Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as '1980s'

The Flip Side of Red Dawn

August 24th, 2012 · 6 Comments

Our eternal gratitude to whoever posted the full text of What to Do When the Russians Come, one of great artifacts of Cold War literature. The book assumes that the Wolverines did not, in fact, fend off the Soviet invasion, and so us poor subjugated Americans are left to make the best of a dreadful […]

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The Money Pit

February 24th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Back in 1985 or thereabouts, I made the worst business decision of my life: I traded all of my Star Wars action figures to a classmate, in exchange for a Fisher-Price Space Shuttle that made “beep beep” noises when a rubber buttons was depressed. To my credit, I realized within a matter of days that […]

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The Steamboat Willie of Malaysia

February 21st, 2011 · Comments Off on The Steamboat Willie of Malaysia

All this solo parenting has reacquainted me with the role that animation plays in kids’ development. In those moments that I’ve plopped Microkhan Jr. down in front of Team Umizoomi in order to secure a few minutes of peace, I’ve usually spent some time reminiscing about the cartoons that shaped my worldview. As previously noted, […]

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Where the Gaudy Wheels Went

January 12th, 2011 · 10 Comments

I’m a few months late in noting a milestone in American cult history: the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh‘s commune in Oregon, after his followers’ unsuccessful attempt to tilt a local election by tainting some local salad bars. Though I was still in grade school when this all happened, I […]

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Rocky’s Red Glare

July 2nd, 2010 · 6 Comments

We’re operating on the assumption that the masses have either a) already bolted for the holiday weekend or b) are too absorbed in the World Cup quarterfinals to pay attention to fresh information on The Tubes. As such, we’re signing off for a spell with the most patriotic scene from 1980s filmdom: Sylvester Stallone’s final […]

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Ye Olde Tyme Robo-Banjo

June 28th, 2010 · Comments Off on Ye Olde Tyme Robo-Banjo

We can trace our lifelong fascination with technology to a few choice childhood experiences: our first time playing Pitfall on an Atari 2600, watching The Black Hole on Betamax, and, perhaps above all, visiting The Magic Castle. The foyer of said castle featured a self-playing piano, which responded to audience requests (as long as those […]

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When Our Heart First Rose Up

June 3rd, 2010 · 2 Comments

We were totally unplugged during our Northern Michigan trip, so we just learned of Gary Coleman’s tragic passing a few hours ago. Given our relatively advanced age, it should go without saying that his work played a major part in our cultural formation—we certainly feel a small nostalgic thrill whenever someone quotes Diff’rent Strokes. But […]

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The Language Barrier

May 21st, 2010 · 2 Comments

Bananas week ’round here, as we put the finishing touches on our addiction opus for Wired and prep for a much-needed vacation. (If anyone knows of must-see attraction on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, please advise.) So we’re gonna float into the weekend by reviving our Bad Movie Friday feature, which has been absent from these pages […]

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Leotards for the Proletariat

May 13th, 2010 · 8 Comments

One of the first “heavy” books we ever read was Hedrick Smith’s The Russians, which came out at the height of the whole “Evil Empire” period. Before cracking open Smith’s honest investigation of daily life in the U.S.S.R., we imagined that Moscow resembled a vast outdoor version of the Death Star, absolutely devoid of color […]

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A Smirking Humanoid Named Sherman

March 5th, 2010 · 4 Comments

Ttaubotneanauayean for your patience this week, as we eased up on the posting in order to tackle our crushing Wired gig. All will resume to normal on Tuesday, after we’ve hit our deadline. To reward your steadfastness, we’d like to offer up a very special Bad Movie Friday entry: 1989’s Millennium, starring the truly mismatched […]

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Self-Publishing for Legends

January 25th, 2010 · 8 Comments

We’ve recently been toying with the idea of self-publishing a book, but can’t quite seem to get over the feeling that such a maneuver will result in a disastrous labor-to-pay ratio. That said, we’ve been heartened to learn that putting out one’s own book is no longer the sole domain of conspiracy theorists and frustrated […]

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The Absolute Nadir of Animation

January 15th, 2010 · 11 Comments

One of the greatest movie-review slams we’ve come across in recent months is Nathan Rabin’s brutal takedown of I Hate Valentine’s Day, the latest project from My Big, Fat Greek Wedding mastermind Nia Vardalos. The whole pan is full of choice insults, but the apex comes in the kicker: “If the comic strip character Cathy […]

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Kenya, Continued

December 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on Kenya, Continued

Still plugging away on the Kenya piece for Wired, so few if any deep thoughts this afternoon. Fortunately, The Tubes provide us with a quick and easy way to keep the Microkhan mojo going—namely, the priceless ad above for C-3PO cereal. This breakfast treat not only further lined George Lucas’s burgeoning pockets with cash; it […]

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May Day in Tirana

November 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on May Day in Tirana

While watching this propaganda film of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha celebrating May Day in 1983, we had one thought, and one thought alone: what percentage of those workers in the parade earned their living digging useless bunkers?

