lot of bang for your buck,” he said.

“You’re exhausted, dripping sweat, and have worked so hard you can’t hold your arms up,” added account executive Minna Ramos, 26, who trains at Rumble in New York. “But you walk out feeling confident, inspired. That’s what keeps me going.”

People just want to go hit something, and boxing is great to alleviate that stress in a very healthy way.

Americans have re-embraced boxing for reasons beyond the appeal of smart marketing and body benefits. “The world is more stressed than ever,” said Susan Boresow, president of Title Boxing Club, which was founded in 2008 and now operates more than 175 studios in the U.S. “People just want to go hit something, and boxing is a great way to alleviate that stress in a very healthy way.”

While Title’s gyms were originally designed with cage paneling and a dark, gritty atmosphere that paid homage to pugilists, the chain undertook a redesign influenced by the success of boutique gyms when it began franchising in 2012. “We rebranded with a brighter, cleaner look,” said Ms. Boresow—better lighting, light wood floors, pops of red. Title’s noncontact HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes are inspired by workouts performed by pros like WBA welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao. And for today’s fitness-tracking nerds, some clubs feature bags with innovative sensors that measure how hard and how frequently you hit, displaying scores on wall-mounted TVs (memberships from $59/mo., titleboxingclub.com).

Meanwhile, Rumble is taking things further with At Home 360, a Peloton-esque venture that combines a Technogym boxing bag ($1,700, technogym.com) with a $39/mo. subscription for live and on-demand Rumble classes streamed to your smartphone.

Other cleaned-up gyms offer noncontact circuit classes: There’s Everybody Fights, in Boston and Kentucky; Shadowbox in Brooklyn, Dallas and Austin; and L.A.’s Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, owned by former world champ Floyd Mayweather, which plans to add 500 gyms in the next five years.

“It was just a matter of time before it became more appealing to the masses, thanks to the popularity of UFC and MMA,” said Mr. Gagliardi. “Now you have bright, open environments where you can still be hardcore”—a classic one-two punch.

PUNCH UP YOUR GYM BAG // Breaking in Your Own Boxing Gear Can Lead to a Better Workout
Why Boxing Is the Best Workout of 2019

Everlast 1910 Gloves The name of these classic mitts pays homage to the year the iconic brand was born, but details, like premium leather, a ventilated palm and a flexible fit, are all modern. $80, everlast.com

Why Boxing Is the Best Workout of 2019

Sanabul Elastic Pro Boxing Wraps Hand wraps keep sweat from KO’ing your gloves, but often harbor that stench instead. This set is made of a breathable polyester blend that won’t irritate skin. $7, sanabulsports.com

Why Boxing Is the Best Workout of 2019

Reebok Boxing Boot Rereleased in 2018 with a new mid-cut design to allow for more flexibility, these boxing boots are crucial for nailing all that Ali-esque footwork without rolling an ankle. $100, reebok.com

Why Boxing Is the Best Workout of 2019

Title Weighted Plastic Speed Rope Skipping rope is one of the most effective forms of cardio for improving endurance, balance and footwork; weighted handles add an extra challenge. $13, titleboxing.com

Cambodia: The Chicest New Beach Destination in Asia

OVERLOOKED NO MORE Cambodia's Six Senses Krabey Island resort, slated to open in March, is one of a crop of new resorts on the country's southern coast.
OVERLOOKED NO MORE Cambodia’s Six Senses Krabey Island resort, slated to open in March, is one of a crop of new resorts on the country’s southern coast. Photo: Six Senses

Mention Cambodia to a reasonably worldly traveler and she’ll invariably picture Angkor Wat, the sprawling temple complex in the jungle’s depths. Tourists tend to squeeze the millennia-old site into a grander tour of Southeast Asia, their sole whistle-stop in the country. But for a 21st-century perspective on Cambodia’s assets, you’d be wise to look to the coastline, which unfurls some 275 miles between Thailand and Vietnam. Over the past few years, the southern stretch, dotted with islands, has been morphing from bucolic backwater into a bona fide beach destination, with resorts rapidly materializing.

The area’s main gateway is Sihanoukville, a port city named for a former king. An increasing number of regional flights bring in a hodgepodge of sunseekers—weekenders from the capital Phnom Penh, European tourists on package holidays and backpackers looking to disconnect on the beach. Not too long ago, this small seaside city had the languor of a sleepy beach town. Now, casinos with names like Wisney World dot its blocks, the constant whine of grinders and circular saws backdrops conversation and new construction is swallowing up public beaches. Fortunately, you needn’t stay long: High-speed ferries deliver visitors to nearby islands and the hotels that line their powdery, more meditative beaches.

