Author: Michael Konik

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Mad Respect to Dave Chappelle

Last week we attended a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Ms. Lauryn Hill was celebrating the 20-year anniversary of her seminal album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” and she had De La Soul opening, followed by her special guest Dave Chappelle. Before the event, we received several emails from the concert promoter reminding audience members...

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Poem: Extraordinary Boy

Sweeping cereal dust over weathered wooden floors He knew this push-broom life was not his. Brave soldiers and dashing lovers, charming spies and magnetic saviors, Giant heroes On a screen – These were his people. And (in darker moments) his friends, His Sirens, beckoning from a distant place, Where corn was found in polished supermarket aisles,...

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Daughters of Destiny

The Shanti Bhavan boarding school, in Tamil Nadu, India, founded by a rich man who realized giving away most of his money to the “lowest” members of his society would make him infinitely richer, caters to children of the Dalits, the so-called “untouchables,” India’s bottom caste. The goal is to educate them so they can take care...

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The Meditation Shield

People who have a meditation practice — doesn’t matter what kind or style — make a conscious decision to put their focus on something specific: breath going in and out; a mantra; waves arriving and receding. Thoughts come and go. Things happen or don’t. And the meditator observes them all. When you’re traveling on the...

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Better, From Several Perspectives

When a business owner replaces employees with automation — machines, robots, computers — the effects radiate in two opposite directions. On one hand, the employees (and their families), have less, since they no longer draw a paycheck. On the other, the owners (and their shareholders) have more, because lower payroll means higher profits. A dear...

Space Force: An Open Letter from the Intergalactic Federation

Dear President Trump and Vice-President Pence and Other Inhabitants of Planet Earth, It has come to our attention — and sorry for the delay; light can only go so fast — creatures from the planet Earth wish to establish a so-called Space Force, militarizing areas of the universe that are not currently part of planet...

Let Us Now Praise Our Bi-Partisan War Leaders

You may have been distracted by more important Current Events — like something rude our President said, or a lie that was uttered on a news entertainment program. Not long ago our elected representatives in Congress and the White House passed a bill authorizing $717 billion in what’s comically called “defense” spending. This massive payday...

The Mind’s I

We recently encountered the 1981 anthology “The Mind’s I,” by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett, and we’re pretty sure our brain will never be quite the same. The collection contains “fantasies and reflections on self and soul” expressed in essays, stories and one-act plays that work as literary thought experiments meant to refine (define?) our understanding...

Department of Environmental Irony?

The nice lady pulled her full-size luxury SUV to a stop at the curb in front of our home and set the hand brake. It looked like she was parking, but she didn’t turn off the car’s engine, and she didn’t get out. Instead, the nice lady remained inside the leather-trimmed cabin, doing something on her...

Notes on Attending a Phish Concert for the First Time

Beautiful Weirdos. The ethos at a Phish concert is “come as you are.” Before the show, the parking lot of The Forum, in Inglewood, where the Lakers used to play, resembles the set of a Fellini movie grafted onto an ancient Grateful Dead memory. All clothing and barbering choices are acceptable. Smiling at strangers allowed. Dancing...