Author Archives: kurczy

The car salesman

In southeast Connecticut, the car dealership Cardinal Honda is something of an institution. As a kid, I remember seeing the founder Stanley Cardinal on TV with his slicked-back hair imploring people to “Fly with a Cardinal at the wheel of a Honda!” — … Continue reading

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New Year’s Eve 2017: Out in the Cold

“Dude, I’m this close to kicking you out,” Rich Palatino, the bearded caretaker of Harvard Cabin, warned. “I will, unless you stop acting like a douchebag. Well?” It was New Year’s Day, 2017. Given that we were standing in the New Hampshire … Continue reading

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Oct 2016: Riding through Brazil’s amber waves of soy

It was July. I was sitting inside a John Deere tractor rumbling through Mato Grosso, a landlocked Brazilian state whose name means “thick forest” but is now more famous for its vast fields of soy and corn. Farmland there stretches to every … Continue reading

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Sept. 2016: I was in the Rio Olympics

I was in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Really. If you watched the Opening Ceremony in August, you probably saw me. The internationally televised event began with a two-minute montage of Brazilians (or at least you thought they were all Brazilians) performing … Continue reading

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August 2016: Girl From Ipanema In Rio Olympics

Tonight’s opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will feature, among many people and musicians, the supermodel Gisele Bündchen portraying “The Girl From Ipanama.” Bündchen, wife to quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, might be the most famous Brazilian alive. … Continue reading

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July 2016: Chapada dos Guimarães

This month I was in Brazil’s interior state of Mato Grosso researching a story for the next issue of Americas Quarterly magazine, so I took the chance to visit the national park Chapada dos Guimarães. It’s about an hour outside state capital Cuiabá and, as my editor … Continue reading

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July 2016: Happy Interdependence Day

Movie posters for the film sequel of “Independence Day” are all around Rio de Janeiro, and it’s an easy reminder of the pervasiveness of American culture. The film title is in English, and it’s being released July 4. This would be like Brazil creating a film … Continue reading

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June 2016: ‘Pode Subir’

“Pode subir!” You can go up! That’s the Portuguese command from one climber to another when the belay is ready and the climber can climb. So when André yelled it to me, I climbed… Here we are climbing Pico Tijuca, which at 1,021 meters … Continue reading

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June 2016: Leblon Living

My go-to açaí shop these days is called BB Lanches in Rio de Janeiro’s zona sul (“south zone”) neighborhood of Leblon. Open from 9am to 3am and just a few blocks from one of the cleaner inner-city beaches, BB Lanches is a simple open-air place where the motto … Continue reading

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May 2016: Am I contributing to the Zika pandemic?

Since returning to Brazil last week, mosquitoes have bitten me at least a dozen times, and with each bite I wonder: Could this be the one with Zika, a fast-spreading virus that is strongly suspected of causing brain damage to unborn babies and has spurred some … Continue reading

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March 2016: Ice Climbing, Ice Falling

“A climber fell into the gorge earlier this week,” my uncle said as we stood at the edge of Flume Gorge in New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch. “He fell in?” I said. “The guide said that a kid was walking to the climbing area, slipped on the ice, … Continue reading

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March 2016: Bear Story

This week I interviewed the Chilean filmmaker Gabriel Osorio, who just won an Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards for his animated short film Historia de un Oso (“Bear Story”). It really is a bear of a story. On the surface … Continue reading

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Feb 2016: Eagle Watch

What’s more American than a bald eagle? That is, aside from “being great,” as Donald Trump would say. Featured on the national emblem of the United States of America (with its wings spread and its talons impossibly clutching a bundle of arrows … Continue reading

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Feb 2016: Seal Watch

After years of talking about it, I finally got out on Fishers Island Sound in winter to see the migratory seals that swim down from the Gulf of Maine and Canada every year to relax in the warmer coastal waters off Connecticut. … Continue reading

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Jan 2016: How cliffhanging daredevils saved a mountain from mining companies

I only intended to stay a week or so at the Brazilian park Serra do Cipó, arriving on Christmas Eve and looking forward to spending the holiday through New Year doing lots of rock climbing at this place that I enjoyed … Continue reading

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