A beach villa at Alila Villas Koh Russey, which opened in November.
A beach villa at Alila Villas Koh Russey, which opened in November.

Take the island of Koh Russey and its new Alila Villas Koh Russey resort, a 15-minute speedboat ride from the mainland. Opened last November on a previously uninhabited nature reserve, it’s Singapore-based Alila Villas’ first high-end property in Cambodia. Since guests catch the boat on a jetty just outside Sihanoukville, they can largely avoid the noisy city en route to the resort’s 63 beachfront rooms or villas rooted among the pines, coconut and ironwood trees and thickets of bamboo. (Koh means island and russey means bamboo in the national language, Khmer.) In each room, vast glass sliding doors open to the sounds of waves and views of the Gulf of Thailand’s jade-green water rolling until the horizon (from around $575 a night, alilahotels.com).

This March, the hotel group Six Senses—known for combining wellness with upscale swellness—will open its 16th resort (its first in Cambodia) just a hot stone’s throw from Koh Russey on a neighboring island. Spread across 30 acres on a forested rocky hill, the 40 villas, all free-standing and chicly modern, come furnished with private plunge pools. The 21,000-square-foot spa and fitness center will offer aerial yoga (practitioners contort within hammocks) and facials with a gold-leaf mask, among all the more standard fare (from $663 a night, sixsenses.com).

Alila Villas Koh Russey resort's main pool.
Alila Villas Koh Russey resort’s main pool.

Just under an hour’s high-speed ferry ride from Sihanoukville lies the Koh Rong archipelago. Spread over a dozen or so islands, the accommodation options range from cheap-and-cheerful beach bungalows to Song Saa, a glamorous all-villa retreat housed on its own pair of private islands (linked by a footpath). Song Saa, which opened in 2012, may well have kicked off coastal Cambodia’s makeover as a luxury travel scene. Some of the 27 villas, all with sea views, are overwater; others have private beaches. There’s a spa and a waterspouts center; the poolside-restaurant surprises by offering “Cambodian Street Food” (From $1,440 a night, all-inclusive, songsaa.com)

On Koh Rong, the archipelago’s largest island, the main village reliably lures backpackers. It’s filled with affordable places to swig a beer, arrange boat tours and eat beachside coconut-milk curry. On the island’s Long Set Beach, you can swim at night with the bioluminescent phytoplankton that light up in the dark as soon as you brush past them. And now, for travelers who enjoy the backpacker vibe but not their lodging choices, there’s the Royal Sands resort. Opened last year on another of the island’s bays, it brings a touch of Santorini to Cambodia, with its 67 whitewashed bungalows facing a long stretch of deserted beach (from $450 a night, royalsandskohrong.com).

Cambodia: The Chicest New Beach Destination in Asia
Illustration: JASON LEE

Back on the mainland, a couple of hours east down the coast from Sihanoukville, sit a couple of equally attractive destinations. At Kampot, on the Tuek Chhou river, you can stroll around the old town’s grid of French colonial buildings or take a sunset cruise for an unprincely $3 a person. Kep, a 30-minute journey past Kampot, was a trendy haunt during the French colonial days, then was all but destroyed during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s. Today Kep is making something of a comeback thanks to its picturesque national park, vital seafood markets (fresh crab is a big deal here) and a clutch of fine resorts. Among the most stylish, Knai Bang Chatt, a seaside compound of renovated modernist villas, was one of the lone high-end hotels in the region when it opened in 2006. Now, it’s just one of many reasons why travelers may choose to linger in Cambodia a little longer.

Big Questions—and a Few Answers—Coming Out of the Detroit Auto Show

NO LONGER SHOCKING GAC's Entranze highlighted an array of concepts that foretell of an all-EV future.
NO LONGER SHOCKING GAC’s Entranze highlighted an array of concepts that foretell of an all-EV future. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

In a boon for the city of Detroit, the North American International Auto Show will be moved from January to June, and from the charmless chasm of Cobo Center into the streets of a very happening downtown core. The city is already prepping exhibition space for the first summer show, in 2020, the week after IndyCar’s Belle Isle race. Show organizers will line up cars along the riverfront and create an “auto plaza” around Jefferson and Woodward avenues, like a new-car concours d’elegance. Brilliant.

Which only leaves us to survive this last winter auto show, going on through Jan. 27 at Cobo Center. And Monday morning, as the wind off the icy Detroit River bit through my overcoat, I thought, Thank God.

