Author: Michael Konik

Crazy Man on the Bus

One of the many benefits of eschewing automobiles in favor of public transportation is the general absence of murderous sociopaths suffering from “road rage.” The downside is sporadic encounters with people tuned into frequencies only they can hear, folks we commonly call “crazy.” They’re not nearly as dangerous as an angry commuter texting behind the...

Our Binary Democracy

Multiple-choice decisions can be intimidating. A panoply of options forces you to think about stuff, and that’s tiring. How much easier, instead, to make a simple call between “A” and “B,” between the favorite and the underdog, between chicken and beef, Staples and Office Depot. Same deal with our current version of democracy. After all...

Overview, with Rick Overton

God bless the Internet. Thanks to digital immortality, all the things we call “content” never fully disappear. It’s possible now to discover new programs that are in fact quite old — or on indeterminate hiatus. Our current favorite podcast extant is “Overview, with Rick Overton,” an hour-long conversation between the legendary improviser-comic-actor-writer Rick Overton and one...

Runyon Canyon Follow-Up: No Parking Any Time

“The parking lot idea, putting a lot inside Runyon Canyon, is dead on arrival. It’s not going to happen.” – John C. Gile, President, Friends of Runyon Canyon With apologies to Jackie Gleason, what we have here is a failure to communicate. Call it a simple misunderstanding. Or clumsy public relations. Or meager community outreach....

The Areas of My Expertise

The short title of John Hodgman’s 2005 book is: The Perfect Bathroom Companion. True, as it lends itself to random visits of indeterminate length. The complete title is: An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by myself, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in The Areas of My...

The 2-Point Coach

During the recent end-of-the-year break, we were reminded frequently that what matters most in many of our lives, the thing that rouses our deepest emotions and hottest passion, is football. If you get heartburn talking about the Green Bay defense, consider Nick Saban an inspiring role model, or interrupt family gatherings to announce Draft King...

Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Eating nutritious, delicious, organic, un-processed whole foods can be crushingly expensive, especially if you procure your whole foods at Whole Foods. The Website Don’tWasteTheCrumbs is aimed at folks who want to live healthily and frugally. Created by a mother of two named Tiffany, DWTC offers clever recipes, monthly meal plans and “life hacks” for budget-minded shoppers determined...

Friends of Runyon Canyon?

Runyon Canyon Park, the dog-friendly nature sanctuary in the hills above Hollywood, has been the subject of several essays in this space, as well as a scenic location in at least two or three of our books. It’s just about the greatest part of living in this neighborhood, and maybe all of Los Angeles. For...

Not Intelligent

Let’s say you’re the manager of a large company. You have an employee named Sia, who works in R&D. You don’t hear much talk about Sia, except at periodic, unpredictable Performance Reviews. At each Performance Review, for years, Sia is shown to be very bad at her job. She squanders enormous budgets and makes errors...

I’ll Be Me

“I’ll Be Me,” a documentary about music legend Glen Campbell’s decent into Alzheimer’s is a deeply affecting, often painful portrait of an artist slowly going away. Director James Keach successfully tiptoes the line between education and exploitation, between truthfulness and vulgar voyeurism. The film has many of the hallmarks of a stylishly produced “Reality” show — confessional...