Tagged: essay by michael konik

The 85% Diet

Facing the physique-softening indignities of middle-age, a friend — call him Chumley, or Chum – adheres to a different diet-and-exercise plan every few weeks or months. He’s done them all, with varying degrees of success. (The old-fashioned “burn more calories than you consume” method doesn’t come with a glossy recipe book or 4-hours-a-month workout plan,...

Marathon Watching

This morning in the rain, a pounding torrential rain that punished the streets and those upon them, I walked a couple of blocks from my warm dry house to Sunset Boulevard, where I found thousands (tens-of-thousands?) of people in shorts and sleeveless shirts, splashing toward Santa Monica, more than twelve miles to the west. Most...

Transparency

Julian Assange says WikiLeaks is meant to promote it. The Obama Administration refused to demand it of the Egyptian regime. And John Boehner doesn’t think the American public wants it, at least not if it involves C-SPAN cameras in the House Chambers. Transparency is the word (and concept) presently on everyone’s mind. How demoralizing to...

The Food Truck Scourge

Los Angeles is lousy with food trucks at the moment. Thanks to a collision of social- and mass-media fawning, they’ve earned all the valuable trend labels (“hot,” “in,” etc.), transcending their utilitarian function and entering the lofty realm of Culturally Significant Phenomena. No longer do these Winnebago-sized mobile restaurants simply serve workers at construction sites...

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

We were once under the misapprehension that Christmas was the holiday that had become commercialized and drained of meaning. After witnessing the emergence of Black Friday as a widely understood part of the lexicon, we’re inclined to think that the Thanksgiving holiday has become just as bad. Never mind that the whole Pilgrims and Indians thing...

The God Enigma

With the help of advanced telescopic technology, astronomers are now able to see into the past more deeply than ever before. What they’re finding, according to the capsule reports in the newspaper, is a universe that is larger and more crowded with Earth-like objects than previously understood. If you believe in old-fashioned notions like mathematics,...

Department of Bold Predictions: Crackpots

Bold prediction: Within a decade, a whole class of societal crusaders will develop and be recognized by the arbiters of culture. They will be called radicals, Luddites, crackpots. They’ll be dismissed and ridiculed. And they’ll be consistently marginalized by those with money and power. But they’ll be right.  Their main focus? Harnessing the astonishing energy...

Marijuana’s Dirty Little Sceret

Marijuana’s earnest legislative warriors don’t want to come right out and admit it: pot makes people feel good. Its main “side-effect” is that it makes everything feel better. It’s pleasurable. It’s fun. Medicine is not supposed to be any of these things. To placate the angry prudes who don’t want anyone enjoying themselves too much...

Unlikely Bedfellows

No one is surprised that among the groups opposing California’s Porposition 19, the Control, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana initiative on the November 2 ballot, are financially entrenched business organizations. The prison and law enforcement industry, which profits every time a marijuana user is branded a criminal; the beer industry, which worries that Californians will collectively...

No Free Parking

The idea behind Congestion Pricing is to charge people more to use things — city streets, toll roads, cellphones — during peak times. By raising the cost you reduce demand, freeing up more space. And if demand stays constant you earn higher revenue and then raise the price some more. Such programs are in place...