But 18 months! What will the auto world be like when the Detroit show emerges from its cruddy chrysalis? Which one of the smiling executives I meet today will be food for worms? And do I really want to see a bunch of journalists in shorts?

More in Rumble Seat

The past few years, most import luxury manufacturers have foregone the pleasures of Motor City in January, the notable exception being Lexus, which this week unveiled its LC Convertible Concept, a quite fabulous retractable softtop version of the LC Coupe. I have every confidence a June date will help lure the Germans back. They love sunshine.

This week’s newsmakers also reflect the show’s growing regionalism: the new Kia Telluride, with eight seats and 3.8-liter V6 engine, is yet another wide-body, three-row SUV destined to take up two parking spaces at America’s malls. It’s door handle to door handle with the new Hyundai Palisade, Subaru Ascent SUV, and other once-unthinkable syllables.

Some franchises got rebooted: At an event Jan. 9, at Ford Field, company execs unveiled the redesigned Ford Explorer. Built on a new rear-drive architecture, the 2020 Explorer (starting around $33,000) makes four power-plant offerings: a 2.3-liter, 300-hp turbocharged four; a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 making 365 hp or 400 hp, depending on tune; or a hybrid system, with a 3.3-liter V6 producing a net 318 hp and 336 pound-feet of torque. Nice puffy vests, gentlemen.

Nissan’s IM concept, an EV sports sedan that the brand claims will get 380 miles of range per charge.
Nissan’s IM concept, an EV sports sedan that the brand claims will get 380 miles of range per charge. Photo: Paul Sancya/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Against the backdrop of plant idlings, GM this week announced that its Cadillac division would lead the company’s electrification campaign, using a new battery-electric platform, to compete with luxury electrics, primarily Tesla. Trouble is, brand-wise, the first of these Cadillac EVs will hit the market in three years—in time for 2021 Detroit auto show, maybe. By then Tesla will have been building era-defining cars for more than a decade. It’s also months and even years behind premium-luxury flagship EVs due from Jaguar, Audi and Porsche. Cadillac’s announcement was effectively a commitment to lead from behind.

Meanwhile, helping fund Cadillac’s electrified future will be the new, petrol-powered XT6, a spruce-y version of the GMC Acadia with three-row seating, flexible cargo space (max 78.7 cubic feet) and prices starting at around $50,000, unofficially.

In 18 months, who knows who will be up or down, the Empire or the Rebellion? On Monday VW announced it would build a new EV crossover at its campus in Chattanooga, Tenn., an investment worth $800 million, creating 1,000 jobs.

Cadillac’s announcement that its first EV could arrive in 2021 was effectively a commitment to lead from behind.

Nissan, which also has huge manufacturing plants in Tennessee, whipped the silk off its intriguing EV concept, the IMs. Nissan called the design an “elevated sports car sedan.” The IMs is an experiment in making this posture cool-looking, with fractal body sculpting, daring interplays of light and shadow and dramatic vertical fender louvers—an Uber in Tron-land.

Hanging over both VW and Nissan plans was the fate of federal tax credits for EVs, which the Trump administration has threatened. If ending them is even doable, it would scramble the auto makers’ electrification efforts in the U.S. When? In the next 18 months.

SHOW STOPPERS Car geeks were thrilled at the unveiling of Toyota?s redesigned Supra, set for 2020.
SHOW STOPPERS Car geeks were thrilled at the unveiling of Toyota?s redesigned Supra, set for 2020. Photo: Daniel Mears/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A few cool cars showed up in Detroit, despite the headwinds: The 2020 Toyota Supra is a thickly muscled little sport coupe powered by innards shared with BMW ’s Z4, including its 3.0-liter, twin-scroll turbo I6 producing 335 hp.

How about a little fire, Scarecrow? Ford also unveiled its latest, liveliest Mustang, the Shelby GT500, powered by a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 with a cross-plane crank, good for more than 700 hp. That should keep up with Joneses, and keep the Joneses up too.

At their best, auto shows ask questions about the future. With that in mind, my pick for Best in Show is the GAC Entranze EV concept. GAC— Guangzhou Automobile Group —is a venerable car-making giant only 10 years old, with now-indefinite plans to enter the U.S. market by 2020. GAC execs have made the trip to Detroit in January for the last five years, so props for that.

