Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from September 30th, 2011

After the Peak

September 30th, 2011 · No Comments

During this past week’s procrastinatory idylls, I had a chance to read two very different accounts of how folks deal with the fallout of fame. The first was an excerpt from an upcoming biography of the late Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, a man who basically apart after his playing career was over. His […]

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Only the Little People Pay Taxes

September 29th, 2011 · 2 Comments

For all but dedicated observers of southern African politics, King Mswati III of Swaziland is known primarily for his polygamous lifestyle and its attendant chaos. But the absolute monarch deserves scorn not for his libertinism, but rather the absolutely atrocious way he has handled Swaziland’s public finances. Mswati’s financial recklessness is the reason his nation […]

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The Next Thousand

September 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Big writing day—if I don’t get this chapter out the door by Sunday morning, the whole house of cards may come tumbling down. Back tomorrow with something choice.

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For Research Purposes Only, Of Course

September 27th, 2011 · 2 Comments

When President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, his hosts treated him to a performance of The Red Detachment of Women, a “revolutionary ballet” in which girls with guns dance en pointe to music about the evil of landlords. When Nixon expressed his admiration for the production to Madame Mao, she replied with a ready-made […]

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Primal Joy

September 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Recovering from the flu today, so don’t quite have the mental fortitude to do anything more complex than shuffle from coffee pot to couch. But thought I’d muster the energy to share the clip above, the first goal from last week’s Fenerbahce-versus-Manisaspor soccer match in Istanbul. For those of y’all who don’t follow Turkish sports, […]

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A Rare and Monstrous Talent

September 23rd, 2011 · 3 Comments

I’m the early stages of planning a new Wired project, one that will delve into the economics of how to properly compensate “ultra-specialists”—that is, people who possess the unusual ability to tackle extremely arcane tasks. I guess the classic example here would be those left-handed relief pitchers who make millions by appearing in a handful […]

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The System

September 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Taking a sick kid to the doctor this morning—an hour-plus on the subway, followed by a sure-to-be interminable wait for gruff service. Should be fun.

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Grunt’s Eye View

September 21st, 2011 · 1 Comment

I never did care much for war comics as a kid, and so always flipped past back issues The ‘Nam when searching for the latest Wolverine. But now that the latest book has got me looking for ways to bring the jungles of Long Khanh Province alive, I’ve found myself relying on some choice The […]

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Pushing the Revolving Door

September 20th, 2011 · No Comments

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of The Shawshank Redemption, but there’s one scene toward the end that I consider truly memorable. It’s the one in which Morgan Freeman, having been paroled from prison after so many years behind bars, is shown at his job in the free world: bagging groceries at a supermarket. […]

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Where Do We Go Now?

September 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Given how much I write about Papua New Guinea, it would be much to my discredit if I didn’t wish the nation a happy 36th birthday before I split for the weekend. Here’s to hoping that things start looking up for the country in the post-Michael Somare era; as newly minted prime minister Peter O’Neill […]

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The Eyeball Test

September 16th, 2011 · 1 Comment

I had to do a double-take this morning when I saw that The New York Times had a (digital) front-page feature on the Freedmen controversy. The question of whether Black Indians deserve tribal membership is something I wrote about six years ago, in a mammoth Wired piece that pondered the role of genetic analysis in […]

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Tommy Can You Hear Me?

September 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Knocking back a few pints with fellow scribe Doug Merlino last night, the conversation inevitably turned to sports—or, more specifically, the late 1980s heyday of Sports Illustrated, the magazine that taught us both to love the art of storytelling. We both remembered that this vintage era of SI featured a ginormous number of “as told […]

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Everything’s Better with Disco

September 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Invoking khan’s prerogative to steal a day for book writing. Because if I don’t finish this chapter by week’s end, I fear the worst for the family’s future over the long winter. Even in Queens, keeping a yurt heated ain’t cheap.

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Fear the Beard

September 13th, 2011 · 3 Comments

One of the many historical realms I’m trying to bring to life in the next book is that of Oregon’s Vietnam-era college scene. And one of that scene’s biggest controversies was that involving Fred Milton, an Oregon State University football star who refused his coach’s demand that he shave his beard—in the off-season, it’s important […]

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Demo or Die

September 12th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Let me start the week by directing y’all’s attention to my latest Wired essay, in which I argue for the revival of a bygone regulation: the requirement that patent applicants submit working models of their inventions. Sound onerous? Yeah, that’s the point: The abolition of the model requirement [in 1880] was initially a boon to […]

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The Ponchos: A PG-13 Masterpiece

September 9th, 2011 · 4 Comments

I can probably count on two hands the number of movies I’ve paid to see twice in a movie theater. Virtually all are classics that I’ve caught as revivals: The Godfather II, A Clockwork Orange, and The Bridge on the River Kwai immediately pop to mind. But there is also a decided oddball in the […]

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With Friends Like These

September 8th, 2011 · 4 Comments

As Muammar Qaddafi continues to rage, rage, rage against the inevitable dying of the light, the time has come to assess just how much damage he wrought during his absurdly long rule. I never cease to be amazed by the man’s longevity; just recently, in fact, his name came up in my book research, as […]

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An Appeal to the Rain Gods

September 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Supposed to be taking Microkhan Jr. to his first major league baseball game today, an afternoon Yankees-Orioles tilt up in the Bronx, but the weather is looking ominous. I thus aim to curry favor with the rain gods by posting the song above from Max Tannone’s much-beloved Ghostfunk, recently highlighted on perennial podcast fave Fresh […]

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A Pro’s Pro

September 6th, 2011 · 4 Comments

At the risk of alarming folks who have a vested interest in my creative progress, I must confess that the book-writing process is proceeding at a snail’s pace. In a wildly optimistic moment last month, I vowed to have two entire chapters done by Labor Day; now my best-case scenario is that I’ll have a […]

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Face Off

September 2nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

When you’ve spent the better part of your adult life at the helm of an entire country, it must be awfully hard to accept a gold watch and fade into the sunset. I’m going to guess that playing bridge, hitting the country-club buffet, and working on your memoirs doesn’t give a type-A personality the same […]

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The Original Social Networks

September 1st, 2011 · 3 Comments

For those of us born after the invention of pencilin—presumably anyone and everyone who has ever checked into Microkhan’s universe—it’s difficult to fathom the esteem in which fraternal organizations were once regarded. Thumb through any society page from the first half of the 20th century and you’ll doubtless encounter one article after another about the […]

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