Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from December 30th, 2011

Make No Small Plans

December 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Thanks to all who patronized Microkhan this year, and hope you’ll stick around for the next 366 days (at least). Big plans for the forthcoming year, including some special longform projects, the revival of our long-lost “Bulletproof” series, and, of course, an increasing amount of clues and extras related to the next book. Stay with […]

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Talk About Missing the Point

December 29th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz has long resided high atop my list of all-time athletic badasses, and not just because he mastered the most technically difficult event in all of track-and-field. When the Polish Kozakiewicz took gold in the pole vault at the 1980 Olympics, he did so in front of a hostile Moscow crowd that was pulling […]

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Goals and Problems

December 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Trying to take advantage of the slow week to hit my book-writing goal: 50,000 words by the time I knock off for lobster and ale on New Year’s Eve. So far today, I have managed to…get to the corner mailbox to return some Netflix DVDs. Not a promising start.

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The Christmas Fake-Out

December 23rd, 2011 · 4 Comments

Put yourself in the shoes of a G.I. slogging his way across Italy or New Guinea in December 1943. You’ve been subsisting on tinned ham and cold coffee for days; your feet are bleeding; your best friend took a bullet to the skull on Thanksgiving. The last thing in the world you want to think […]

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“Very Big in Europe This Season”

December 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Invoking the khan’s prerogative to spend a day focusing on the book. But let’s be honest: Is there really anything I could write that would be as glorious as Lorenzo Lamas in an early ’80s Breakin’ knock-off? Methinks the answer is “no.”

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Seizing the Narrative

December 21st, 2011 · 2 Comments

It’s fair to say this has been a momentous week for Willie Gault, the former Chicago Bears wideout who was also a track star of great renown. Things started off great when police in Los Angeles found his stolen Super Bowl ring, but then took a turn for the worse—the much, much worse—after news emerged […]

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Only the Lonely

December 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments

While in Pittsburgh last week, I had a chance to catch up with an old friend who’s now an archaeology professor. He just returned to the Lower 48 after four years in Alaska, where he spent much of his time digging up the artifacts left behind by ancient inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands. On our […]

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This is Your Wake-Up Call

December 19th, 2011 · No Comments

The realist in me is resigned to the fact that little will change for North Korea’s long-suffering citizens in the wake of Dear Leader’s demise. But upon learning the news late last night, I immediately thought of a strangely optimistc scene from Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy, one set in the immediate aftermath of Kim […]

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“Today’s Most Devastating Polemicist”

December 16th, 2011 · No Comments

I was reluctant to read my first Christopher Hitchens work, a thin volume that bore the decidedly loaded title The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. I figured the flap copy told me all I needed to know about the author’s point of view, and that he’d written the polemic more as an […]

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Above the Allegheny

December 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Hanging out in the great city of Pittsburgh today, doing some Wired work and hoping to catch up with an archaeologist pal of mine. Back shortly.

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Days of Quiet Rage

December 13th, 2011 · 2 Comments

In exploring the nuttiness of the Symbionese Liberation Army as part of my book research, I came across this bygone Congressional document: a transcript of a 1976 hearing entitled “Threats to the Peaceful Observance of the Bicentennial.” The artifact’s real gold is not to be found in the back-and-forth between various Congressmen and witnesses, but […]

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Legend of the Eggs

December 9th, 2011 · No Comments

I am regrettably a few days late in noting the untimely passing of Vasily Alexeev, the famed Soviet athlete who dominated the sport of weightlifting for most of the 1970s. Alexeev was an object of great fascination in the West, for he seemed to embody our deepest fears about the world behind the Iron Curtain: […]

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Working the Phones

December 8th, 2011 · No Comments

You’ll have to make do with some Filipino disco today, since I’m absorbed in reporting for multiple projects. Just spent the better part of the morning trying to track down an amnesia victim, only to be frustrated by his overprotective 78-year-old mother. May have to Irish up this coffee to push through that early-in-the-day disappointment.

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The Popular Cannon

December 7th, 2011 · 5 Comments

This blog has occasionally featured my half-baked ruminations on the symbolic power of tangible objects. I’ve always been puzzled by the extraordinarily high values that people can ascribe to non-personal items, as if those items’ absence or destruction might somehow affect the intangible ideas they embody. A great case in point is the developing spat […]

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Betting on the Wrong Horse

December 5th, 2011 · 1 Comment

When you’re in the midst of agonizing over the relative merits of two competing technologies, the choice can seem oh-so-important. I still have vivid memories, for example, of the raging household debate that surrounded my family’s selection of a first computer—the Mac and the Amiga both had points in their favor, after all. But in […]

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Men Rule Everything Around Me

December 2nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

Interesting little tidbit in this excellent profile of Lady Carol Kidu, Papua New Guinea’s only female legislator, who is pushing a controversial bill to allocate a set percentage of parliamentary seats for women: Kidu knows that if the bill fails then when she retires next year PNG will likely become the 10th nation in the […]

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The Evolution of Bomb-Squad Armor

December 1st, 2011 · 6 Comments

One thing my book research has taught me is that America used to have a serious problem with bombs. Every time I delve into the news archives from the early 1970s, I come away amazed at number of stories involving homemade explosive devices going off a nightclubs, bus depots, and Mafia social clubs. And I’m […]

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