The Entranze itself is fairly conventional concept-car futurism—pillarless glass doors, open floor plan, lots of impossible sightlines. Eye candy. But behind the model are a set of assumptions about the relationship between China and the U.S. that are suddenly and dramatically nonoperative. There is no doubt GAC will export a globally competitive luxury electric one day, maybe as soon as 18 months from now. But it’s now hard to imagine how Americans will ever get to kick the tires.

See you in June 2020 and, please, forget your shorts.

Why Boxing Is the Hot Workout of 2019

HIT PARADE Title Boxing Club’s redesigned gyms feature classes inspired by pro pugilists’ workouts.
HIT PARADE Title Boxing Club’s redesigned gyms feature classes inspired by pro pugilists’ workouts.

At Rumble, a Manhattan fitness studio that could pass for a more hardcore version of SoulCycle, a swanky white entry decked in emoji-like logos and pop art leads to a crimson-lit workout room. Instead of bikes, however, the room is filled with bags, swinging under heavy assault.

Rumble—which launched in New York in 2016 before expanding to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and last year sold a minority stake to luxury mega-gym Equinox—is at the forefront of the boutique-ification of boxing, a sport more likely to evoke the sweaty ambience of “Rocky” than a Victoria’s Secret outlet. The combat sport has evolved into something a casual gym-goer might try. Among the catalysts: social media-savvy supermodels like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Adriana Lima, and stylish male celebs like David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, and Scott Eastwood—all of whom happily Instagram jabs and crosses.

“Celebrities started showing that boxing didn’t have to be grungy,” said Andy Stenzler, Rumble’s CEO. “That you didn’t have to hit each other to get a great workout.” Boxing may be a centuries-old sport, but the combination of inviting spaces, trainers who aren’t bullies and circuit-style classes feels fresh.

The action at Rumble.
The action at Rumble.

Aspiring sluggers spend half of each session clobbering the bags, the other half executing strength exercises using body weight, dumbbells and lighter brass knuckle weights ($36/class, including gloves, rumble-boxing.com).

At Rumble, the glossy leather gloves don’t reek of sweat; they’re stored on ski-boot heaters that kill bacteria. The teardrop-shaped bags don’t hurt your wrists; they’re filled with water, more forgiving than sand. And the sequences—described in punchy graphics beamed along the crown of each studio’s wall and synchronized to music—are easy to follow. There’s no fear of getting struck in the face by a classmate, either. “We want it to be fun, not intimidating,” said Mr. Stenzler.

Subtract the combat and boxing is still a killer total-body workout. “You’re constantly moving,” explained Chris Gagliardi, a certified personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. “It’s challenging muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, body composition, your brain. You’re working on power, speed, balance, agility, coordination. It’s a lot of bang for your buck,” he said.

“You’re exhausted, dripping sweat, and have worked so hard you can’t hold your arms up,” added account executive Minna Ramos, 26, who trains at Rumble in New York. “But you walk out feeling confident, inspired. That’s what keeps me going.”

People just want to go hit something, and boxing is great to alleviate that stress in a very healthy way.

Americans have re-embraced boxing for reasons beyond the appeal of smart marketing and body benefits. “The world is more stressed than ever,” said Susan Boresow, president of Title Boxing Club, which was founded in 2008 and now operates more than 175 studios in the U.S. “People just want to go hit something, and boxing is a great way to alleviate that stress in a very healthy way.”

While Title’s gyms were originally designed with cage paneling and a dark, gritty atmosphere that paid homage to pugilists, the chain undertook a redesign influenced by the success of boutique gyms when it began franchising in 2012. “We rebranded with a brighter, cleaner look,” said Ms. Boresow—better lighting, light wood floors, pops of red. Title’s noncontact HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes are inspired by workouts performed by pros like WBA welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao. And for today’s fitness-tracking nerds, some clubs feature bags with innovative sensors that measure how hard and how frequently you hit, displaying scores on wall-mounted TVs (memberships from $59/mo., titleboxingclub.com).

Meanwhile, Rumble is taking things further with At Home 360, a Peloton-esque venture that combines a Technogym boxing bag ($1,700, technogym.com) with a $39/mo. subscription for live and on-demand Rumble classes streamed to your smartphone.

Other cleaned-up gyms offer noncontact circuit classes: There’s Everybody Fights, in Boston and Kentucky; Shadowbox in Brooklyn, Dallas and Austin; and L.A.’s Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, owned by former world champ Floyd Mayweather, which plans to add 500 gyms in the next five years.

“It was just a matter of time before it became more appealing to the masses, thanks to the popularity of UFC and MMA,” said Mr. Gagliardi. “Now you have bright, open environments where you can still be hardcore”—a classic one-two punch.

