Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from December 31st, 2009

Hogmanay

December 31st, 2009 · 1 Comment

We were all set to do a last “Best of Oh Nine” installment on music, but events have intervened—namely a surprise blizzard here in Atlah, coupled with pressing Microkhan Jr. oversight duties. You can, of course, rifle through the sounds that echoed through our cranium in 2009 by checking out our “Music” tag; Lord knows […]

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Best of Oh Nine: Booze

December 30th, 2009 · 18 Comments

Being anchored to headquarters and relatively penniless meant that the Microkhan clan engaged in much low-brow imbibing throughout 2009. (Think Ballantine in the 22-ounce bottle, and some occasional Jim Beam.) But we’re of the mind that life isn’t worth living with somewhat alcoholic splurging, a mindset that led us to encounter a number of fine […]

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What Young Men Still Do

December 30th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Headhunting of the literal sort figures quite prominently in Now the Hell Will Start, our 386-page labor o’ love. We dedicated an entire chapter to the practice, and thus field frequent questions from readers regarding whether or not the tribal inhabitants of North-East India and northwest Burma still take skulls. Our stock answer is that […]

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The Best of Oh Nine: Books*

December 29th, 2009 · 9 Comments

As with yesterday’s list, the asterisk is in the post title for a very good reason—namely, to tip you off that the titles mentioned below didn’t necessarily come out in 2009. They are, rather, things we read and dug over the past 12 months. Apologies for the relative brevity of the list, but our most […]

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The Mongoose as Showman

December 29th, 2009 · No Comments

We’ll be posting later today about the best books we read in 2009, but we thought we’d start the day by shouting out a book sure to be atop our to-read list for the coming months: Snake vs. Mongoose: How a Rivalry Changed Drag Racing Forever. Drag racing owes much of its current success to […]

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Best of Oh Nine: Movies*

December 28th, 2009 · 17 Comments

Before the film geeks among you point out that the photo above is from a movie released in 2005, please note the asterisk. See, our deal is that we didn’t really get out to the theater much this year—blame Microkhan Jr. and the economic decline, both of which conspired to keep us at home much […]

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Gravity Denied

December 28th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Growing up in Los Angeles, we were annually subjected to a series of PSAs cautioning against celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve. In fact, we distinctly remember a police officer visiting our elementary school one year before the holiday break, in order to caution us against going outside in the initial minutes after they calendar’s […]

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The Redemption of Snively

December 24th, 2009 · No Comments

We’re winding it down for Christmas, but not before we leave you with a minor token of our Yuletide gratitude: a clip from Yogi’s First Christmas, undoubtedly the best animated ursine-themed holiday film in existence. We’ve spent years trying to convince the world of this flick’s unheralded magnificence, a crusade which led us to write […]

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Twinkies for Peace

December 23rd, 2009 · 10 Comments

Staying on the food-taboo theme, we recommend this recent paper from the eternally irresistible Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. The whole thing is worth a read, especially the authors’ various theories regarding why taboos exist. Our favorite nugget comes in the section dedicated to explaining why taboos may have formed to protect human health: Eating […]

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Love Those Arthropods at Popeyes

December 22nd, 2009 · 13 Comments

A comment on an otherwise forgettable post just got us thinking: isn’t there something completely random about the Western culinary take on arthropods? We have apparently decided to feast on only one of the phylum’s four remaining subphyllum—Crustacea. But we gag at the thought of eating the terrestrial cousins of shrimp, lobsters, and crayfish. Why […]

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Back from the Land of Shadows

December 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

Upon recently hearing the classic Super Cat track “Scalp Dem” on WeFunk, we were reminded of a curious incident in dancehall history: Super Cat’s resurrection from the dead. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t quite as dramatic as alll that. But back in May of 1997, the wire services ran a story stating that Super Cat had […]

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For the Grand Empress Who Has Everything

December 21st, 2009 · 3 Comments

Perhaps you think our khanic nature means that we’re firm believers in Tengriism, and thus won’t be sitting around the Christmas tree come Friday morning. But that’s not the case at all—while we do have a soft spot for Umay, we’re also big on the holiday spirit. Christmas will be roundly celebrated up here in […]

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Farewell, Dynamite

December 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Sad news out of Moscow, as word comes that Vladimir “Dynamite” Turchinsky has passed on. For those unfamiliar with the realm of Russian bodybuilding and/or action films, Turchinsky could legitimately lay claim to the title of “The Schwarzenegger of the East,” having transitioned from a successful athletic career to cinematic stardom. He also had an […]

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The Stickiness of Folkways

December 21st, 2009 · 4 Comments

A Jamaican doctor has found that an alarmingly large number of her nation’s mothers aren’t breastfeeding like they should—not because they’ve been swayed by formula ads, but rather due to the persistence of several toxic myths of indeterminate origin. Chief among these? The belief that “infants needs bush tea to clear their stomach in the […]

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Stallone in Full McBain Mode

December 18th, 2009 · 7 Comments

We have a complicated relationship with Cobra, and thus hesitated for a beat before deciding to honor it with this week’s Bad Movie Friday showcase spot. To its credit, the movie does a fine job of conjuring up a psycho murder cult, the members of which gather in warehouses to bang together axes in rhythmic […]

