Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from April 30th, 2010

The Original Mormon Mauler

April 30th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Upon bumping into this list of famous Mormon wrestlers last night, we were immediately intrigued by the story of Don Leo Jonathan, who grappled under thenom de sport “The Mormon Mauler.” Yet as we hacked our way into Jonathan’s sweaty tale, we came to realize there was a more intriguing narrative thread to explore—namely, the […]

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Once More Into the Maw

April 29th, 2010 · No Comments

Apologies, but gotta check out early today—we’re back on the WIRED beat, ironing out the kinks in our addiction yarn. Back in the a.m. with some more of the good stuff; in the meantime, hey, puppets and Madlib’s helium-throated alter ego.

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The Battle and the Bulge

April 29th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Did the codpiece come into vogue because a bunch of Italian counts were trying to conceal their fights against syphilis? An Australian doctor makes the case: The treatment of the disease was for the most part empirical with multiple agents applied locally, which along with the bulky dressings would give large frontal bulges, impossible to […]

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A Rougher North Shore

April 28th, 2010 · 2 Comments

The hero of the criminally underseen documentary Sliding Liberia is one Alfred Lomax, a young Liberian whose life was turned upside down by his nation’s brutal civil war. After fleeing his hometown of Robertsport in 2003, Lomax landed in the capital city of Monrovia, where daily foraging trips brought him in contact with the sport […]

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First, Do No Harm

April 28th, 2010 · No Comments

While we’re sensitive to the fact that millions of people trust folk cures more than modern remedies, stories like this one make us question whether shamanism deserves to survive in the post-antibiotics age: A couple in Samoa ,who perform traditional healing, have been found guilty of causing actual bodily harm, but had charges of manslaughter […]

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Faking the Crates

April 27th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Hewing to that most time-honored of journalistic axioms—”Two equals trend”—we’d like to declare that we’re living in the era of the ersatz sample. Way back when, we were introduced to a whole host of R&B classics by reading the liner notes of various hip-hop albums. (We discussed, for example, how Dr. Dre led us into […]

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A Chemical Solution to a Chemical Problem?

April 27th, 2010 · 5 Comments

We’re in the midst of whipping through Nick Reding’s Methland, which is a fantastic feat of reporting. It takes an intrepid writer, indeed, to spend such a vast amount of time in small-town Iowa, connecting with tweakers and those who loathe them. While Methland has earned major plaudits for its human touch, we’ve been more […]

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Spellbound

April 26th, 2010 · 3 Comments

True, some small measure of sanity may soon prevail in Saudi Arabia, where a Lebanese man convicted of witchcraft seems increasingly likely to escape execution. But the anti-sorcery sentiment remains strong in the Persian Gulf, where Bahrain looks set to join the House of Saud in outlawing the dark arts. Could this be a sign […]

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Is Mili Spelin

April 23rd, 2010 · 2 Comments

Much love to Nicolas Sarkozy for showing off his language-geek credentials at a Parisian environmental conference. A less astute world leader might’ve taken the easy way out by namechecking Esperanto in an attempt to describe a United Nations draft treaty as difficult to parse. But Sarkozy dug much deeper into the linguistic crates, citing the […]

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The Legend of Big Rich

April 22nd, 2010 · 11 Comments

Whenever the NFL Draft rolls around, we’re reminded of one of the most thought-provoking stories ever produced by the annual ritual: the 2002 saga of Richard “Big Rich” Williams. A star offensive tackle at tiny Gardner-Webb University, Williams was such a muscular force that he played himself onto the pro scouts’ radar. After a strong […]

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Goodbye, Palito

April 22nd, 2010 · No Comments

Sad news out of the Philippines, where beloved comedian Palito has passed away. The man born Reynaldo Hipolito was in many ways the anti-Dom DeLuise—a performer whose career path was determined by his incredible leanness: Born on Sept. 4, 1934, Palito was best known for his comedy films “Ram-Buto” and “Jones Bone,” which were spoofs […]

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Fending Off the Shades

April 21st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Every member of our species naturally fears death, given that we can never satisfactorily answer the question of what comes next. And so we’ve invented a zillion different ways of coping with that anxiety, many of which involve rituals that confirm a belief in the spirit’s indestructibility. Few of these rituals, however, are quite as […]

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The Men With Weathered Hands

April 21st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Given that our stance on immigration tends to dovetail quite nicely with a certain hoity-toity newsmagazine, we can only shake our heads at Arizona’s latest legislative shenanigans. Sure, we probably shouldn’t be surprised by anything that comes out a state that often seems content to go its oddball way (to Chuck D.’s tremendous displeasure). But […]

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Union City Blues

April 20th, 2010 · 2 Comments

We’re still dealing with making sure all’s cool with the kid, so just a quick check-in regarding the 30th anniversary of the Mariel Boatlift. The clip above comes from a local station in northern New Jersey, home to the largest Cuban-American community outside South Florida. Make it to the back half and you’ll see that […]

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The Khan Behind the Curtain

April 20th, 2010 · No Comments

We’re dealing with some Microkhan Jr.-related issues this a.m., so no morning goodness. But in a (somewhat) rare act of narcissism, we’d like to point you toward this interview we just did with the excellent Title of Magazine. If you’ve ever yearned for a slightly clearer sense of why we do what we do, now’s […]

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Only a King (Wears Overalls Like Those)

