Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from May 29th, 2009

Before I Let Go

May 29th, 2009 · 2 Comments

That’s a wrap for the work week, as we look forward to a weekend full of goat roasting and screenplayin’. What might you have missed if your Microkhan-ing was sporadic these last few days? So much good stuff, dear reader, so much good stuff. We’re talking hilariously frivolous lawsuits against your humble narrators, the launch […]

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The Utter Failure of High Concept

May 29th, 2009 · 2 Comments

For today’s installment of Bad Movie Friday, we’d like to shred a flick that must’ve seemed so great when William Friedkin pitched it: Cruising, a murder mystery that’s several degrees clumsier than the worst Encyclyopedia Brown shortie. Now we can see why this got made. The milieu (the gay leather-bar scene) was ultra-edgy at the […]

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A Yardstick for the Fuzz

May 29th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Several years ago, we read a revealing interview with Wilbert Rideau, former editor of the newspaper at Angola State Prison. He was asked whether harsher sentences, including the death penalty, would deter criminals. Rideau bluntly answered “no”—criminals never think they’re going to get caught. That’s in part because (as noted in the chart above) the […]

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Speaking from the Fist

May 29th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Perhaps Randy “Macho Man” Savage didn’t have quite the acting career of some of his fellow ’80s wrestlers (see: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Sgt. Slaughter), but you can’t fault the man’s instinct for licensing only the hottest fashion. When we came across the jacket above, via the somewhat NSFW THEM THANGS, we knew we had no […]

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Haa Blows the Happiness Curve

May 29th, 2009 · 6 Comments

A few years back, Bhutan rather famously announced that it would no longer be a slave to the concept of Gross Domestic Product. Instead, it would measure its progress in terms of Gross National Happiness, as measured by a regular survey of its citizens. (The exact methodology can be found here). This announcement attracted its […]

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Fish, Chips, Hips

May 28th, 2009 · No Comments

With less than two week to go ’til the screenplay’s due, the rest of the afternoon’s gonna be all about tweaking dialogue. But Microkhan will leave you with a special treat: Chubb Rock, a man whose girth is rivaled only by his underratedness. Apologies for the five second commercial at the beginning of the clip; […]

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“It Was a Dark and Methodical Night…”

May 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

In the midst of researching a minor Batman villain named The Actuary—please, don’t ask why—we came across a rather curious contest held by the Society of Actuaries. In the spirit of stoking its members’ right brains, the Society annually puts out the call for fictional short stories that evoke the essence of actuarial science. This […]

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Cheerios and Johnny Reb’s Ersatz Dough

May 28th, 2009 · 5 Comments

Like a zillion other toddlers, Microkhan Jr. loves him some Cheerios. And never more so when the circular cereal gives away toys—General Mills has recently been on a kick of offering a free Lego car in every box. For a fifteen-month-old obsessed with rolling objects, nothing could make that oat-y goodness any better. Yet Cheerios’ […]

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The Secret Lives of Chemists

May 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Allied troops in Afghanistan are celebrating a heroin bust reputed to be one of the biggest ever: Approximately 92 tons of street-ready horse, along with several tons more of “processing chemicals.” Given our nerdly inclinations, our first thought upon learning of this seizure was, “Why no details on those chemicals?” Because the unsung villain in […]

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Skulls and Nomads

May 27th, 2009 · No Comments

We’re in bunker mode on the screenplay for the day’s remainder, so no semi-deep thoughts this p.m. We’ll just leave you with the above snippet of the classic documentary 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s, an account of gang life in the Carter-era South Bronx. The social background is ceaselessly tragic, the clothing style mind-blowingly great. And […]

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Two Sticks Better Than One

May 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

There’s a movement afoot in the Senate of the Philippines to designate arnis the national sport. From the text of Senate Bill 1424 (PDF): Arnis is a sport that is indigenous and uniquely Filipino. Among the many games in the country, it can be considered as one of our national cultural gems that completely originated […]

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Microtribe

May 27th, 2009 · No Comments

Today’s New York Times features a fascinating account of the Shinnecock Indians’ three-decade quest for federal recognition—a quest that should finally be resolved this year, at least according to an Interior Department promise. At stake is the tribe’s right to build a casino, as well as its potential to lay claim to large swaths of […]

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“Like Some Large Grub”

May 27th, 2009 · 5 Comments

As the great Jack Shafer has noted time and again, British-style obituaries are a zillion times more entertaining than ours. And that’s primarily because the Brits aren’t afraid of speaking ill of the dead when such treatment is warranted. Such is the case with The Economist‘s recent farewell to Prabhakaran, the Tamil Tigers’ slain leader. […]

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Now the Paperback Will Start

May 26th, 2009 · 10 Comments

So at long last, we’ve come to the appointed hour: The Now the Hell Will Start paperback hits stores today, and can currently be had via Amazon for as little as a tenner. Not a bad deal in our humble (albeit biased) opinion, considering the nearly five years’ worth of mental toil contained within those […]

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Microkhan and the Lawsuit King

May 26th, 2009 · 7 Comments

It’s not often that Microkhan has a personal stake in the day’s big news. But the curious case of Jonathan Lee Riches, a.k.a. Irving Picard, is a notable exception. Riches, a federal inmate doing a stint for wire fraud, has apparently passed the time by engaging in a most curious hobby: Filing as many frivolous […]

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Keeping Tabs on Dear Leader’s Nukes

