Alec Baldwin Bows Out

In an apparently heartfelt goodbye, Alec Baldwin said his final farewell to public life in an emotional article on entertainment news site Vulture.

The cynic in me hears a PR person in the background going: “We’ve moved past the soft-soap interview Alex, you’re going to have to write this one in your own words.”

I’ve always liked Alex Baldwin, but he did have a bit of a meltdown last year. New baby in the house, not enough sleep, and being a bit flakey to start with will do that to you. Did he call Harvey Levin a cocksucker? Probably. Did he call him a faggot? Possibly, but there’s no proof, and as long as he says he didn’t, he didn’t. Of course, when celebrities are involved, people will gossip.

Some celebrities appear to have this very dysfuntional relationship with fame. Does Alec Baldwin believe he was paid $300K per episode of 30 Rock because he’s that great an actor? He was paid union rates for acting, plus a very large bonus for being public property. For being the kind of celebrity that everyone wants to photograph, everyone wants to own a small piece of. They still have the right to stand on street corners in New York like everyone else, but unlike everyone else people are going to notice them. Celebrities who don’t like that, still have the options of taking their tens of millions of dollars and going somewhere more anonymous.

Google To Russia: Suck It

Google outdid themselves again with their Doodle to celebrate the opening of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. As a special statement on the xxx of Russia’s homophobic politics and legislation, Google added this quote from the Olympic Charter:

The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

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Eating & Drinking in Taipei

An ideal place to start exploring Taiwan’s deliciously exotic culinary spectrum is at one of Taipei’s night markets. If you’re a Westerner, set aside your prejudices as to what is edible and what isn’t, and dive right in. Pro-tip: nearly everything sold as food at night markets can be considered edible. However, not everything might be palatable.

Hia Xi Night Market

Hia Xi Night Market

Local residents flock to night markets for dinner on the move.

Local residents flock to night markets for dinner on the move.

 

Seafood and shellfish

Seafood and shellfish

Juice bar - fresh is best

Juice bar - fresh is best

Several markets in Taipei are open by day as well, mostly from early afternoon. For the weary traveller, this is an excellent opportunity to use daylight to make sure your next meal isn’t still alive.

Not everything sold at a night market is edible

Not everything sold at a night market is edible!

Of course Taipei also has its share of restaurants catering to every taste (such as the Sherwood Hotel’s Yi Yuan restaurant’s excellent Peking duck).

Sad Super Hot Noodles

Sad Super Hot Noodles

 

Deciding what to get...

Deciding what to get...

 

Edward endorsing the food at the 101 Taipei Building Observatory Restaurant

Edward endorsing the food at the Taipei 101 Building Observatory Restaurant

For Westerners wishing to restore their equilibrium with something familiar, there’s always the Brass Monkey pub.

Brass Monkey Pub

Brass Monkey Pub

Draft beer on tap at your table.

Draft beer on tap at your table.

And of course, finally something sweet to cool you down: iced green tea served with clotted cream and sugar!

Taipei 101 Building

For a while there, the Taipei 101 building was the tallest building in the world, until it was overtaken by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2010. The 509.2m high building is currently the second tallest building in the world, and was the first building in the world to break the half a kilometer mark.

Taipei 101 building disappearing into the clouds

Taipei 101 building disappearing into clouds

Tuned mass damper

Tuned mass damper

A 660 tonne steel pendulum serves as a tuned mass damper, swaying from side to side to compensate for the movement of the building caused by gusts of wind. This prevents structural damage to the building during frequent typhoons.

National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine, Taipei

The National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine is dedicated to the Republic of China’s war dead. From Wikipedia:

Built on Chingshan Mountain and overseeing the Keelung River in Taipei’s Zhongshan District in 1969, the Martyrs Shrine recalls the architecture of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in Beijing’s Forbidden City. The structure houses the spirit tablets of about 390,000 persons killed, among other engagements, during the Xinhai Revolution, Northern Expedition, Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War, and the First and Second Taiwan Strait Crises.

Entrance to the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine

Entrance to the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine

Changing of the guards at the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine.

Changing of the guards at the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine.

Spirit tablets for some of the war dead.

Spirit tablets for some of the war dead.

Ceiling at the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine.

Ceiling at the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine.

Lu Hao-Tung, designer of the Taiwanese flag

Lu Hao-Tung, designer of the Taiwanese flag