Tagged: essay by michael konik

Ode to “Opening Night: The Improvised Musical”

Los Angeles is lousy with talent. Just as the plethora of beautiful men and women on the streets (and in the stores, and everywhere else) start to blend into the palm-lined boulevards, it’s easy to become immune to the charms of so many funny, clever, quick-witted people. When you see theater or hear music or...

A Letter to Craig V

Dear Mr. Venter, I read today that you and your team at the Human Genome Project had successfully implanted synthetically-created DNA into a living organism (a bacterium) and got it to replicate your man-made code. That’s marvelous! The possibilities for your discovery feel fantastical, like something culled from overly optimistic science fiction. Soon we really...

Villains Masquerading As Heroes

Warren Buffet. Haim Saban. Carlos Slim. Barry Diller. Jack Welch. Meg Whitman. A thousand other achievers lauded in the pages of Fortune and Barron’s and the Wall Street Journal. These superstars of Money Porn are the grand champions of the cruel game we all play, willingly or not. They won; millions more lost. That’s the way the contest goes and whether...

On Pot: A Superior Court Judge Speaks

James Gray served as a Superior Court judge in Orange County for 25 years. He was on the front lines of California’s War on Drugs.  Here’s what he learned: California simply can’t afford to continue to waste hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours of law enforcement time targeting non-violent cannabis consumers who have...

Mission to Mars

It’s a big universe out there. We’ve all looked skyward, trying vainly to gauge the distance to a star, mesmerized by the immensity of space and the comically irrelevant role we play in the Grand Scheme of Things. We’ve all imagined that somewhere out there in the twinkling infinity something awaits us. We’ve gone to...

To Be the Best

Is it possible to be the best at something in which “best” is measurable and quantifiable — such as athletic championships — while being a nice person? Or is it only possible to distinguish oneself, seperate oneself from the rest, by practicing a conscious aloofness and distance that inspires fear and respect from one’s opponents? ...

Marijuana Lies: Rebuttal Central

California could change the course of American History in November. Proponents of legalizing marijuana use, possession, cultivation, and distribution have successfully placed on the ballot a referendum that would end nearly a century of ignorance and injustice. Currently, one must be “sick” to own and use marijuana. If the law passes, everyone will be entitled...

An Antidote for Depression

Plant a garden.  Dig up soil that previously hosted grass. Get dirt under fingernails and a pleasant ache in the back and fingers. Feel the sun. Drink the water. Share both with your baby vegetables. Forget, if only for a few hours, what a cruel place this world can be.

Remix Manifesto

1. Culture always builds on the past. Whether it was composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt using Gypsy melodies in his compositions, Metallica borrowing song structures from Diamond Head or The Rolling Stones recording Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain” as a “traditional, arranged by Keith Richards,” composers have always used previous works as inspiration for...

Caloric Equality

Our finely developed sense of American vanity keeps us obsessed with working out and dieting, with inspirational weight-loss stories and TV game shows in which dramatically shrinking waistlines are seen not as a sign of dwindling well-being but as a heroic conquering of anarchic eating compulsions. We fortunate ones desperately want to be thin, but...