May 26th, 2009 · No Comments

In devouring the weekend’s reports regarding North Korea’s latest atomic machinations, we were struck by the technological limits of the global monitoring system. Seismic readings indicate that something went down that Mother Nature didn’t intend, but such tremors can be caused by conventional explosions. (Yeah, that’s a lot of TNT, but it can be done.) […]

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ID’ing in a Skeptical World

May 26th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Try as it might, the Sri Lankan government can’t quite convince everyone that its soldiers did, indeed, gun down Velupillai Prabhakaran. So a DNA test may be necessary to quell the few remaining naysayers. But how might such a test work, especially considering that Tiger 001‘s wife and daughters are nowhere to be found? Several […]

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In Pace Requiescat

May 25th, 2009 · No Comments

We hope the vast majority of our American readers are enjoying the Memorial Day holiday outdoors, and thus won’t be reading these words ’til much later. Microkhan, alas, won’t be barbecuing with y’all—this is just another work day ’round here, as the screenplay deadline looms. We’re gonna devote the bulk of today’s energies to that […]

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Hop the Next Shark to the Bahamas

May 22nd, 2009 · 6 Comments

The holiday weekend’s just hours away, and we’re mighty spent from a long week of writing and tending to Microkhan Jr. So we’re gonna outsource this week’s Bad Movie Friday to the late Richard Jeni. His target? The egregiously awful Jaws: The Revenge (aka Jaws IV). As Jeni rightfully points out in his routine, there […]

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“Scattering Like a Pool of Animals”

May 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

One of the greatest research challenges we faced while writing Now the Hell Will Start was the paucity of primary source material describing day-to-day life for African-American GIs. Enlisted men were discouraged from keeping diaries, literacy rates were low, and post-war archivists too often ignored black contributions to the Great Cause—an unholy trifecta for historians […]

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Judge Kuffner’s Fifteen Minutes

May 22nd, 2009 · 4 Comments

With our compadre Ta-Nehisi thinking deep thoughts and WEFUNK providing our daily soundtrack, hip-hop’s been on Microkhan’s brain all week—yes, even more so than usual. And the question we’ve been asking ourselves is what, exactly, separates the wheat from the chaff in the land of lyricism? Is it pure mastery of metaphor? Yeats-like poetic timing? […]

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A Mathematician’s Revenge

May 22nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

Delaware’s future as the new Vega$ East may well hinge on the microstate’s supreme court. A “sports lottery” law was recently passed, but the specifics of how it’ll work are still unclear. Yesterday, the Home of Tax-Free Shopping’s most learned judges heard arguments from two parties: Those in favor of single-game betting, and those who […]

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First Contact: New Guinea Highlands

May 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

For the second installment of our nascent First Contact series, we’re gonna hit the layup and blog about this classic culture-clash documentary. A prized Microkhan correspondent and former New Guinea resident summarizes the film with far more acumen than we could ever manage: Basic story is that the initial European settlements in Papua (south side […]

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A Feast Fit for Khans

May 21st, 2009 · No Comments

An American scholar digs into the sort of debauched Mongolian feast that, alas, we’ve only had in our wildest dreams: Sheep fat! Stuffed beef intestine! Goat’s head! Petrified curds, harder than jawbreakers! And, of course, buuz. I ate them all, these foods that not so long ago had my fork shaking. Two bottles of vodka […]

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Corporal Gee Eye

May 21st, 2009 · 8 Comments

Okay, we’ve got a spare second while Microkhan Jr. roams about the Sandman’s domain, so it’s time to dash off today’s installment of NtHWS Extras. Our focus today is on the cartoon art of World War II—not the stuff from the homefront op-ed pages, but rather the quasi-humorous strips meant to bolster troop morale. The […]

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In Single Parenthood, There I Stood

May 21st, 2009 · 4 Comments

Apologies for the slow start today. As previously mentioned, Microkhan is solely in charge of Microkhan Jr. this week, due to the missus being off in Los Angeles hawking her fine, fine lingerie. Factor in the screenplay and our primary paying gig, and you’ve got a recipe for utter chaos and exhaustion. As a small […]

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Citizen Journalism in Sri Lanka

May 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

The Sri Lankan government is sadly adept at squelching journalism, which makes the crowdsourced Groundviews a truly precious gem. Proudly calling itself “Sri Lanka’s first and only citizens journalism website,” Groundviews provides a rare English-language peek at the mood on Colombo’s streets. The site has been in peak form as the nation’s civil war has […]

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When Monkeys Herald Death

May 20th, 2009 · 6 Comments

We’re gone for the day’s remainder, crashing on a Wired deadline. So we’ll leave you with the clip above from Werner Herzog’s classic Aguirre, The Wrath of God, which recently re-blew our collective mind. The final shot, in which the camera circles around the megalomaniacal conquistador’s monkey-infested raft? Beyond brilliant. Read about the real Lope […]

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An Obscure Flashpoint

May 20th, 2009 · No Comments

Today’s NtHWS Extras installment will have some modern flavor, as we look at one of the planet’s most obscure—and potentially most lethal—territorial disputes: The Sino-Indian tussle over Arunachal Pradesh, where a fair chunk of Now the Hell Will Start is set. The enormous Arunachal is arguably India’s most remote province, populated largely by tribal groups […]

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The Bernie Madoff of Farming

May 20th, 2009 · No Comments

Wall Street certainly didn’t have a monopoly on moral decay during the run-up to Depression v2.0. There was also some jiggery-pokery going down in the Heartland, albeit of the modest seven-figure variety: A man convicted in what prosecutors said was North Dakota’s largest farm fraud case has lost another appeal of the government’s attempt to […]

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