Author: Michael Konik

Our Golden Age of Corporate Apologies

Some of the most popular and successful companies in America — Wells Fargo, Facebook, Uber — have suffered a series of highly unfortunate blemishes on their otherwise pristine public images. They did very naughty things. To their customers. Stole from them. Lied to them. Treated every person like a valuable revenue stream instead of an...

When We Were Ghouls

Amy E. Wallen’s childhood was different than most little American girls from Nevada. Thanks to her dad’s job as an oil prospector, the family spent her formative years in Nigeria, Peru and Bolivia, where daily life was kissed by exoticism: parrots for pets, servants calling her “small sister,” and dead bodies. Many of them. Wallen’s...

The Experience That Changed Your Life

Do you have an experience that, in retrospect, seems to have set you on your life’s journey? A formative moment? An epiphany? Mine came when I was 16, more than 35 years ago. The summer after my sophomore year of high school, I attended (and completed) a 24-day Colorado Outward Bound course in the Rocky...

Dealt

The documentary “Dealt,” about one of the world’s greatest card magicians, a Texan named Richard Turner, contains no gunshots, explosions or, for that matter, violence of any kind. But it never fails to fascinate, mesmerize and inspire. If there’s a “super-hero” character in this movie, it’s Turner, who practices card moves — false shuffles, false...

Further Refinements to the NFL Anthem Policy

The National Football League recently announced a change in their rules regarding the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” that great paean to durable fabric. They understand the symbolic importance of standing and pretending to know the words to a song about a symbol. It’s symbolism: Singing a song that pays homage to a symbol...

The Denuding of Los Angeles

Before he takes his war chest of political “donations” to the national arena, where his handlers will attempt to re-package him as “presidential,” our bumbling failure of a Mayor, the man who oversees an ongoing humanitarian disaster known as “homelessness in Los Angeles,” seems determined to wreck as many neighborhoods as possible. The Eric Garcetti ethos: If a...

Henrietta Goodman’s “All That Held Us”

Henrietta Goodman’s new collection of poems, “All That Held Us,” like much modern poetry, is discursive, tangential, elliptical — but hers takes the idea of one-thing-leading-to-another to new formal heights. Each poem begins with a line or phrase from the previous poem, sometimes the last line. The “story” — an ongoing exploration into the relationship...

The Urban Farmstead

We call the place we live “Vista Street Farmstead.” It’s a house in Hollywood, one block from Sunset Boulevard, with a front and back yard, maybe 1/16th of an acre? But almost every available square foot of dirt is dedicated to growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Blessed with copious sunshine throughout the day – and...

This Beautiful Fantastic

Finally! A movie for botany nerds, for artistic landscapers, for gardeners. The unrelentingly charming film This Beautiful Fantastic, written and directed by Simon Aboud, takes a familiar tale — curmudgeonly old man’s heart melts for an impossibly lovely young woman — and makes it magical. His leads, Tom Wilkinson, as the grouchy horticulturalist, and Jessica Brown Findlay as...

Naughty Words

  The University of Michigan recently compiled the nation’s strictest set of “sensitivity guidelines” for their faculty and students. We take you to a faculty lounge on the Ann Arbor campus. INT – A faculty lounge on a Friday afternoon. Several TEACHERS gather around the water cooler. NATE:  . . .so I told Jenkins, “Hey,...