Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from January 31st, 2011

Monroe

January 31st, 2011 · 2 Comments

In transit back from a Now the Hell Will Start reading in Monroe, N.C.—birthplace of Herman Perry, the book’s main character. More tomorrow; in the meantime, check out the above—a tribute to Teddy Weatherford‘s heyday in Calcutta, when “The Seagull” starred at the Grand Hotel. It’s the handiwork of close pal and fellow traveler Susheel […]

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Over There

January 24th, 2011 · No Comments

I’m guesting over at Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ Atlantic blog this week, so please pop over there for your daily dose of Microkhan. I’ll cross-post at some point, but probably not ’til week’s end—just too busy doing last-minute debugging on the Teddy Weatherford tale.

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Flying with the Seagull

January 21st, 2011 · 2 Comments

I wasn’t going to start plugging my next major project ’til next week, as it won’t be going live ’til Wednesday the 26th. But this piece sort of blew our cover, plus a pending guest shot over at Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ blog threatens to complicate matters, so I’ve decided to end the week with a not-so-hard […]

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The Rickshas Tell All

January 20th, 2011 · No Comments

I’m a big fan of the theory that the key to understanding societal shifts is to pay close attention to the art of the everyday. A Chinese politician who may or may not have been Deng Xiaoping is credited with summarizing this logic during the sunset of Mao Zedong’s reign, when he was asked to […]

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Hocus Pocus

January 19th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Should you ever find yourself digging through the Vanuatuan penal code, you might notice a curious offense listed in Section 151: “No person shall practice witchcraft or sorcery with intent to cause harm or detriment to any other person.” Though this prohibition obviously has its roots in traditional Vanuatuan culture, it’s inclusion in the nation’s […]

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House Rules

January 18th, 2011 · No Comments

Got lots of good stuff lined up for the coming days, including posts about syphilitic composers, porcine economics in the New Guinea highlands, and the latest in ostrich ranching technology, to name just a few. And I’ll be moving the show over to Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ space at The Atlantic next week, so keep an eye […]

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How to Wreck a Nice Atoll

January 14th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Followers of Microkhan’s microblog may have noted that I’ve developed a recent fascination with World War II-era combat art, which was created as part of an official War Department program to depict the conflict in oils, inks, and water colors. Once the the war was over, the painting continued as the U.S. speedily developed its […]

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Blaming the Better Half

January 14th, 2011 · 3 Comments

I’ve spent a fair chunk of the morning immersed in the goings-on in Tunisia, where embattled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is rapidly losing his grip on power. What strikes me most about the protests is the fact that so much rage has been directed at Ben Ali’s wife, the former Leila Trabelsi, a […]

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The Importance of Good Design

January 13th, 2011 · No Comments

A salient reminder that engineering details really matter, from the august (and 141-year-old) pages of The Field Quarterly Magazine and Review: The Hindustani howdah often requires six men to place it on the elephant’s padded back. The Siamese “shing kha” can be easily lifted by two persons, and this while the elephant is standing—a great […]

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Where the Gaudy Wheels Went

January 12th, 2011 · 10 Comments

I’m a few months late in noting a milestone in American cult history: the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh‘s commune in Oregon, after his followers’ unsuccessful attempt to tilt a local election by tainting some local salad bars. Though I was still in grade school when this all happened, I […]

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Crumbs on the Table

January 11th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Running late on a monthly deadline, plus putting the finishing touches on the soon-to-drop Jazz Age yarn. Back tomorrow with some commentary on gang life in Port Moresby. Or perhaps some commentary on the mystery of Ma Anand Sheela.

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A Disease of Special Knowledge

January 10th, 2011 · 7 Comments

My line of work has brought me in contact with more than a few schizophrenics over the years, both as story subjects and as correspondents. I’ve become quite familiar with the seemingly impenetrable logic by which such people try to make sense of the world, and how their off-tangent worldviews occasionally lead to the commission […]

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Cindy’s Dreadful Second Act

January 7th, 2011 · No Comments

For the year’s first installment of Microkhan’s much-beloved Bad Movie Friday feature, I was sorely tempted to call out Cindy Crawford’s disastrous attempt to evolve from model to mactress: 1995′s Fair Game, not to be confused with the recent Plame Affair dramatization of the same name. But I decided to shift course upon reading Crawford’s […]

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No Sense of Time

January 6th, 2011 · 1 Comment

I’ve recently taken a lot of comfort from this Paris Review Q&A with John McPhee, in which the non-fiction master confesses that his writing remains a day-to-day struggle. (Celebrities—just like us!) But while most of the interview is dedicated to the creative process and the occasional madness it engenders, there is also this dead-on snippet […]

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The Sound of St. Georges Cross

January 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Major projects day here at Microkhan HQs, which means lots of reading up on Eldridge Cleaver’s interest in juche and cold-calling retired Naval officers. I trust that you can get through the next 24 hours with the aid of MC Soom T, one of Glasgow’s finest songstresses. Full interview here if you’d like to learn […]

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Cancer Sticks in the Clink

January 4th, 2011 · 7 Comments

One of my favorite economics story of the millennium is the Wall Street Journal‘s 2008 A-head about the use of tinned mackerel as prison currency. It’s a fantastic testament to the primacy of money; even when removed from ordinary society, humans always find a way to regulate their commerce by creating tangible symbols of achievement. […]

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Bowled Over

January 3rd, 2011 · 6 Comments

Let’s begin the year by hailing the ingenuity of a man who has contributed much to both mathematics and Internet meme-ry: John Venn. Venn is, of course, best known for concocting the elegant diagramming system that now bears his name. Aside from elucidating the fundamentals of logic for generations of schoolkids, Venn diagrams have also […]

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