Originally posted December 19th, 2013
By Michael Konik
In the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where thousands died and hundreds-of-thousands more were left homeless, almost everyone I spoke to asked the same question: My Filipina wife — was anyone in her immediate family affected?
Everyone was greatly relieved to learn that, no, none of my wife’s immediate family members were harmed by the storm. To these kindhearted and compassionate inquirers, the absence of death, injury, or property damage to my wife’s closest relatives was a great relief, a kind of silver lining to the dark cloud of death that descended on her birth country. By some sort of strange spiritual calculus, it was understood and taken for granted that blood relations are intrinsically more important, more valuable to us, than everyone else – with the exception of those who are welcomed bloodlessly into the family through adoption and marriage. . . . → Read More: Family Problems
Originally posted September 15th, 2013
By Michael Konik
Opportunistic petty criminals, the kind that go after old lady pocketbooks and unattended bicycles, generally aren’t very organized. They don’t have thorough long-range plans and an extensive network of colleagues to help coordinate their heists. Most unsuccessful criminals are desperate loners, independent contractors of malfeasance who can never stay one step ahead of The Man.
The ones that have their act together, the ones who run their illegal enterprise just like a profit-seeking business would, we call “organized crime.” Various mafias — the Italian, Russian, Mexican, Jamaican, Serbian, and Salvadoran chief among them — have earned our grudging fear and respect for their organizational discipline and managerial excellence. These mafias know what they’re doing. They’d be on the cover of Fortune if only what they were doing was legal – or at least as legal as gaming the energy markets and flipping a distressed homeowner’s property just . . . → Read More: Sanitary Mafias
Originally posted February 3rd, 2013
By Michael Konik
Guns are not the problem. People are not the problem. Young people are the problem.
They don’t listen. They play awful video game simulations of mass murder. They shoot six-year-olds.
And no amount of background checks or ammo-clip restrictions will change that. There’s only one way to solve the gun situation, one way to bring peace and civility back to our public areas while also not trampling on our inalienable American right to bear arms (as outlined with great clarity in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America).
The maintenance of civil order in our fragile society rests on a rock solid foundation of family discipline. A child who disrespects his parents must be removed from society. Permanently. So that other children will see the importance of respecting their parents.
Originally posted January 6th, 2013
By Michael Konik
If you wish to align yourself with a mindset that no one will dispute and most will acclaim, proclaim yourself a paragon of “family values.” Earn a reputation as a “family man.” Put “family” before self. Found a right-wing Christian political bribery machine and call it “Focus on the Family.” Do whatever it is you want to do with your life, but remind everyone that whatever it is you do with your life it’s all about the family.
Repeat the word. Family. Say it clearly and often. Family.
Is there anything better? Is there any concept more sacrosanct? Ah, how we love our children and how we love our parents. They’re more important than anyone or anything in the universe.
Family: the folks we can trust and love, celebrate and forgive, rescue and remember, support and adore and abide. Family is the . . . → Read More: A New Definition of Family
Quantum physics and String Theory are difficult concepts to grasp, even for adults. So how to explain the mysteries of the universe to a child? Kevin Zarem, a father of two girls, makes a stellar attempt in his book Entangled: A Father’s Spiritual Quest through the Mysteries of the Mind.Simultaneously scientific and lyrical, anecdotal and journalistic, “Entangled” is the best explainer of the unexplainable we’ve seen. No, we here at MichaelKonik.com still don’t really get how the grand enigma of Consciousness, Time, and Space works. But thanks to “Entangled” we comprehend better than ever how much we don’t know.
She was also a wife and a mother and a sister. She was 41. She follows to the grave a brother, who died in a car accident when he was 18.
What does one say to her parents? How flimsy and impotent words seem in the face of these outrages, when the natural order of life has been confused and perverted. For anyone who hasn’t suffered the incomprehensible losses this family has endured, it seems preposterous to offer comfort and encouragement. What qualifications or insight could we have? Only they, we imagine, fully understand the intense grief that accompanies the death of a young son. And now the pain of losing an adult daughter. It’s really almost too much for words, too much for any parent to bear.
Originally posted April 10th, 2011
By Michael Konik
If we can put aside millennial-old inquiries into the nature of Truth, assuming such a thing exists, we can agree that propaganda, which is less concerned with veracity than with delivering a particular message, is a kind of prevarication. A lie. A tendentious assertion that’s antithetical to our notion of Truth.
I was reminded of this uncomfortable tension when my family informed me that my nephew and nieces, ages 8-10, were being inculcated at school with a “zero tolerance” policy toward drugs. The children, I was told, were alarmed to learn that their Uncle Mike, who has written an honest book about marijuana, was, according to what they were being taught in public school, breaking the law and ruining his brain.
Their parents warned that when I next saw the kids they would have many questions and would want explanations.
Who said what?
“This act of violence shocks the conscience of the world.”
A) Eric Holder, on the Boston Marathon bombing.
B) Reverend Al Sharpton, on the slaying of another unarmed black man by American police.
C) Prime Minister David Cameron, on the downing of Malaysian Air #17.
D) None of the above.
“They are killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture…
The original Golden Rule — “treat others as you wish to be treated” — sounds fantastic in theory, but isn’t really possible to apply practically, as evidenced by the lives each of us lead. Or maybe it is being applied and is difficult to recognize. Maybe how people wish to be treated…
America’s religious leaders, some of the most esteemed and respectable citizens in our republic, are helping us understand that our precious freedoms — the ones our brave soldiers fight and die for in faraway dust bowls most of us can’t find on a map — are once again under attack….
Driector Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) is currently flummoxing viewers with his persistently inventive “Mood Indigo.” But of all his blazingly original creations, the 2013 documentary “Is the Tall Man Happy: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky” might be his most densely wonderful work. Gondry and the indispensable linguist and social critic [...]