PUNCH UP YOUR GYM BAG // Breaking in Your Own Boxing Gear Can Lead to a Better Workout
Why Boxing Is the Hot Workout of 2019

Everlast 1910 Gloves The name of these classic mitts pays homage to the year the iconic brand was born, but details, like premium leather, a ventilated palm and a flexible fit, are all modern. $80, everlast.com

Why Boxing Is the Hot Workout of 2019

Sanabul Elastic Pro Boxing Wraps Hand wraps keep sweat from KO’ing your gloves, but often harbor that stench instead. This set is made of a breathable polyester blend that won’t irritate skin. $7, sanabulsports.com

Why Boxing Is the Hot Workout of 2019

Reebok Boxing Boot Rereleased in 2018 with a new mid-cut design to allow for more flexibility, these boxing boots are crucial for nailing all that Ali-esque footwork without rolling an ankle. $100, reebok.com

Why Boxing Is the Hot Workout of 2019

Title Weighted Plastic Speed Rope Skipping rope is one of the most effective forms of cardio for improving endurance, balance and footwork; weighted handles add an extra challenge. $13, titleboxing.com

The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines of 2018

The Wall Street Journal’s annual ranking of eight major U.S. airlines tracks flight delays, mishandled baggage and formal complaints, so you don’t have to. WSJ’s Scott McCartney hands out the awards. Photo: Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal.

Delta Air Lines is flying in one direction, American Airlines in the other. While Delta’s operation was best among major airlines, American remains stuck near the bottom when measuring its reliability against rival airlines.

How the Airlines Stack Up

The overall performances of the largest U.S. airlines on the Middle Seat scorecard, from 2016 to 2018.

The largest carrier ended up next-to-last in the annual Middle Seat scorecard ranking of eight major U.S. airlines. Only Frontier, dragged down by a contract dispute with pilots, performed worse overall in 2018.

This marked the 10th time in 11 years that American end up last or next-to-last in the scorecard, which ranks airlines on seven operational measures important to travelers. American’s results for 2018 were worse than 2017 in five of the seven categories.

The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines of 2018
Illustration: Rob Wilson

Delta has been in the top three every year since 2010, when it finished last. Over the past eight years, Delta has proved that a big airline can operate punctually.

Delta canceled less than 1% of its flights in 2018. American’s cancellation rate was nearly three times as high. Delta’s rate of lost or delayed baggage was half as bad as American’s. About 7% of Delta flights were late by 45 minutes or more. At Frontier, 15% of all flights suffered what are considered extreme delays.

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Alaska placed second overall, trailing Delta mostly because of higher rates of mishandled baggage and involuntary bumping of passengers.

Scorecard data come from the Transportation Department and from masFlight, the flight-data analytics unit of Global Eagle , which supplies services to airlines, cruise ships and others. (We don’t include Hawaiian Airlines because it doesn’t face the same mainland weather challenges.)

Frontier responded to questions about its last-place 2018 ranking with a statement saying the “operational disruption” resulted from contract negotiations with its pilots union. Negotiations took more than two years. Pilots ratified a new five-year contract last week. “While the disruption went on for longer than we had expected, we are pleased to be starting 2019 with a ratified collective bargaining agreement with our pilots,” company spokesman Jonathan Freed says.

Spirit, a low-cost carrier known for its low fares and high fees, showed significant improvement after placing next-to-last the previous three years. Spirit ranked fourth in 2018. It had the lowest rate of mishandled bags and nearly matched Delta’s rate of canceled flights.

2018 Airline Scorecard

Sort through the rankings of major carriers in key operational areas, best to worst

*JetBlue and United both ranked fifth in overall ranking

Sources: On-time, canceled flights and extreme delays data for full year 2018 from Global Eagle’s masFlight Analytics Platform; includes regional affiliate flights and international; Two-hour tarmac delays, mishandled baggage and consumer complaints from Transportation Department, based on 12 months ended in Oct.; DOT involuntary bumping based on 12 months ended September

Overall, last year was a challenging one for airlines and their passengers. This year may be even more turbulent if the government shutdown drags on and sporadic long security lines turn into major checkpoint meltdowns. In 2018, airlines didn’t run into big hurricanes like 2017, but last year persistent bad weather caused lots of delays at hub airports. United says nearly 7% of its flights during the year were affected by thunderstorms. Atlanta, Delta’s largest hub, had more than 70 inches of rain in 2018, the second-wettest year on record, according to the National Weather Service.

