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  • Barra Beach Beats

    Barra Beach Beats

    This is our fourth and final Day in Salvador da Bahia, the old capital of Brazil. I’m glad we made the choice to stay in the historic centre of Pelourinho. For all its seediness and decrepitude, it gives the traveller a taste a the real Brazil. It’s touristy but edgy, broken but charming, dirty and [...]

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  • At the Tomb of the Wild Bull

    At the Tomb of the Wild Bull

    Boxers don’t know they’re born these days. When I was a lad, they got knocked out before breakfast and still fought another 90 rounds with a broken jaw and one arm tied behind their back. Take Luis Angel Firpo, for example. Nicknamed the “Wild Bull of the Pampas,” this Argentine heavyweight was knocked down nine [...]

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  • The bucket list gets shorter

    The bucket list gets shorter

    On the advice of a nice Irish girl at our hostel in Palermo Soho, Herb and I took the metro from Plaza Italia on the green line up to Plaza San Martin on the blue to catch some of Argentina’s last group game vs. Nigeria. A short walk from the station, everyone was on the [...]

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  • Let’s Come Together

    Let’s Come Together

    In keeping with Proust, the olfactory sense is most often cited as most closely tied to memory. Yet, it is sounds – or more specifically music – that appear to me to anchor us to specific points of time in the past more strongly than anything else. On my travels, I have found that the [...]

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  • The Sunflower Effect?

    The Sunflower Effect?

    I’m writing this in a hostel in Buenos Aires, the first leg of what I hope will be the trip of a lifetime for me and my elder son Herbie. This past year or so of my life has been an extremely trying time for a number of reasons. First there was raising the money. [...]

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  • Latin Lessons: A History of Shady Relations

    Latin Lessons: A History of Shady Relations

      The following is the original text of an op-ed piece I wrote which appeared in today’s Taipei Times. I’m posting my original text because (naturally) I prefer it. There are several stylistic changes that I can’t see any good reason for and a couple of annoying mistakes, including in the very first sentence where [...]

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  • After Laughter Comes Tears: Wu-Tang’s Ghostface and Raekwon in Taipei

    After Laughter Comes Tears: Wu-Tang’s Ghostface and Raekwon in Taipei

    It’s hard to believe I was a month shy of my 17th birthday when Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) dropped in November 1993. Back then I can vividly recall running down Willesden High Road with a TDK copy in hand to breathlessly offer to my mate Jamal with the standard hip-hop imploration to “check dis [...]

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  • Let’s Stick to the Facts

    Let’s Stick to the Facts

    Everyone’s pissed off at the mo. I just got turned away from a 24-hour eatery across the road from my new place on Hot Spring Rd. because the boss doesn’t allow booze. In Taiwan. In a raucous stir-fry gaff. Seriously. The protesters who are currently making a move on the Executive Yuan, having occupied the [...]

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  • The Art of Storytelling

    The Art of Storytelling

    The KMT have been getting a hard time of late. No, seriously, hear me out. They may be trying to exploit legislative loopholes in a patently undemocratic fashion to force through a bill against mounting public opposition, but they’re always good for a story. Having worked my way through the 47-book Mr. Men series (cheers, [...]

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  • Sinking Feeling

    Sinking Feeling

        My 6-year-old loves nothing better than beating innocent bystanders to death and stealing their cars. If you’re still showing so much as a twitch of life as you lie prostrate in the gutter, guaranteed he’ll stomp it out of ya.* A first-grader and I’ve already caught him reflex aping the betel-nut chomping jaw [...]

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