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“Beam the Bomb”

November 11th, 2009 · 3 Comments

After posting a vintage pro-SDI ad on Monday, we got to wondering about this “Coalition for SDI” that sponsored the spot. Who could be so bold as to create the risible “Peace Shield” euphemism? We connected the dots back to Daniel O. Graham, who claimed to be the coiner of the term “Strategic Defense Initiative.” […]

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The Peace Shield

November 9th, 2009 · 1 Comment

In response to Friday’s post on the launch of our “Bulletproof Project,” a commenter wryly noted that we should include the Strategic Defense Initiative among our list of magical shields. That quip naturally reminded us of this classic ad, in which a pro-SDI group tried to break down the appeal of Star Wars into the […]

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The Physics of the Impossible

September 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Unlike some past movies we’ve highlighted as part of Bad Movie Friday—notably the irredeemably dreadful Hard to Ticket to Hawaii—Gleaming the Cube is actually halfway watchable, provided you’re willing to switch off your brain for 90 minutes. But even when we’re feeling truly charitable, there are two things that can’t help but irk us to […]

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“There’s Always Barber College”

September 14th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Patrick Swayze starred in perhaps the most celebrated mom movie of all time—or, at the very least, the one that defined a certain kind of mom-ism in the latter Reagan Era. But we’ll always remember him as Dalton, the philosophical, mulleted boucer with a heart of gold and fists of stone. He now follows fellow […]

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The Homestretch

August 27th, 2009 · Comments Off on The Homestretch

We’re getting down to the wire on a major, major deadline, and thus don’t have even a neuron to spare for poor Microkhan this afternoon. As previously promised, we’ll be back to full strength on Monday. Thanks for bearing with us as we toil elsewhere. As a small token of our immense gratitude, please enjoy […]

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Why the Jack o’ Lanterns?

August 24th, 2009 · Comments Off on Why the Jack o’ Lanterns?

We admittedly do too many posts on ’80s nostalgia, especially now that Microkhan Jr.’s existence has us thinking a lot more ’bout our own formative years. But our worldview back during the Reagan Era was pretty American-centric, so we missed out on plenty of great, junky pop culture from more distant corners of the globe. […]

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Mr. T, Copyright Defender

July 29th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Huge apologies for the string of bummer posts over the past few days—murder-for-hire, arms smuggling, and gulags do not a happy Microkhan reader make, we now realize. So let us make it up to you by sharing an episode of Mr. T’s eponymous (and hugely underrated) Reagan-era cartoon. It involves stuntmen, ninjas, and movie piracy, […]

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Motrin, Motrin Everywhere

July 24th, 2009 · Comments Off on Motrin, Motrin Everywhere

Apologies for the super-late start today. Microkhan Jr.’s struggling with an aggressive virus that landed the whole crew in the ER last night. Naps, kiddie Motrin, and maybe a touch of kumis are in order, then we hope to catch y’all in a few. In the meantime, reward yourself with a week well done by […]

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The Monsters in Your Teeth

July 23rd, 2009 · 3 Comments

Microkhan Jr. stunned us yesterday by yelping out “Elmo!” upon seeing the ubiquitous monster on Sesame Street. That incident has got us thinking about how brands weasel their way into young minds, a train of thought that in turn led us to dig up the classic Crest commercial above. We’ve been Crest-loyal for years because […]

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“I Don’t Like the Axe…”

July 10th, 2009 · 1 Comment

After a holiday hiatus, Bad Movie Friday returns with a true gem: 1987’s The Barbarians, starring bodybuilding twins Peter and David Paul (aka the Barbarian Brothers). Though obviously a blatant attempt to copy the then-successful Conan blueprint, The Barbarians attempted to infuse the swords-and-sorcery formula with ample amounts of proto-ironic humor. More often than not, […]

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“Stolen by the Beast Who Has No Name…”

July 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Yesterday’s riff on Medieval weaponry got us thinking about one of of our favorite Saturday-morning shows of yore: the cartoon version of Dungeons & Dragons. To be totally honest, we were never really big on the game behind the series—guess we suffer from that whole lack-of-imagination thing, and thus needed moving images spoon-fed into our […]

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Rising from the Turf

June 30th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Bit of a rough day here ’round Microkhan HQs, alas—a potential project just fell through, so we’re suffering through one of our periodic bouts of creative moroseness. Hopefully we’ll rebound in an hour or two, but for the moment the well is nearly dry. As such, we’re gonna go the lazy khan’s route and kick […]

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Wings of Silver, Nerves of Steel

June 29th, 2009 · 8 Comments

We’re prepping to head downtown for the 20th anniversary screening of Do the Right Thing, a momentous occasion that has us on yet another ’80s nostalgia kick. It thus bears mentioning that another great cultural artifact is celebrating an important milestone this year— turns 23! And what better way to mark the occasion than with […]

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The Most Jersey Thing Ever

June 18th, 2009 · Comments Off on The Most Jersey Thing Ever

We honestly wonder what Sandi Saraya‘s four kids think when they encounter video evidence of mom’s eponymous ’80s band. Our best guess is that they feel an almost indescribable mix of embarrassment and pride. Microkhan, on the other hand, can only chuckle at Saraya’s oversized hair, rote guitar licks, and tragically trite lyrics (“Take my […]

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The Anteater Ritual

June 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Jonah Lehrer, one of our most brilliant Wired colleagues, just posted about the infectious nature of bad dancing. Checking out his hilarious video evidence, we couldn’t help but think of this fictional antecedent. Who knew you could learn so much ’bout neuroscience by watching terrible ’80s sex romps?

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Speaking from the Fist

May 29th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Perhaps Randy “Macho Man” Savage didn’t have quite the acting career of some of his fellow ’80s wrestlers (see: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Sgt. Slaughter), but you can’t fault the man’s instinct for licensing only the hottest fashion. When we came across the jacket above, via the somewhat NSFW THEM THANGS, we knew we had no […]

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