Delta repeated as champion in the Middle Seat scorecard rankings.
Delta repeated as champion in the Middle Seat scorecard rankings. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/ZUMA Press

The eight major carriers included in the scorecard posted an on-time arrivals rate of 78.9%, down slightly from 79.6% in 2017, according to masFlight. The airlines canceled about 5,000 more flights in 2018 than in 2017.

The good news: Fewer bags were mishandled, fewer passengers were bumped from flights and fewer complaints were filed with the DOT.

United ended up in the middle of the pack, in a tie with JetBlue for fifth place. The carrier says its “controllable” cancellation rate—cancellations from airline problems, not weather—was the best in its history. But weather weighed heavily on operations. Storms were more powerful and lasted longer, says Jim DeYoung, vice president of network operations.

“We’re very happy with our performance in 2018,” he says.

Delta says it had 143 days without a single cancellation among its mainline and regional flights, up from 90 no-cancellation days in 2017. In 2018, the airline saw only 55 flights canceled because of maintenance problems. In 2010, it had more than 5,000 maintenance cancellations, says Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer.

Spirit, a low-cost airline known for cheap fares and high fees, significantly improved its operations last year, moving up from seventh place to fourth place among major carriers. Spirit was best in baggage handling and had almost the same rate of canceled flights as No. 1 Delta. But it still is near the bottom in complaints.
Spirit, a low-cost airline known for cheap fares and high fees, significantly improved its operations last year, moving up from seventh place to fourth place among major carriers. Spirit was best in baggage handling and had almost the same rate of canceled flights as No. 1 Delta. But it still is near the bottom in complaints. Photo: Saul Martinez/Bloomberg News

But the key to reliability last year, he says, was how each airline performed during bad weather. “Even though our weather’s gotten worse, our gap to the other carriers has increased quite a bit,” Mr. West says.

One example: Delta spent more than $20 million last year to buy a dozen additional deicing trucks in Atlanta and build more deicing pads where airplanes get sprayed with chemicals that are collected in drains. That reduced cancellations and delays, Mr. West says.

“In one day, we’ll save 100 cancellations during a deicing event in Atlanta,” Mr. West says.

American and United say their hubs also got hit hard by bad weather. Dallas-Fort Worth, American’s largest hub, had the second-wettest year on record, with record rainfall in February, September and October, according to the weather service. The summer also was tough for American. In June, a lengthy computer outage at a regional subsidiary piled up delays in Charlotte. In addition, engine fan blade inspections required across the industry after a fatal accident on Southwest chewed up a lot of time for mechanics, delaying some nonessential summer prep work.

As a result, American says cancellations and delays from mechanical issues increased. But performance improved in the fall and during winter holiday periods, says Kerry Philipovitch, senior vice president for customer experience. “It’s not our plan to remain in last place” among the big three U.S. carriers, she says.

American finished next-to-last in the 2018 airline rankings. It was the 10th time in the 11-year history of the rankings that American placed in the bottom two.
American finished next-to-last in the 2018 airline rankings. It was the 10th time in the 11-year history of the rankings that American placed in the bottom two. Photo: Christian Van Grinsven/SOPA Images/Zuma Press

American says it is undertaking a number of initiatives to improve. The carrier is standardizing procedures at airports to speed up unloading and reloading planes. It’s also standardizing planes so that each 777-200, for example, has the same number of seats and can be used interchangeably when one breaks down.

“We’re starting to see some really good traction with some of the initiatives that we’ve launched,” says David Seymour, American’s senior vice president for integrated operations.

American says it is still working through some aspects of integration with US Airways. Delta merged with Northwest and United merged with Continental several years before American and US Airways combined, and American executives argue that’s a big reason why operational improvement lags behind rival airlines.

Yet Delta and United showed improvement within four years of closing their respective mergers. American’s merger closed five years ago.

MORE FROM THE MIDDLE SEAT

Write to Scott McCartney at middleseat@wsj.com

Appeared in the January 17, 2019, print edition.

The Easiest Way to Eat More Healthy Fish

It’s hard to argue with a dish so simple its name is essentially the recipe. The third Slow Food Fast contribution from chefs Colin Stringer and Jeremy Wolfe of Nonesuch in Oklahoma City combines roasted sardines with freshly baked flatbread, creamy yogurt and a scattering of herbs and radishes.

At Nonesuch, the chefs use only ingredients they can source within the state, and that does not include sardines. This is more the sort of meal they would throw together at home, when they’re off the clock.