Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from May 31st, 2012

Boiling a Frog in Reverse

May 31st, 2012 · 2 Comments

I have previously written about Mongolia’s struggles with endemic alcoholism, which the political establishment has tried to address by leading by example. But as this editorial makes clear, the problem is only getting worse, with over 55 percent of the nation’s population admitting to excessive alcohol intake. Aside from raising taxes to exorbitant levels, then, […]

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Hail to the Chief

May 30th, 2012 · No Comments

Late jump on the day, so must leave you with a classic from the late Chief Oliver de Coque, who guitar arsenal included this innovative number. Back tomorrow with some thoughts on Mongolia’s skyrocketing rate of alcoholism.

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Poetry Lives!

May 29th, 2012 · No Comments

I spent part of the long holiday weekend catching up with Evan Osnos’s account of Macau’s casino scene, a story gorgeously stuffed with details of nouveau riche excess. The mind reels at the thought that Macau’s high rollers require stools upon which to place their handbags, or that they rock $12,000 mobile phones. But the […]

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A Game in Which Everyone Loses

May 25th, 2012 · No Comments

As you enjoy the forthcoming three-day weekend, take a moment to think good thoughts for the beleaguered citizens of Papua New Guinea, who are weathering what could be the nation’s nastiest political crisis in years. Matters started to get out of hand three days ago, when Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled that former prime […]

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The Slip-and-Fall Queen

May 24th, 2012 · 2 Comments

If the good folks at the National Insurance Crime Bureau are to be believed, the ol’ slip-and-fall con is thriving anew these days. Yet today’s practitioners of this tried-and-true scam are rank amateurs compared to Patricia Latham, who became a wealthy woman by perfecting the art of slip-and-fall. Her dedication to her craft was as […]

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The Corsican Glass is Half Full

May 22nd, 2012 · 2 Comments

As a tremendous fan of the French movie A Prophet—I defy you to find a flick with a better razor-attack scene—I was naturally drawn to this recent account of Corsica’s organized-crime problem. The French-run island sounds like it’s run like the Brooklyn docks circa 1952, with men of violence calling the shots at all levels. […]

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There is Hope for Us Yet

May 21st, 2012 · No Comments

Slammed this Monday on business-y stuff—primarily trying to find a new tenant for the old Harlem headquarters. (Anyone in the market for a two-bedroom in a historic neighborhood? Holler.) Back tomorrow with something thoughtful; in the meantime, revel in the fact that some great humor does, in fact, translate across disparate cultures. So heartwarming that […]

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The Economics of Bird Theft

May 18th, 2012 · No Comments

I must confess to an undue fascination with bird theft, a crime too-seldom explored in the annals of popular literature. Though there is no shortage of stories about purloined finches, reporters never seem to explain how much the crooks stand to earn—or, more important, the mechanics of fencing illegally obtained birds. I was thus pleased […]

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Punished for Cleverness

May 17th, 2012 · 2 Comments

Your daily reminder of why Belarus shouldn’t be hosting the 2014 World Hockey Championship: A Belarusian opposition activist has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for using a sign to mock a plainclothes security officer. In the April incident, Ivan Amelchanka was photographed standing next to a man who was using a hand-held camera […]

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“One Day It Might be Your Houses”

May 15th, 2012 · No Comments

The last time we checked in with Carol Kidu, Papua New Guinea’s lone female legislator, she was proposing a bil that would set aside a percentage of parliamentary seats for women. Since then, she has become the head of the nation’s forlorn opposition, a role which has brought her into frequent conflict with PNG’s thoroughly […]

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Never Say Die

May 14th, 2012 · 1 Comment

On the road for much of today, so start your week off right with a little vintage King Kobra, the rare hair-metal band willing to sacrifice its hair for a worthy cause—in this case, the destruction of Commies. Louis Gossett Jr. kills it in this video, too.

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Squished

May 11th, 2012 · 2 Comments

I’ve been breaking out all my old kiddie books to read to Microkhan Jr., an experience that has taught me a lot about the formative images that shaped my worldview—sometimes to horrifying effect. One that jumped out at me the other day was from Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy World. It purports to depict the demoralizing […]

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A Return to Normalcy

May 10th, 2012 · No Comments

I dog-eared a whole bunch of pages in Mark Bowden’s Guests of the Ayatollah, including one featuring a passage about a longtime favorite topic: the psychology of captivity. I am a firm believer in the proposition that extended confinement can warp the mind in terrifying ways, which means I’m also a great admirer of men […]

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Black is White, Night is Day

May 8th, 2012 · No Comments

There is, of course, no reason to expect anything but prevarication from the government of Azerbaijan, an authoritarian kleptocracy with no compunctions about employing dirty tricks. Still, the regime’s insistence on spouting obvious falsehoods is a dark wonder to behold. With its turn as Eurovision host fast approaching, Azerbaijan is going to great lengths to […]

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That’s All I Can Stands

May 7th, 2012 · No Comments

Will future historians look back upon Angela “LaGija” Dlamini as the great tea-leaf reader of Swazi politics? In recent days, her husband, the absolute monarch King Mswati III, has come under an unusual amount of fire for his profligacy—it is still tough to imagine, for example, why he merited a new $46 million jet, or […]

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End of Act One

May 4th, 2012 · 3 Comments

As you read these words today, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my book manuscript—an 84,000-word tale of a young couple that pulled off an amazing heist many moons ago, then went roaming about the world. Tough to believe I’ve reached this point in the process; I started working on this project nearly three […]

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So Close, So Far Away

May 3rd, 2012 · No Comments

Just about thirty hours to go ’til my book deadline. Furiously trimming adverbs and trying to inject much-needed moments of humor and profundity. Sit tight.

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Bad Reputation

May 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

As you may have noticed, I have a soft spot for walruses, who I like to think of as Nature’s couch potatoes. I was thus amused to learn that the self-styled scientists of the sixteenth century believed that these sedentary sacks of blubber were, in fact, agents of the Devil. Check out this 1539 description […]

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