Author: Michael Konik

Training a Dog, Training a Country

My dog Ella is one of the best-behaved animals anyone’s ever met. She walks beside me without a leash. She can be trusted to wait alone outside unenlightened establishments that don’t welcome four-legged creatures inside their portals. And she responds to conversational spoken English better than most children. Much to my delight, I’m frequently asked...

How to Get Into Heaven

For most of my life, I was under the impression that the surest way for us human sinners to gain entry to heaven (whatever or wherever that may be) was to lead a good life filled with good works and good fellowship. Goodness would beget goodness. I learned this past weekend that my assumption was...

The Masters: A Tradition Like No Other

Every April, some of the best golfers in the world are invited to play in a tournament conducted at Augusta National Golf Club, a famously lush arboretum of magnolias and azaleas founded by the legendary amateur champion Bobby Jones. The first of the so-called “major” championships – the PGA Championship and the U.S. and British...

Foretelling the Future

Knowing in advance, whether through precognition, special access, or heightened powers of analysis can be both profitable and impressive. If we could predict with certainty the winner of this weekend’s Masters tournament, the biggest gainer on today’s New York Stock Exchange, or the six numbers in the Powerball lottery, we would reap a handsome profit....

To Mom and Dad: Thanks!

A study published this month in Pediatrics magazine suggests that toddlers who watch TV risk attention problems, including difficulty concentrating, acting restless and impulsive, and being easily confused. This discovery won’t come as news to my parents, who raised me on a strict diet of one-hour-of-TV during the school week. At the time, of course, I resented...

Talking to God

A devout Christian woman in Texas stoned her children to death because, she claimed, God had spoken to her and expressly directed her to kill. A cadre of psychiatrists told the court hearing her trial that she was clinically insane. Why? Why is someone considered insane when Gold talks to her but perfectly normal when...

Sexism

A coalition of women’s groups — the exact name, we confess, escapes us at the moment – recently released to the media their rankings of the “most sexist” advertisements of 2003. (The august Wall Street Journal used the story as an opportunity to print a still photo of a half-naked woman shilling some cleaning product.) The group’s...

Watches

Since I don’t wear a watch, I can’t say with any certainty that one brand is better than another. (I don’t wear any jewelry, especially the kind that would remind me on a constant basis that I’m creeping inexorably toward death.) So if I’m completely out of line here, forgive me. It seems to me,...

If Every Day Were a Weekend

We have friends who, like most people, work Monday through Friday at their job. Saturday and Sunday, the two days out of seven that they don’t go into the office, are the ones that they truly look forward to, the ones that make the other five worth all the effort. Monday they begin to serve their...

A Radical Idea for Lowering Gasoline Prices

Here in Los Angeles, a gallon of unleaded fuel costs more than $2. The premium stuff, used to power our high-performance, eight-cylinder power fiends (that can travel at more than 125 mph but are required by law to be kept under 65 mph on most roads), costs nearly $2.50. Experts are saying the summer could...