Author: Michael Konik

Idealism Lives

Cynicism is the easiest thing in the world. Being cynical takes no effort, merely apathetic resignation. Idealism takes work. If cynicism is the gradual downhill slide to confirmation of your worst fears, idealism is the persistent trudge to the top. Having high ideals while so many around you seem not to can be dispiriting. But don’t be...

An Open Letter to Friends of Runyon Canyon (FORC)

Dear Friends of Runyon Canyon (FORC), On behalf of your fellow Runyon Canyon friends, on behalf of the hundreds (thousands?) of citizens who have attended Emergency Meetings, who have called and written their Councilmember, who have been compelled to file a costly lawsuit to protect the park from your heavy construction, we ask you to...

Poem: To a Progressive Friend Frightened of Progress

Your righteous race to accumulate Good Karma Requires making love And opposing hate This noble social justice quest cannot carve out exceptions To the covenant Between your values and yourself You cannot advocate for the homeless While cheerleading for the Wall Street Banks that put people out of homes You cannot advocate for Peace While...

Ehud Asherie’s “Shuffle Along”

The Israeli-born, New York-based pianist Ehud Asherie is a mainstay of the mainstream modern jazz scene, a collaborator with some of the most respected musicians alive. His new solo recording, “Shuffle Along,” however, looks back — to 1921, when Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle’s all-Black Broadway musical premiered. Improvising on the show’s chewy melodies —...

Defending Runyon Canyon: Why FORC Must Go

“If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.”   ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching The disturbing story of how a group of politically-connected opportunists calling themselves “Friends of Runyon Canyon” (FORC) almost succeeded in hijacking one of Los Angeles’s greatest natural treasures will eventually come to a happy ending. To...

Preventing and Defeating Depression, in Five Easy Steps

All of us get down occasionally. We all get the blues. For some, it’s worse. The darkness never seems to brighten. Moroseness, hopelessness and inertia set in, rooting us ever deeper in a self-made hole. This is commonly known as depression, and the medical industry has an expensive and fleetingly successful solution for the illness....

Eating Animals

Seven years after original publication, “Eating Animals,” by the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, remains unmatched in providing a provocative, comprehensive and deeply affecting portrait of the carnivore’s dilemma. Employing writing techniques gleaned from memoir, investigative journalism, philosophy, science and editorial essay, Foer systematically and compellingly builds his argument — that there is no moral rationale...

Bernie Sanders Will Be the Next President

In poker, when you bet as though you have a winning hand even though you don’t – that’s a classic bluff. But when you also have chances to improve your presently weak hand into a strong one later – that’s a semi-bluff. The Hillary Clinton campaign, in concert with their partners in the corporate media...

Runyon Canyon For Sale: Winners, Losers and Copious Apologies

After nearly two years of secretive deals brokered in the shadows, the bright light of public inquiry has finally shined on Runyon Canyon. On April 4, at a standing-room-only emergency meeting of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council, convened at the Durant Library, elected officials and their development partners were compelled to explain to the...

The Biology of Story

Warning: If you’re a literary-minded person, you must handle “Biology of Story” with care. The project, an interactive documentary that explores Story as a living being, is ambitious, enormous, and possibly comprehensive. Once you dip into the oceanic trove of filmed interview segments, it may be several hours (or days) before you emerge from the...