Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from May 28th, 2010

Krinklebein’s Poor Russian

May 28th, 2010 · No Comments

We’re still in northern Michigan with the Grand Empress, and you’re hopefully prepping for a raucous three-day weekend. As you pack or purchase beer, enjoy the sonic stylings of a talking fish and his feline arch-nemesis—one of Microkhan Jr.’s favorites. It really is a fine piece of animation, save for the fact that Mr. Krinklebein’s […]

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“This is a Titanic Above Water”

May 27th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Okay, here’s the deal: Ever since Microkhan Jr. entered the picture, we’ve been able to spend a grand total of one night alone with the Grand Empress. But all that’s about to change, starting today: By the time you read these words, the Microkhan crew will (hopefully) be winging its way to Detroit, en route […]

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Cheesy Ain’t Easy

May 26th, 2010 · 8 Comments

So how does Frito-Lay create the world’s favorite orange-hued snack? We reveal the secrets of Cheetos manufacturing in this month’s Wired. Our favorite factoid, as a teaser: Every half hour, an in-house lab analyzes the chemical composition of samples pulled from the cooking line to verify that the Cheetos have the right density and nutritional […]

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Jamaica’s Crossroads

May 26th, 2010 · 2 Comments

As the violence continues in Kingston, let’s pause to consider the scope of Jamaica’s problems. By any measure, the nation should have long ago started working its way toward the middle of the development tables. Think about how much the place has going for it: lots of bauxite, fertile soil, an English-speaking populace, a thriving […]

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The Sons of Gumby

May 25th, 2010 · No Comments

Our beloved WEFUNK just celebrated its 600th show in grand fashion, with sets dedicated to late ’60s soul, Clinton-era hip-hop, and the fine art of locking. Given the show’s Montreal base, they also couldn’t help but throw some north-of-the-border rap into the mix, including the gem above from DJ Format (whose British by birth) and […]

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Where the Sharks Swim

May 25th, 2010 · 4 Comments

In the latest account of NBA big man Eddy Curry’s never-ending money woes, this passage jumped out at us: On Friday, a Manhattan court ordered Curry to pay $75,000 a month to lender Allstar Capital Inc. to resolve a debt that swelled to $1.2 million with interest. The court also has issued an order letting […]

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St. Helena Off Santa Barbara

May 24th, 2010 · 3 Comments

The politics in our native state never cease to entertain, especially when the gubernatorial elections roll around. Who could forget, for example, the ill-fated candidacy of Gary Coleman? This year’s contest seems similarly likely to offer its share of oddities, starting with reactionary Douglas Hughes. Though he has positions on all the major topics of […]

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The Provider

May 24th, 2010 · 5 Comments

America’s long-running (and endlessly futile) War on Drugs is on the verge of claiming another casualty: the government of Jamaica. The Caribbean nation’s capital is partly in flames today, as residents of Tivoli Gardens battle police with fire bombs and heavy weaponry. The reason for the bloodshed is the government’s call for the surrender of […]

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The Language Barrier

May 21st, 2010 · 2 Comments

Bananas week ’round here, as we put the finishing touches on our addiction opus for Wired and prep for a much-needed vacation. (If anyone knows of must-see attraction on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, please advise.) So we’re gonna float into the weekend by reviving our Bad Movie Friday feature, which has been absent from these pages […]

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Rye and Beer at Nine-Fifteen

May 21st, 2010 · 5 Comments

An associate of ours recently told us that John McPhee once stated that he lives in constant fear of being outed as a fraud. Since we share this uniquely writerly anxiety, we’ve been searching high and low for the exact quote in which one of non-fiction’s true masters reveals himself to be a mere mortal. […]

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The Organ Trade Equation

May 20th, 2010 · 6 Comments

As we jam on our monthly Wired column deadline, we thought we’d give y’all something to chew over—a interesting snippet pulled from this excellent Discover piece about the kidney black market in India. Given our philosophical leanings, we generally find ourselves arguing for the legalization and regulation of kidney sales. But then we come across […]

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Beyond Bulgarian Metal

May 19th, 2010 · 3 Comments

In discussing Bulgaria’s long and healthy tradition of heavy metal last week, we briefly lampooned the first act that popped up when we Googled “Bulgarian hip-hop”—a buffoonish rapper named Ustata. As fate would have it, a Bulgarian reader chimed in to gently upbraid us for highlighting her nation’s most embarrassingly awful MC: I’m amused that […]

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Pax Upon Him…Perhaps

May 19th, 2010 · 3 Comments

If the whole Richard Blumenthal saga has taught us anything, it’s that the brazen mendacity of public figures is relatively easy to detect, provided that someone is willing to put a little elbow grease into the search. Of course, that search requires resources, specifically time and money. Microkhan is short on both, alas, so we […]

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The Rabies “Racket”

May 18th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Healthy skepticism is obviously the lifeblood of a functioning society, yet there are moments when distrust of The Man can have dire consequences. That is too often the case in the public-health sphere, which we reckon makes sense—the notion of injecting ourselves with foreign agents is terrifying, especially since it’s so hard to observe how […]

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Room 118

May 18th, 2010 · 2 Comments

If all goes according to plan, this post will go live right as we exit a federal courthouse. That where we plan on spending the better part of the morning, in search of a case file that is likely jaundiced with age. Wish us luck in dealing with the quizzical looks of the clerical staff; […]

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The Weapon That Almost Wasn’t?

