Author: Michael Konik

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Grimy Ghost

Once-a-month, the “underground  comedy show” Comedy Sucks pops up in Hollywood at the Nerdist Showroom. The host, Scott Black, is funny and engaging, and the young and mostly unknown comedians he presents support the show’s title only about half the time. The element that keeps us attending every month are absurdly hilarious video montages created by the...

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How the City of Los Angeles Wants to Price You Out of the Appeals Process

Let’s say you’ve been given a parking ticket by an overly ambitious City of Los Angeles traffic enforcement officer for occupying a space past the posted 6PM deadline. You check your watch: it’s only 5:57. You take a time-stamped photo of your car and the sign and the street. You schedule an appeal. At the...

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Taking a Knee

A wealthy white friend of mine includes me on occasional BCC emails containing golf jokes, sex jokes, and, every now and then, political jokes. The latest one I got  — and I thought it was pretty funny — proposed a massive boycott of the NFL on our most sacred holiday weekend (Veteran’s Day). The humorous...

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Homo Deus

Magnificent contradictions: a book that argues for the eventual extinction of “useless” religions written by a Professor at Hebrew University in Israel; a book that envisions homo sapiens as a God-like species that, nevertheless, will soon render itself irrelevant; a book that contains many factual errors, spelling errors, and one giant conceptual mistake that, nonetheless, makes its...

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From the Department of Prognostication

In the near future — 20 years? 50 years? — capitalism will implode. The vast majority of what we today consider “jobs” will be accomplished by machines running on artificial intelligence. Billions of people will rendered useless — except as highly nutritious protein meal for their machine-owning overlords. Without wages, consumption of goods and services...

Expelling Children to Make America Great Again

Although progressive thinkers may have little ideological  common ground with President Great, we still admire his best qualities, the better angels of his nature. One beautiful character attribute President Great (and the vast majority of his steadfast supporters) consistently display is deep, profound, passionate love. They’re lovers. President Great and his acolytes love America deeply, they love...

The Polgar Variant

Is genius hereditary? Or can every child be groomed to be a genius? One brilliant (and controversial) father believes environment and training fosters genius. He attempts to prove his theory by raising all three of his young daughters to be world champions of chess. The engrossing Israeli documentary The Polgar Variant, about a family of Hungarian Jews living...

An Open Letter to City Zoning Administrator Fernando Tovar

Fernando.Tovar@lacity.org Dear Mr. Tovar, As a resident of Sunset Square and a neighbor of the the Gardner Street Elementary School, I read your August 30 decision on the proposed shopping mall/grocery store at 7445 W. Sunset Boulevard with keen interest. Despite hundreds of emails, letters, phone calls and in-person visits by concerned parents, students and...

Prayer for Another Ten

Let me be patient and let my kindness overflow the normal bounds of decency. Let me be patient and let my kindness bathe your wounds. Let me be patient and let my kindness radiate into the darkest corners. Let me be a salve. Let me be patient. Let me love you for another decade, another...

Rajeev Balasubramanyam

There might be more talented short fiction writers publishing today than any time in history. Even the most voracious reader can’t read them all. (Trust us, we’ve tried). Still, when we read the summer edition of The Missouri Review, the work of Rajeev Balasubramanyam, a British novelist, stood out. His story, “Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss,” about a famous...