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The Toothache Glyph

December 18th, 2009 · 2 Comments

With all the 2012 hooey certain to kick into ever-higher gear over the coming months, it’s worth taking a look back at how we learned of the Mayans’ paranoia in the first place. That means checking in with one of the great heroes of hieroglyphics decipherment, Tatiana Proskouriakoff, who first figured out that Mayan stelae […]

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The Pause That RefreshesDetoxes

December 18th, 2009 · 2 Comments

A debate over the best-ever Coca-Cola slogan recently led us to this useful list, which contains some ad-speak that likely wouldn’t pass muster on today’s Madison Avenue. Our favorite archaic slogan is the one from 1906: “The great national temperance beverage.” This struck us as more than a little humorous, given Coca-Cola’s roots as a […]

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Thanks for Your Patience

December 17th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Our pressing Wired deadline hits in exactly four hours for now, so we’re scrambling. Thanks for putting up with our relative lack of thoughtlessness these past few days—we’ve had to dedicate the bulk of our mental bandwidth to Kenya-related matters, for the good of the whole Microkhan crew. As we lean for the finish-line tape, […]

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Bulletproof: The Tadtad

December 17th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Our semi-regular Bulletproof Project today takes us to the southern Philippines, specifically the perpetually conflict-addled island of Mindanao. It is there that a family of quasi-Christian cults collectively known as the Tadtad (“Chop Chop”) flourish, and occasionally wreak bloody havoc on the unfortunate populace. The Tadtad remind us a bit of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, […]

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Kenya, Continued

December 16th, 2009 · No Comments

Still plugging away on the Kenya piece for Wired, so few if any deep thoughts this afternoon. Fortunately, The Tubes provide us with a quick and easy way to keep the Microkhan mojo going—namely, the priceless ad above for C-3PO cereal. This breakfast treat not only further lined George Lucas’s burgeoning pockets with cash; it […]

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Let There Be Hydroelectricity

December 16th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Explicitly Communist architecture gets a unfairly bad rap from critics. Sure, builders behind the Iron Curtain were overly fond of dismal panelaks and other multi-dwelling units that reeked of dingy misery. But when the last true believers in the dictatorship of the proletariat decided to go the triumphalist route, man, did they ever pull it […]

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Swamped With Kenya

December 15th, 2009 · No Comments

Pressing Wired deadline, so we’re checking out for a spell. Enjoy the above in our absence; we’ll return as soon as we sort out these monster edits.

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Are You Having a Laugh?

December 15th, 2009 · 3 Comments

The abundance of museums dedicated to the history of anesthesia is really something to behold. While we certainly can’t deny the landmark nature of this medical wonder, we were a bit bowled over to discover so many institutions dedicated to exalting its virtues and warehousing its antique equipment. But therein lies Microkhan gold, particularly the […]

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The Bridge Factor

December 14th, 2009 · 5 Comments

In the course of questioning the utility of suicide-proof barriers on bridges, a political scientist makes an intriguing observation: In order to determine if exposure to bridges increases the suicide rate, I examined the relationship between the suicide rate and the number of bridges likely to attract suicidal individuals in all 50 states plus Washington […]

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Plywood Savior

December 14th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Upon re-watching the infamous Arthur Digby Sellers scene in The Big Lebowski, we were recently motivated to check into the history of iron lungs. To our amazement, the archaic contraption recently received a shout-out in a Central Illinois newspaper, which recalled the invention of a more eco-friendly alternative: the wooden lung: The six-foot-long wooden lung […]

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The Beard of Destiny

December 14th, 2009 · 3 Comments

As is made clear in our mission statement, management reserves the right to occasionally drop the fascination with esoterica in favor of talking pro football (the American kind). Let us now invoke that right in order to discuss our beloved Indianapolis Colts, who yesterday clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs. This accomplishment brings […]

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Watch for Falling Rocks

December 11th, 2009 · 2 Comments

We’re more than a little ashamed to admit we remember the brief Ewok craze of the mid-1980s, when two made-for-TV follow-ups to Return of the Jedi hit the tube. While we realize now that the Ewoks were a harbinger of the soul-crushing awfulness of Jar-Jar Binks, we were suckers for the furry critters back in […]

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The Reaper Runs Roughshod

December 11th, 2009 · 2 Comments

One of the happier trends these days is the general improvement in human life expectancy, even in nations that are suffering through armed conflict, natural disasters, or other great misfortunes. Believe it or not, for example, the average life expectancy in Afghanistan has actually increased steadily in recent years, as has the hallowed figure in […]

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The Tuxedo Years

December 10th, 2009 · 2 Comments

In our never-ending quest to improve Microkhan Jr.’s rudimentary dancing skills, we’ve recently had to call out the big gun—the oeuvre of the Godfather of Soul. In doing so, we stumbled across the gem above, apparently taken from one of Mr. Brown’s early television appearances (back when he treated the medium with far more seriousness). […]

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As the Haus Turns

December 10th, 2009 · No Comments

Has any architectural innovation been as unfairly maligned as the revolving restaurant? Call such establishments as the Restaurant Skyline Mannheim and Yanggakdo Hotel kitsch if you must, but we rather like the idea of spinning around while feasting on serviceable victuals. Think of it as a sub-gourmet celebration of man’s aptitude for making grand machines. […]

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