Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from March 30th, 2012

Where is the Romance?

March 30th, 2012 · 2 Comments

I got in a spirited discussion yesterday regarding New York’s abundance of one-dollar dumpling shops. In my dozen-plus years of calling this metropolis home, the special these joints offer has never changed, even though their various costs (especially rent) have certainly increased a fair bit. And though I realize that many of them probably skirt […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

More Than Just a Sandwich Eater

March 28th, 2012 · 1 Comment

For those of y’all who follow my microblog, you might have noticed a recent fascination with pop-culture relics of the early Atomic Age. That interest is a spin-off of a book-related strand about America’s early nuclear reactors, one of which plays a small-yet-pivotal role in the plot. As I iron out some kinks in that […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

After the Lights Switch Off

March 27th, 2012 · No Comments

So I have something pretty un-American to confess: this year, for the first time since my days in Dublin, I’ve been following Premier League soccer like mad. Things have gotten to the point, in fact, that I’m seriously considering a late-afternoon work break in order to watch the Sunderland-Everton FA Cup quarterfinal. I can’t only […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

The End in Sight

March 26th, 2012 · No Comments

Starting off the week by immersing myself in Chapter Sixteen of the book. Twenty-six days ’til my deadline and I’ve got another ten thousand or so words to go. It ain’t gonna be pretty, but I think I’ve got a shot at pulling this one out. While I focus on today’s chunk of the narrative, […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Wandering Minds

March 23rd, 2012 · 1 Comment

A big part of my book research has consisted of purchasing obscure, tattered tomes that have obviously passed through dozens of hands before reaching my global headquarters. One of the delights of obtaining such artifacts is the marginalia they sometimes offer—I just recently discovered, for example, a scribbled note in a discarded library book that […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

A Bald-Faced Lie in Turkmenistan

March 21st, 2012 · 3 Comments

Granted, you have to give (very minor) props to Turkmenistan’s president for his guitar chops (see above). But don’t be fooled into thinking he’s helming a nation any less repressive than the one he inherited from his infamous predecessor. The Turkmen government has zero patience for those who might dare question its absolute authority to […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Dirty Tricks in the Land of Fire

March 20th, 2012 · No Comments

You’re gonna be hearing a lot more than usual ’bout Azerbaijan in the coming days, since the nation will be playing host to that wretched entertainment ritual known as Eurovision 2012. The event is supposed to be a coming-out party of sorts for the so-called Land of Fire, which would very much like to attract […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

Child Educator Plus Head Amputator

March 19th, 2012 · 2 Comments

Parent-teacher conference plus a gainfully employed Grand Empress equal Microkhan on full-time parenting duty today. Which is probably for the best, because a full weekend of writing has left my brain feeling like a desiccated sponge. Hoping to recharge by taking Microkhan Jr. for a trip on the Roosevelt Island tram.

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

Spot the Obscenity

March 16th, 2012 · No Comments

It has been far too long since I have cast Microkhan’s spotlight on Papua New Guinea, one of this project’s most beloved topics of conversation. The troubled country has an election due this summer, one that could well be delayed by a government desperate to cling to power. In the meantime, that government is wrestling […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

On the Downslope

March 15th, 2012 · No Comments

Unlike the fine fellows in the tsarist poster above, the title of which translates as “A Time for Relaxation,” I ain’t got time to kick back and Microkhan today. Still stuck on the second paragraph of my book’s fifteenth chapter, and I need to push through that block. Acquaint yourself with some fantastic Siberian artifacts, […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

The Overreach

March 14th, 2012 · 4 Comments

This spot-on passage from Mark Bowden’s Guests of the Ayatollah is something that I’ll be keeping at the forefront of my thoughts today, as I tackle an especially tricky section of my book: Revolution gives ordinary people the false belief that they can remake not just themselves, their country, and the whole wide world but […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

Hard Life in the Urals

March 13th, 2012 · 2 Comments

When I first traveled in the post-Soviet world many moons ago, one thing that struck me was how all the restaurant menus listed foods by specific amounts. In Michal Kováč-era Bratislava, one did not order a small or large platter of dumplings; you either got the 200-gram size or the 500-gram size. And I have […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Art Amidst the Mustard Gas, Cont’d

March 9th, 2012 · 4 Comments

One of the very first Microkhan posts was about so-called trench art, a catch-all term for the artifacts that (usually ill-fated) soldiers created during their World War I downtime. It’s a genre I love dearly because it basically amounts to a big middle finger to madness—a way for the cannon fodder to achieve some small […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Considerable Exertion

March 8th, 2012 · No Comments

Stealing a day to seal myself up in the writing cave, with the goal of getting halfway through Chapter Fourteen. Occupy your spare moments by sifting through this impressively complete collection of vintage track-and-field trading cards. The comic-book covers are also worth your time; I had no idea about Scrooge McDuck’s pole-vaulting prowess.

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

A Detail Worth a Thousand Words

March 7th, 2012 · 3 Comments

I’ve written before about how a single observation can elevate a work of non-fiction into the realm of true art. That is certainly the case with this New York Times dispatch from Whiteclay, Nebraska, a town infamous for providing alcohol to the neighboring Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It’s a solid piece of reporting, for sure, […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Leopard, Leopard, Burning Bright

March 6th, 2012 · No Comments

The recent kidnapping of two Assamese forestry officials may have been peacefully resolved, but the caper hints at a deepening problem in India’s long troubled North-East. No, not the continued prevalence of insurgent groups that double as organized-crime outfits, but rather the bulldozing of woodlands that are the region’s foremost natural resource. The forestry officials […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·······

A Different Approach

March 2nd, 2012 · 2 Comments

I’m a point in my book where I need to describe a cultural misunderstanding, one that has dire consequences for all parties involved. It’s a tricky thing to describe, since my worldview naturally aligns with the American characters—in trying to write the scene, I keep on expressing too much sympathy for their predicament. To wriggle […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Long Tentacles

March 1st, 2012 · No Comments

I’m genuinely surprised that this story, about the attempted assassination of a dissident Uzbek cleric, has remained so off-the-radar. The victim, Obidkhon Qori Nazarov, was reportedly shot multiple times—not in his native country, but rather in the small Swedish town of Strömsund. I can’t imagine the Swedes are too happy about a foreign nation’s assassins […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···