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.
Originally posted September 5th, 2006
By Michael Konik
As anyone who has attended a scolding church sermon knows, our children — meaning the children of other people, irresponsible guardians who aren’t as good at parenting as they ought to be — are drowning in filth. Their minds are infected with lewd thoughts inspired mostly by female mammaries, and the sludge that spews from their mouth is laced with horrible words like “shit,” fuck,” and “goddamn.”
The cause of this spiritual corruption is primarily the entertainment industry, which produces movies and television shows that portray the world with far too much realism. Rather than showing how things supposedly “are” in our debased, devil-driven society, filmed entertainment should be showing how things ought to be: a world where people don’t have sex (unless they’re married and attempting to conceive) and they certainly don’t swear out loud (without suffering grievous consequences). Instead, the corrupt greed-mongers . . . → Read More: Keeping Young Minds Pure
Originally posted June 30th, 2006
By Michael Konik
My beautiful mother, Renice Konik, turns 65 today. She’s now officially a senior citizen.
I would suggest, however, that if you didn’t have access to her government-issued identification — or a Web page trumpeting the fact — you wouldn’t guess that this vibrant, vivacious lass is eligible for Social Security (and bargain matinees). My mom continues to teach elementary school, where, far from being considered “Old Lady Konik, the Dour Ogre,” she’s lauded as the most inventive and creative pedant in the building. Her classroom, which has as many animals in it as books and inspiring epigrams, radiates the spirit of curiosity, and her students can’t be bored no matter how hard they try. There’s just too much to do and process and question. Plus, the youngsters must take care not to let their guards down. Fair and balanced be damned: Mrs. . . . → Read More: Happy Birthday, Renice Konik
Mother’s are like dogs: Everybody thinks his is the best.
Unless we’re living in billions of parallel universes, everyone having the best mom (or dog) is impossible. So I would like to clear up any confusion surrounding this question and set the matter straight. It is I alone who have the best mom in the world.
Sorry. I’m just a lucky guy.
Now, I’m big-hearted enough to recognize the lovely and endearing qualities all the other mom’s out there possess, and I’m gladdened to know that countless sons and daughters enjoy something approaching the satisfaction I enjoy. Nothing in life matches a mother’s love and affection, her concern and care, her passion for her children. Maternal nurturing is one of the brightest forces in the known universe, and all of us fortunate enough to have a mother to guide us and protect us know the beauty . . . → Read More: My Mom
Originally posted April 26th, 2006
By Michael Konik
In our business dealings, in our consideration of the feelings of others — in nearly every transaction between civilized people — we seek to balance our selfish impulses with the nebulous notion of what’s “right.” Thanks to parents and religion and laws, we have a strong idea of what constitutes fairness, and our ability to behave properly (fairly) is often the strongest measure of our personal goodness.
On the other hand, we’re constantly reminded that life is not fair. We witness grotesque disparities in standards of living; we see worthy folks punished by unseen forces, and scurrilous ones rewarded; almost daily we observe the cruel randomness of being alive. Our existence is essentially unfair. If life were a playing field — and many people do indeed see life as an elaborate game — then it surely isn’t a level one. . . . → Read More: In Search of Fairness
Identification, ostracism, confiscation, concentration, and annihilation.
Those are the key steps in all genocides. We haven’t yet accomplished the final solution, the annihilation part, but we’ve done a brilliant job of the first four steps in our slow-motion holocaust against the American Underclass, the perpetually poor lowest ten percent of our society. The clever part, the really insidious part, is that while perpetrating our crime we’ve avoided the international community’s approbation. Indeed, we’ve earned begrudging praise for…
Terminal 3 at LAX is where we go when booked on Alaska Airlines. We’re familiar with the terminal’s passenger screening area, where, last week, an angry white male drew a gun and began shooting TSA agents, killing one, wounding many others, and sending hundreds of terrified bystanders running for safety…
We’ve learned from experience, from having a surfeit of dirty thoughts. Voluntarily removing more than 3,000 pieces of litter from Hollywood’s Runyon Canyon (and the streets around it), has taught us several abiding lessons that the City of Los Angeles should consider in the ongoing battle against trash blight.
California’s overseers of worker’s compensation awards have determined that Lt. John Pike, the University of California cop who pepper-sprayed non-violent student protesters as they sat peaceably on the ground, is entitled to $38,000 from state taxpayers in light of the actual pain and acute stress suffered as a result of the…
We’re on the record: the world needs another Christmas music collection about as much as another porno clip. We’ve got plenty. What more needs to be added, what else can be said on the subject of Christmas songs that hasn’t already been said wonderfully well by hundreds — thousands? — of others? Pianist-arranger-composer Laurence Hobgood, [...]