Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'philosophy'

A Rule Made to be Broken

April 24th, 2013 · No Comments

Over on the ol’ microblog, I probably link to a half-dozen intriguing tales per day, most of which I forget about a few moments after posting. But every so often, one of the stories I toss into the flotsam sticks with me for days, even weeks, to the point that I need to sit down […]

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A Koan for Our Times

April 10th, 2013 · No Comments

Apologies for the sporadic posting these last couple of weeks. I’m neck deep in a million things as the book nears publication, including those all-important updates on Skyjacker of the Day. Fear not, though, this enterprise still lives, and posts shall be issuing at more traditional rate starting early next week. For the moment, though, […]

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The Master of “What If?”

June 13th, 2012 · No Comments

A year ago I wrote about the great Cuban boxer Teófilo Stevenson, who passed away on Monday. I, like so many others, have always been awestruck by Stevenson’s willingness to forego a pro career, one that would have doubtless earned him millions of dollars. He instead chose to live a simple life in Cuba, where […]

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Voyage Into Inner Space

June 12th, 2012 · 6 Comments

The above comes from the military manual given to all new arrivals at Johnston Atoll, the Pacific island where we dumped a whole bunch of toxic material back in the day. I can’t help but love the accidental Zen of this motto. More on the Johnston Atoll lifestyle here.

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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 […]

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The Knife Thrower’s Assistant

February 3rd, 2012 · 1 Comment

A big challenge I’ve faced with my book is the difficulty of grasping the rationales of truly eccentric characters. Even when I’ve been able to interview such folks, I rarely come away with a full understanding of why they made certain choices—their reasoning tends to be opaque, at least to a fairly normal bloke like […]

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Commerce Above All

August 30th, 2011 · 6 Comments

Those who’ve been keeping score might have noticed a recent Microkhan obsession with visual communication—particularly the way in which simple illustrated material can be used to convey complex messages. This is an interest that dates back to my first exposure to Chick tracts, and has now ramped up with all the energy I’ve been pouring […]

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The Ponchos: Ruocheng Ying in The Last Emperor

August 19th, 2011 · 2 Comments

After a hiatus of a few weeks, it’s time to award another Poncho, the greatest honor that Microkhan can bestow upon the minor players of cinema. As a few of you may recall, the prize is given to supporting actors for the utterance of memorable single lines—lines that, in far less capable hands, would have […]

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Laissez-Faire

April 1st, 2011 · No Comments

One of the pluses of travel these days is that it affords me the opportunity to catch up on reading. (The parents in the audience know well that young’uns page-rate down by quite a bit.) On this latest Texas trip, when I wasn’t busy finagling my way into a remote immigration detention facility, I stole […]

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No Sense of Time

January 6th, 2011 · 1 Comment

I’ve recently taken a lot of comfort from this Paris Review Q&A with John McPhee, in which the non-fiction master confesses that his writing remains a day-to-day struggle. (Celebrities—just like us!) But while most of the interview is dedicated to the creative process and the occasional madness it engenders, there is also this dead-on snippet […]

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The Grandeur of Glory

November 19th, 2010 · 4 Comments

(Cross-posted to/from PLoS Blogs) All the recent chatter over the dangers of professional football compelled me to look up one of my favorite snippets of Greek mythology: the tale of Achilles’ choice, from Book Nine of the Iliad. For those who have only foggy memories of high-school English, the story goes like this: the gods […]

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The Logic of Protest

November 2nd, 2010 · 8 Comments

If you haven’t already, be sure to hit your local polls before the day is through. I’ll be taking Microkhan Jr. into the voting booth this afternoon, and I’ll let him pull the lever at the end (though he won’t actually get to make any ballot selections). For the umpteenth time since I turned 18, […]

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Think Think Think

September 21st, 2010 · 10 Comments

In a pensive mood today, as I mark another revolution ’round the Sun while simultaneously grappling with some tough decisions. At times like these, I often ask myself, “What would Genghis do?” But then I watch the clip above, which quotes the Great Khan pretty much verbatim, and I’m reminded that I can find little […]

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Even Nilgais Get the Blues

March 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment

Nature just hasn’t seen fit to color many terrestrial animals blue, which is why the mere mention of the concept usually makes us think exclusively of fictional beasts. But as it turns out, blue bulls are rather common in India, and they have recently been causing serious problems: Led by Una district committee of Himachal […]

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Can Nicorette Be Righteous?

September 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

As we’ve given ever-deeper thought to our nation’s distressingly high infant morality rate, we’ve started to wonder how best to address the problem. Everything we’ve read in recent days seems to indicate that the rate could be dramatically lowered if more expectant mothers took better care of their bodies—specifically by quitting smoking, which pretty clearly […]

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Inadvertently on the Angels’ Side

September 15th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Our post about Teddy Roosevelt’s health-care reform attracted a fair number of responses, in particular the ending snippet about the Progressive Party’s opposition to privately contracted prison labor. As one commenter pointed out, this opposition wasn’t borne out of genuine concern over the practice’s moral shortcomings, but rather Big Labor griping over the downward pressure […]

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A Dose of Burmese Glamour

August 31st, 2009 · 3 Comments

Not that we’re insensitive louts or anything, but we generally fail to get riled up by charges of religious blasphemy. As such, we really can’t say we understood the recent, rather obscure to-do over the photo above, in which a Burmese film star named Min Maw Kun was accused of disrespecting Buddhism. No, what made […]

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Mortality as Morality, Cont’d

August 25th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Eleven days ago, we questioned whether it might be immoral to keep certain animals captive in zoos. Our hunch is that a species’ ability to thrive in a zoo is based not only on its physical needs, but also its intelligence—animals who become aware of the limits of their existence will certainly suffer psychological stresses […]

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Mortality as Morality

August 14th, 2009 · 4 Comments

We’ve yet to fully sort out our feelings about zoos. On the one hand, we obviously love us some exotic animals, especially those who occasionally turn on Man. (Yes, we’re macabre like that.) But the concept of captivity makes us more than a wee bit uncomfortable; we’ll never forget our last trip to the Bronx […]

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