Friday, February 25, 2005

I was wondering how long this would take.

China is upset again. Asia's powerhouse sure does have a thin skin. They don't want Bill Clinton to meet with President Chen Shui-bian because they don't like "political" leaders from other countries being seen as lending legitamacyto Taiwan. Then again, one can understand their frustration and confusion. For even when someone such as Jiang Zemin steps down from the presidency, he still can hold onto a few state posts and exert his power within the party. Not so in a democracy. Bill Clinton is coming to Taiwan as a private citizen and collecting a hefty speaking fee as well. More here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Cannabis helps prevent memory loss.

Who'd have thunk it? Back when you lost your keys, playing both detective and suspect in your tableau vivant of Poe's The Purloined Letter to the throb, crash and hum of Captain Beefheart, you may have been staving off Alzheimer's disease. So says The Guardian.

I cannot say that I am a boxing fan, but I am a fan of boxing, an incongruity that has surprised a few friends. I've never paid to see a live fight, nor have I played part in the pay-per-view scheme. Perhaps if I were to see a live fight, my interest would wane. Yet, I think Norman Mailer's "The Fight" is great piece of journalism, and I have enjoyed a number of Joyce Carol Oates pieces on the sport. The two sports that have captured the imagination of American writers are baseball, of course, and boxing. This piece in the Washington Monthly on women's boxing paints an ugly picture of the sport. Take a look.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Big Dawg is on his way?

As a US citizen, an Arkansan, a resident of Taiwan and two-time supporter of former president Bill Clinton, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that he has been invited to stop in Taiwan and is scheduled to make his appearance on February 27. As for the question mark, something could always go wrong. Enough dignitaries and performers have made last-minute cancelations on their way here, so I'll believe it when I see him on the concourse of Chiang Kai Shek Airport being hassled by Taiwan's overzealous press. More of a news release than a story, but if you like there's more here.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson is dead.

At the age of 67, Thompson shot himself. The inventor of "gonzo" journalism takes his leave. "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." HST. The New York Times has cobbled together a shoddy obit, of which I'm not going to post because its not worth your time or mine. I'm sure we'll see better and fuller soon.

Friday, February 18, 2005

On Caravaggio ...

I tend to shy away from reading about art extensively. John Berger is great, and I remember enjoying Otto Freidrich's book, Olympia: Paris in the Age of Manet some 15 years ago. Yet this three-part series in the Guardian on Caravaggio is well written, intriguing and absent the offputting jargon that many an art writer falls prey to.

Caveat lector- you shouldn't open the link if you have dinner plans or an appointment any time soon. It's a long, engrossing read. Here.
He's a funny man.

James Wolcott, who writes for Vanity Fair, is damn funny. His blog entries have a spluttering guffaw in every other sentence. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of his pen. Read his post on Michael Medved, laconically titled "Michael Medved is an Idiot."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

And you were worried about the coming invasion!

The real worry is of course the drying up of Taiwan. Yes, this plum of an island will be a shriveled prune by 2035. I know I shouldn't be so flippant when it comes to environmental issues, but this Taiwan News headline doesn't help. More.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The suicidal chef.

A book review on mental depression, the kitchen and the vain search for perfection makes me want to read it, but the biographer's quote at the end of the review "he was like a souffle that had fallen," strikes me as a trite, overpushed metaphor. And that makes me reconsider. Here it is.
Chinese New Year's vacation has ended.

So, if you think you sinned too much, here is a test to tell you where in Dante's hell you can expect to be when you meet your maker. The final exam.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

On rationalizing legitamacy ...

For those of us who are creatures of habit, who lack credibility because we refuse to fork out the cash for a Mac or cannot be bothered to learn Linux, the Firefox browser (as in I love tabs and the find function) brings with it a sniff of the alternative and an air of street cred.

As in, "I can't believe you still use Explorer." And "I'm sticking it to the man." (Of course we are doing this on a Windows operating system.)