Author: Michael Konik

The Anthem and American Patriotism

For proud Americans who might question this author’s patriotism, let us reassure you that this micro-essay is being written while standing. When it comes to our national anthem, we don’t fool around. Unlike certain professional athletes, we understand the powerful symbolism in standing for a song about a symbol (a flag, “The Star-Spangled Banner”), a...

A Very Short Thought About Labor

We live in an oligarchy and call it “democracy.” We organize ourselves in a gaffed system of corrupted socialism and call it “free market capitalism.” We send poorly educated victims overseas to die for our war-making industry and call them “heroes.” So it probably should come as no surprise that one day a year we “celebrate”...

Andrew Cockburn on America’s Role in Yemeni Slaughter

It’s not a fun read. Most will avert their eyes, as we tend to do when confronted with imagery and information that contradicts the comforting stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we stand for. But Andrew Cockburn’s “Acceptable Losses” article in Harper’s magazine should be mandatory for all American citizens, especially those...

At Dodger Stadium

You attend a baseball game once-a-year. You don’t follow the sport or the players. Long ago, when you were a boy, you were a true fan who knew all the statistics and the nicknames, the characters and the storylines. These days, you’re only vaguely aware of who’s starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and even...

Councilmember David Ryu’s Leadership Problem

On July 14, the Parks & Open Spaces committee of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council (HHWNC) considered the future of Runyon Canyon Park. Public comment was heard on whether or not the HHWNC should recommend the immediate termination of the Memo of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Los Angeles and a euphemistically named...

Chance for Peace

Did you hear the latest hippie rant from Bernie Sanders? Or maybe it was Jill Stein. This is what was said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed....

Francisco Pais: Verde

Guitarist Francisco Pais comes from a small town in Portugal where every shade of green seems to burst forth from the land. On his new album “Verde,” numerous threads from guitar history comprise the compositions, weaving an aural quilt of engaging sounds. You hear shades of Hendrix, Waters, Clapton — and all the jazz titans...

Chareze

We knew her for a month before she died in a terrible accident, but Chareze Clamor touched us so profoundly that she may have well spent 15-or-more years, a whole doggie life, as part of our family. She was only five-months. A puppy. She weighed maybe seven pounds, much of it hair. A pure Shih-Tzu,...

Finders Keepers

Sometimes one craves unmitigated weirdness. Not much we’ve encountered lately is quite as weird as the story told in the finely-made film “Finders Keepers.” A man loses his leg in an accident and receives a prostheses. The man (weirdly) gets to keep his amputated leg and (even weirder) decides to stash the mummified limb in a small...

#WeAreOne. Really?

You’ve seen the trending hashtags: #NotMeUs; #StrongerTogether; #WeAreOne. They’re all useful shorthand for complex ideas. On a “normal” day of “normal” news, the concept of Unity strikes most of us as reasonable, a thoroughly un-controversial acclamation of cooperation and fellowship. Great. Sure. What happens, though, when someone drives a truck into dozens of families? What...