May 17th, 2010 · 1 Comment

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Edward G. Uhl, renowned as one of the co-fathers of the bazooka. It is safe to say that World War II would have been a much tougher slog for the Allies without the tubular weapon, which Dwight D. Eisenhower hailed as one of our […]

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A Question of Lead

May 17th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Back in November, we opined that the likes of the United Nations would be well-advised to focus less on paying for physical improvements to impoverished schools, and more on reducing lead poisoning among very young children. As it turns out, the endlessly troubled city of Detroit might want to consider heeding that advice, too: A […]

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Sci-Fi in the DDR

May 14th, 2010 · No Comments

The Stasi was hardly the only important East German institution to leave behind a wealth of archival material. Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft, better known to Western film buffs as DEFA Studios, also preserved its documentary heritage upon Communism’s collapse. The state-run movie producer has since bequeathed much of its vast archives to the University of Massachusetts, […]

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Lessons from the Thin White Duke

May 14th, 2010 · No Comments

Even if you never owned the cassette version of Use Your Illusion II, this recent interview with Slash can’t help but entertain. We’ve loved the man ever since seeing him avoid self-immolation by ever-so-calmly removing a dropped cigarette from his knee-high boot. (Such are the perils of falling asleep on talk-show couch, apparently.) Oh, and […]

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Leotards for the Proletariat

May 13th, 2010 · 8 Comments

One of the first “heavy” books we ever read was Hedrick Smith’s The Russians, which came out at the height of the whole “Evil Empire” period. Before cracking open Smith’s honest investigation of daily life in the U.S.S.R., we imagined that Moscow resembled a vast outdoor version of the Death Star, absolutely devoid of color […]

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Bulletproof: The Lumpas

May 13th, 2010 · No Comments

As long promised, we’re finally bringing back The Bulletproof Project, our series on mass movements that instructed their followers that magic could counteract modern weaponry. Today’s entry is one we’ve been researching for ages: Northern Rhodesia’s Lumpa Church, a messianic Christian movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s headed by a woman named Alice […]

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The Fungi’s Second Front

May 12th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Having dedicated the better part of 2009 to understanding the threat posed by Ug99, a fungus that threatens to decimate much of the Eastern Hemisphere’s wheat crop, our ears always prick up when we hear of looming agricultural catastrophes. The latest comes in the form of Pathogen206, which afflicts wheat with yellow rust (aka stripe […]

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Angels With Dirty Faces

May 11th, 2010 · No Comments

We were gonna hit you with another Bulletproof Project entry this afternoon, but paying gigs and prior commitments have conspired against us. The next few hours are all about writing FOIA requests and researching an upcoming “Mr. Know-It-All” column for Wired, before we bolt downtown for an evening of industrial design, Pakistani food, and Cavs-Celtics. […]

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Lord of the Board

May 11th, 2010 · 7 Comments

A few months ago, in the course of writing about the phenomenal track record of the UMBC chess team, we briefly flicked at the notion that chess intelligence is a unique beast that doesn’t necessarily predict classroom (or life) success. The ability to imagine a game’s progress several moves ahead, as well as consider the […]

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Sofia Rock City

May 10th, 2010 · 6 Comments

Okay, quick word association game: When we say “Bulgaria,” what’s the first thing that pops to mind? For us it’s french fries slathered in partially melted sirene, but heavy metal is a close second. And so you can only imagine the great times we’ve been having sifting through the archives of this stupendous site, inarguably […]

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Ripped in the Kingdom of Happiness

May 10th, 2010 · No Comments

In what must certainly rank as the least surprising athletic triumph ever, bodybuilder Tshering Dorji has been named the first-ever Mr. Bhutan. Though his victory is just days old, Dorji has obviously been expecting this title for years—something we assume based on the fact that his three-year-old charitable foundation is called Mr. Bhutan. Also, going […]

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A Notch Below the Opti-Grab

May 7th, 2010 · No Comments

While using the U.S. Patent Office’s records to try and discern what genius invented the jalapeno popper, we accidentally stumbled upon an invention for the ages: the flavored boot for eyeglasses. We’ll let the application’s description do the dirty work for us: Many individuals who wear eyeglasses frequently will remove their eyeglasses and place the […]

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Bumps for Life

May 7th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Yesterday, a pal of ours asked whether the following stat (gleaned from a recent Harpers article) could possibly be true: One out of every 85 humans living today will meet their end as a result of a vehicular accident. That figure may sound ridiculously astronomical, but data from the World Health Organization lends some powerful […]

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Thugged Out

May 6th, 2010 · 2 Comments

A treasured Friend o’ Microkhan recently directed us toward this insightful yet depressing Foreign Policy piece, about the seemingly endless nature of Africa’s various armed conflicts. The author makes a convincing case that we do ourselves a disservice by trying to understand these ultra-violent clashes as wars, since one side usually has no interest in […]

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Representing the +95

May 5th, 2010 · No Comments

The sitter’s deathly ill and the Grand Empress is at JFK picking up a shipment of lacey undergarments (slightly NSFW), so Microkhan Jr. is our sole responsibility ’til his afternoon playdate. That means no time for words o’ wisdom this morning, an announcement we make with heavy hearts. Hope to get back to y’all once […]

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