Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from April 30th, 2009

“…Like Them Dudes in Red Shirts Off Star Trek”

April 30th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Breaking early today to head downtown and catch a screening of Adam. (Thanks, James.) In my absence, enjoy the above slice o’ lyrical genius from MF Doom (or, as he now prefers to be called, DOOM). Any rapper who knows his Star Trek minutiae is worthy of only the highest praise.

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Jaundiced for the Cause

April 30th, 2009 · 8 Comments

In today’s edition of NtHWS Extras, we’re taking a look at a nearly forgotten medical tale from World War II: The widespread use of Atabrine to combat malaria, with varying results. This story starts all the way back in the 19th century, with a bunch of Dutch smugglers who brought Cinchona seeds from South America […]

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The Kobe Bryant of Netball

April 30th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Microkhan’s Australian readers (we have at least two!) may already be familiar with Romelda Aiken’s spectacular exploits on the netball court. She is, after all, the best player on the Queensland Nationals, a lithe and aggressive scoring machine who recently racked up 42 goals in an upset win over the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. […]

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Microkhan’s Bicentennial

April 30th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Just realized that the quickie below on flu terminology was Microkhan’s 200th post. As such, now’s the perfect time to thank y’all who’ve helped build this blog since its early February debut. Really grateful for your daily clicks, given how much time and effort we’ve expended on this rather esoteric project. We’ve got plenty more […]

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Know Your Flu Terms

April 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment

What’s the difference between an epidemic, a pandemic, and a mere outbreak? Microkhan gives the skinny here. Apparently the dreaded Osaka flu doesn’t qualify as any of the above, at least in the non-Simpsons universe.

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The Cannabis Debate, Circa 1894

April 29th, 2009 · No Comments

For today’s edition of NtHWS Extras, we’ll be covering a topic that’s been much in the news as of late: Cannabis laws. Ganja use plays a significant role in Now the Hell Will Start, as it did in the lives of thousands of American GIs during World War II. The book’s main character became a […]

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Thoughts on Lithium

April 29th, 2009 · 3 Comments

So there’s a fresh stir over Bolivia’s massive lithium reserves, which a French industrialist hopes to tap virtually all by his lonesome. This isn’t news to Microkhan, since we helped coin the term “the Saudi Arabia of lithium” last fall. But the object of our interest back then was Chile, currently the world’s leading lithium […]

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Shacked!

April 29th, 2009 · No Comments

Given that Radio Shack provides one of the least pleasant retail experiences imaginable, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Though I wonder if the employee asked for the customer’s zip code while delivering the beatdown.

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“The Palm Beach of Manchuria”

April 29th, 2009 · 4 Comments

The best novel we’ve read so far this year is Ian Buruma’s The China Lover, a criminally underrated fusion of first-rate historical reportage and thoughtful meditation on the nature of art. The book’s backbone is the true-life tale of a Japanese actress-turned-politician, whose career is recounted through the eyes of three lonely, movie-obsessed observers. The […]

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“A Crushing Insult”

April 28th, 2009 · No Comments

In today’s edition of Now the Hell Will Start Extras Month, we’re going to delve into one of the book‘s main themes: Military segregation during World War II. Time and again in the course of my research, I was struck by the virulence of Jim Crow attitudes within our nation’s armed forces. Despite the desperate […]

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Top-Notch Pigeon Tech

April 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

With legit cash available on the pigeon-racing circuit, there’s huge demand for gadgets that can ensure fair play. And that’s where Germany’s Unikon comes in, offering the very best in tracking rings, loft antennas, and clocks capable of simultaneously timing 250 birds. A video review of Unikon’s latest clock, the Champ, is available here, via […]

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The Stability of Suicide

April 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

It’s a bright, gorgeous morning here at Harlem headquarters, which obviously means it’s the perfect time to revisit one of Microkhan’s favorite topics: suicide. The graph above shows the suicide rate in the United States between 1950 and 2005. As you can see, the rate has been remarkably stable over the years, despite growing awareness […]

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“…With No One Else in Sight”

April 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

The great downside of music’s move toward digitization is the end of liner notes, the record industry’s equivalent of YouTube’s “Related Videos” feature. Microkhan fondly recalls discovering Donny Hathaway via the notes from The Chronic; half the hooks on that album were copped from the great-and-troubled legend of Chicago soul. Nowadays, alas, you have to […]

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Countdown to Paper

April 27th, 2009 · 10 Comments

As of yesterday, we’ve got one month to go ’til Microkhan’s labor o’ love, Now the Hell Will Start, hits shelves in paperback form. To celebrate this joyous occasion, we’ll be doing a sorta DVD-extras thing from now ’til May 26th. Every day, Microkhan will scoop up some NtHWS-related material off the cutting-room floor, and […]

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Colombo Couture

April 27th, 2009 · 1 Comment

A new, government-approved t-shirt hits Sri Lanka’s capital. Tamils seem highly unamused; read the article’s, um, “impassioned” comments at your own risk.

