Author: Michael Konik

Stealing From Shareholders to Enrich the Poor

Shares of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer of disposable flotsam, are very likely a part of my vast portfolio of blue-chip stocks. I can’t say for sure. I don’t have time to read financial statements. I have no interest in the month-to-month vicissitudes of my fund holdings. I just know the stock market is going...

Chapter Twenty

Doug Bishop loved to ride his bicycle around Hollywood, on Sunset Boulevard, and Melrose, and Thai Town and Little Armenia. He considered the activity a kind of window shopping, although he seldom had any inclination to buy the clothes and used tires and garden supplies he saw on his perambulations. Doug was window shopping for...

Leaders Leading With Leadership

A man named Salvatore J. Cordileone should not be confused with the Godfather of Mario Puzo’s fictional crime family. That would be Corleone. Mr. Cordileone is the leader of a different kind of mafia, the Archdiocese of San Franciso, where he is the Archbishop, the Vatican’s man-on-the-ground in the historically liberal Bay Area. As the...

Chapter Nineteen

He found his center. He inhaled until he no longer could. He exhaled slowly through his nose. And although he knew nothing had changed, that he was still Ross Newman, working actor, to everyone else he was no longer Ross Newman. When he stepped from behind the scrim and into the lights, the man they...

Good Guys vs. Bad Guys (USA vs. Islamic State)

All of us who treasure the privilege of being Jordanian (or a citizen of any other feudal time-warp that isn’t controlled by Al Qaeda) were spiritually uplifted this week when a squadron of Jordanian airplanes dropped hundreds of bombs on Islamic State targets in what used to be Syria and Iraq. When the bombs exploded,...

Neurons to Nirvana

Among the catastrophic costs of our absurd “War on Drugs,” the virtual halt to scientific study of the medical benefits of psychotropics is one of the saddest. The stylishly constructed documentary “Neurons to Nirvana” combines archival propaganda footage of the “Reefer Madness” variety with enlightening interviews from some of the leading academics in the field, including...

Chapter Eighteen

“So you’ll think about?” Marty Erndel pleaded. Lenny Wizenberg grinned, delighted less at the terms of the deal than with the abstract idea that a man as putatively important as the Kike would want to do a deal with someone like him. “I said I would, Marty.” “It’s good for all of us.” Lenny inhaled...

Housekeeper Aspirations

When revolutionizing one’s consciousness, a useful question to ask is: Do I disapprove of rapacious greed and selfishness because it’s the root cause of our ongoing struggle to achieve social justice? Or am I just jealous? Most people find it noxious when White Men flaunt their wealth and privilege in the form of conspicuously consumed...

Hypercolor

If, like us, you’ve wondered what would happen if a punk band (or at least one with a punky aesthetic of reject-the-rules) had conservatory training and could apply virtuoso technique and advanced understanding of musical structure to their rockin’, kickin’, slammin’ music — the answer has arrived. Hypercolor, the self-titled debut recording of guitarist Eyal Maoz,...

Chapter Seventeen

How old they were really didn’t matter. It was how old their paperwork said they were that mattered. So long as the boys who showed up at Larry Cohen’s office could produce a government-issued document, a driver’s license or a passport, something official that proved they were 18, Larry could offer them work. It didn’t...