Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from July 31st, 2012

An Inconvenient Excuse

July 31st, 2012 · 1 Comment

The human cannonball act is one of the most notoriously dangerous in all of circus-dom; performers have little to no control over their movement, so any minute error in firing trajectory is certain to cause catastrophe. The legendary Zazel, née Rossa Matilda Richter, was thus fortunate to survive her 19th-century career, though she did break […]

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Penultimate Push

July 30th, 2012 · No Comments

Endeavoring mightily to complete the second draft of the book by day’s end. Revel in the awesome that is Pearl Chang, and catch you back here tomorrow morning.

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Reality Check

July 26th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Compared to the Games of the late Cold War, when steroids were integral to athletic success, this year’s Olympics will be remarkably clean. Yet we also know that drug use has not vanished—how could it, give the rewards at stake at the ultra-competitive nature of those tempted to use? The big question is what percentage […]

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The Perils of Going Legit

July 25th, 2012 · No Comments

I’m one of those blokes who will argue ’til the end of time that The Godfather: Part II far surpasses the original. That’s largely because of the whole Vito Corelone backstory, which includes the single greatest flawed gangster of all time. But I also dig the quiet tension created by Michael Corleone’s vacillation over his […]

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Caught in the Act

July 24th, 2012 · No Comments

A day late on this month’s deadline for my Wired column, so you’ll have to wait twenty-four hours for my cogent thoughts on either human cannonballs or gang entrepreneurship. (Sorry, haven’t decided yet.) In the meantime, occupy your spare moments by delving into this salacious collection of trial pamphlets, which provided true-crime buffs with plenty […]

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The Weight of a Prank

July 23rd, 2012 · 2 Comments

Nineteen days ago, a Swedish advertising agency made waves by airdropping a thousand teddy bears over Belarus—a minor protest against the nation’s repression of free speech. A student in Minsk posted several photos of the bears on his site, and was subsequently arrested by Belarusian authorities for undisclosed reasons. That arrest caused the Swede behind […]

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A Milestone in Daredevil Law

July 19th, 2012 · No Comments

There are few more colorful characters in recent modern Cleveland history than Alphonso Woodall, a daredevil who performed as “The Human Kite.” A former Army Air Force mechanic, Woodall built his own rig so he could soar above Lake Erie with water skis strapped to his feet. His derring-do eventually attracted the interest of a […]

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Vivo o Morto

July 18th, 2012 · No Comments

Not sure how many Italian speakers I have in the Microkhan fold, but I felt the need to give some love to this new edition of Now the Hell Will Start from Milan-based Edizioni Piemme. I was tasked with approving the text, a job that gave me a new appreciation for the art of translation. […]

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Hopping to Oblivion

July 17th, 2012 · 12 Comments

The Jenga-like nature of markets is revealed in the tale of Australia’s kangaroo-meat crisis. There was a time when steaks and chops taken from Down Under’s most celebrated marsupials seemed destined to become a staple of butcher’s shops the world over. No country developed a more ravenous appetite for kangaroo meat than Russia, which came […]

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The Roles We Must Play

July 13th, 2012 · No Comments

Like many a non-fiction nerd whose tastes run toward the sinister, I was enraptured by Richard Lloyd Parry’s People Who Eat Darkness. The book’s central narrative was compelling enough—a young British woman’s disappearance set against the backdrop of Japan’s hostess-club industry. But what really makes the work sing is Parry’s exploration of media drama, and […]

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You Love Me for This

July 12th, 2012 · 4 Comments

The above photo of Charles Bukowski on French TV, snapped by the Sophie Bassouls, is everything that we’ve come to expect of the so-called “laureate of American lowlife.” Yet for me, the image does not call to mind a scene from one of Bukowski’s stories or poems, but rather the wisdom of a less-noted public […]

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The First Touch of Pressure

July 11th, 2012 · No Comments

Sorry for the radio silence today. Working on the publicity questionnaire for my long-discussed next book, which means the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a notch brighter. Back tomorrow with deep, deep thoughts on self-destructive celebrities.

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Good Luck, Mr. Atayev

July 10th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Turkmenistan’s National Space Agency has a new chairman, who will be expected to oversee the monumental task of launching the country’s first satellite. I’m still not entirely clear on why Turkmen dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is making this such a huge priority, for the official explanation is gobbledygook: the satellite, the nation’s state news agency tells […]

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The Accidental Challenge

July 9th, 2012 · No Comments

The French photographer Marc Garanger, best known for his 1960 series on Algerian women, began his career while serving in the army. He was assigned to Algiers in 1960, right as France was beginning to accept that the jewel of its North African empire was fated to achieve independence. The inevitably of this outcome caused […]

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How They Saw Us, Cont’d

July 5th, 2012 · No Comments

Quite some time ago, I posted about classic Soviet animation that hilariously stereotyped America as a Darwinian nightmare. As someone who grew up thinking that life in Moscow was accurately portrayed by that Wendy’s fashion show commercial, I was strangely pleased to learn that my Soviet peers were similarly duped into thinking that human happiness […]

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The Streets Ain’t Paved with Gold

July 3rd, 2012 · 1 Comment

There is a common and compelling narrative regarding the power of immigrant remittances: A busboy or chambermaid supports their entire native village by wiring money back home. We love these stories because they affirm the economic superiority of our circumstances, as well as the continued robustness of the American dream—through gumption and hard work, anyone […]

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“That’s Some Big Hole You’ve Got There”

July 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

Thanks a million for your patience while I was up in Maine, hacking away at the book and knocking back a whole mess of these. Catching up on a zillion different things today, then back tomorrow with a post about Somali immigrant remittances.

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