April 19th, 2010 · No Comments

From the Mighty Sparrow comes one of the silkiest-smooth videos of all time, featuring overalls that only a true legend could ever pull off. We’d love to try, but we fear we wouldn’t even make it to Lenox Avenue before the howls of derision became unbearable. The Sparrow, though, makes the orange-and-blue combo work. More […]

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To Russia, With Relief

April 19th, 2010 · 2 Comments

We’re never able to resist a story that involves marauding monkeys, and so the latest news out of Bugala Island couldn’t help but catch our eyes. As palm-oil production has expanded on Bugala, red-tailed monkeys have steadily lost habitat. The crafty primates, in return, have taken to ravaging the palms, seeing as how their older […]

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The McGruff of an Earlier Age

April 19th, 2010 · No Comments

The always excellent Early American Crime just wrapped up a multi-part series on Levi Ames, a Massachusetts burglar who was hanged in 1773. Ames’ story survives in large part because of his last words, delivered on the gallows and commemorated in an illustrated pamphlet bearing the ridiculously non-concise name An address to the inhabitants of […]

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“Call in the Welding Team…”

April 16th, 2010 · 4 Comments

We have very vivid memories of the disappointment we felt upon first seeing The Phantom Menace. One of our pals had scored tickets to a late-night showing at the mammoth Ziegfeld Theater, and we ducked out of a raging party just to get our Star Wars on. The lights dimmed and the movie opened not […]

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A Price on the Priceless

April 16th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Our hearts got out to Roy Glauber, a Nobel Laureate physicist who was recently victimized by an extremely dumb burglar. (Note to aspiring master criminals: Don’t leave your food-stamp cards at the scene.) Though the local cops have nabbed the crook, they’ve so far been unable to locate Glauber’s Nobel gold medal, which he received […]

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Bye-Bye to the Battery

April 16th, 2010 · 7 Comments

Rising sea levels recently submerged tiny New Moore Island in the Bay Bengal, thereby settling a longstanding territorial dispute between India and Bangladesh. (Curiously, the nations seem totally disinterested in claiming a piece of land that’s underwater.) While we certainly appreciate Mother Nature’s unique approach to conflict resolution, New Moore’s watery demise renewed one of […]

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The Pride of Coahoma County

April 15th, 2010 · 4 Comments

The 1960 Newport Jazz Festival is perhaps best remembered for Anita O’Day’s legendary rendition of “Sweet Georgia Brown”—a performance she later found herself unable to recall, due to the fact that she was strung out on heroin when she took the stage. But while we can’t help but get shivers when O’Day croons, our favorite […]

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Out Here in the Fields

April 15th, 2010 · 4 Comments

In the midst of researching the economic downsides of bride prices, we came across this recent study from Tanzania, where money always changes hands before a young couple’s nuptials. As noted in the chart above, girls who toil in the fields attract far greater bride prices than peers who stick close to home: Using an […]

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Fake Can Be Just as Good?

April 15th, 2010 · No Comments

With the start of the World Cup less than two months away, South African cops are working hard to stem the tide of counterfeit jerseys: A Swazi man was on Saturday night arrested at the Oshoek Border gate after allegedly being found with 12,000 fake World Cup soccer shirts worth E3.6million. SAPS spokesman Colonel Vishnu […]

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The Method of a Master (Cont’d)

April 14th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Something sorta major just came up, so we need to check out for the afternoon. Apologies, but fear not—we’ll be back strong tomorrow, bringing you nothing but the finest handpicked information. For now, though, please indulge our recent fascination with The RZA’s creative process by checking out this 1999 interview with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. As […]

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The Method of a Master

April 14th, 2010 · 2 Comments

More downtown meetings this morning, so we’ll have to circle back to you in a few hours. In the meantime, please ponder some words of wisdom from one of Microkhan’s all-time favorite artists, The RZA. He shared the following insight with the great Stop Smiling back in 2006: RZA: I’m going to tell you a […]

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The World Beyond Atlah

April 13th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Tied up in downtown meetings for the rest of the day, so we’ll leave you with the classic Ruby Andrews track above. Back here soon, provided that Microkhan Jr. lets us get a decent night’s sleep. Suffice to say we’re operating at quarter-strength today, due to his 3 a.m. shenanigans. We do wonder how Genghis […]

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The Dane Behind Snooki

April 13th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Last Friday’s post about steroid use among Bangladeshi prostitutes elicited this great comment from a longtime Friend ‘o Microkhan: It seems like there might be an interesting parallel between perceptions of fatness and tanning. In both cases, there seems to be a general trend that as cultures move away from subsistence living. Lower body mass […]

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Your Tax Dollars at Work

April 12th, 2010 · 2 Comments

What initially struck us about the downfall of Kentucky fireworks dealer Sam Droganes was the Greek-tragedy element to the tale. To hear Droganes tell it, this was a classic tale of hubris gone amok—the man desperately wanted to be the biggest fireworks tycoon in the Bluegrass State, and that ambition led him to make some […]

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The Lowdown on Brown-Brown

April 12th, 2010 · 22 Comments

If you haven’t read it already, Jon Lee Anderson’s latest dispatch from Guinea is well worth your time. The piece does an excellent job of conveying the chaos of Moussa Dadis Camara‘s brief reign, which was marred by one of the great atrocities of recent vintage. Suffice to say that Dadis and his cronies come […]

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