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Daytona for Squabs

April 27th, 2009 · 1 Comment

The winner of the 2009 Mercedes Classic will not, in fact, walk away with a shiny new car. But there are genuine riches at stake in this competition, to be held in the pigeon-racing mecca that is central Oklahoma. By Microkhan’s count, in fact, a sweep of all events could bring a pigeon owner $109,500—more […]

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Alone in Samoa

April 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Microkhan has often wondered what happens to criminals who, upon completing their prison sentences, are deported to their countries of origin—countries they may well have left when they were just a few days old. A New Zealand broadcaster caught up with one such deportee in Samoa, who says that the experience is (to say the […]

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“Your Highness Learns Fast”

April 24th, 2009 · 6 Comments

There are few films less deserving of a big-budget remake than Red Sonja. It plays more like a sword-and-sorcery spoof than a genuine adventure, due in large part to the most awful dialogue this side of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation—as well as the craven addition of a Short Round-style sidekick. If memory serves, Red Sonja was […]

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Medieval Monkeys

April 24th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Microkhan has a longstanding fascination with non-human primates, and so was intrigued to stumble upon the homepage of Kenneth Gouwens, a history professor at UConn. One of Gouwen’s specialties seems tailor-made for us: “Distinctions drawn between humans and simians in the Renaissance and in our own era.” Alas, Microkhan wasn’t able to locate any of […]

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The Migingo Spat

April 24th, 2009 · 2 Comments

To the untrained eye, Migingo Island appears to be no great shakes. It covers just a half-acre’s worth of Lake Victoria, and it’s covered with the tin shacks of fishermen. Yet Kenya and Uganda both covet the ramshackle rock, leading to a border row that threatens to lead to outright war. Ugandan marines overtook the […]

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“Too Bad He’s a Killer”

April 24th, 2009 · No Comments

Microkhan recently opined that it’s best to avoid serial killers who fancy themselves musicians. To our great consternation, alas, the teenage girls of West Java seem to be disregarding this sage advice. They have apparently gone somewhat ga-ga over Verry Idam Henyasyah, a.k.a. “Ryan,” a condemned murderer who’s become an object of myriad schoolgirl crushes. […]

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“I Still Need Him for Shooting!”

April 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

As previously noted this week, Microkhan recently re-watched the great Fitzcarraldo as part of his ongoing screenplay research. Of particular interest was the second half of the film, in which Klaus Kinski’s aspiring rubber baron encounters a tribe of Amazonian headhunters. Since Now the Hell Will Start contains a similar culture clash, we wanted to […]

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Satellite Saviors

April 23rd, 2009 · 3 Comments

The Bouvet Rames Guyane is arguably the most grueling race on the planet. Solo contestants must literally row across the Atlantic Ocean, from Senegal to French Guiana. Yet even the strongest seafaring Frenchman is no match for Mother Nature, as Remy Alnet discovered about 400 miles from the finish line: I was inside the cockpit […]

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Headhunting in the Balkans

April 23rd, 2009 · 9 Comments

The practice of headhunting is typically associated with pre-colonial Southeast Asia, and for good reason: Prior to 1700, approximately one-third of the region’s populace engaged in the sadistic pastime. But the ritualized lopping off of skulls had its fair share of devotees in Europe, too. The tribes of Montenegro were avid headhunters, primarily targeting Ottoman […]

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Whatever Happened to Zezozose Zadfrack?

April 22nd, 2009 · 9 Comments

The recent leak of this Charles Manson mugshot got Microkhan thinking about his youthful obsession with Helter Skelter, still a classic of the true-crime genre. The way that Vincent Bugliosi slowly reveals the paranoia at the Family’s core, as well as the crazy Beatles link, taught us a lot about narrative pacing—not to mention the […]

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Pushing the Hunger Envelope

April 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

The hunger strike is the most universal form of human protest, employed by kings and commoners alike, for reasons ranging from the noble to the mundane. Today brings news of actress Mia Farrow preparing to try her hand at hunger, in the admirable name of bringing attention to Darfur. According to her Farrow’s publicist, she’ll […]

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The Pinnacle of Science

April 22nd, 2009 · 3 Comments

A Viennese chemist solves a riddle that’s vexed mankind since time immemorial: The hypothesis presented herein says that abdominal hair is mainly responsible for the accumulation of navel lint, which, therefore, this is a typically male phenomenon. The abdominal hair collects fibers from cotton shirts and directs them into the navel where they are compacted […]

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From the Heyday of Amp

April 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Microkhan’s under super-intense pressure to crank on the screenplay this afternoon, so I’m jetting a bit early today. See y’all in the a.m.—or, if the blogging pull is just too much, later tonight after Microkhan Jr.’s been deposited into Slumberland. In the meantime, enjoy the vintage Ken Ishii video above, a staple of MTV’s late, […]

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The Somalia of 1855

April 21st, 2009 · No Comments

A dispatch (PDF) from the pirate-filled waters off Canton (present-day Guangzhou). The parallels to modern accounts from Somalia are pretty eerie, especially when you consider that China was undergoing its own brand of internal turmoil during this period: The pirates, who have always been very numerous and very formidable in these waters, have lately increased […]

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The Madden Killer That Wasn’t

April 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Microkhan is one of the few (American) football fans who doesn’t lament the retirement of longtime TV announcer John Madden. For far too long, the noted fried-food enthusiast has filled airtime with nothing but head-thunkingly obvious comments. His typical pre-kickoff riff over the last decade has gone something like this: “To win, I think they’re […]

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