Tagged: essay by michael konik

Urban Density

If one requires further evidence that we human beings are, at the end of the day, animals — or beasts, or savages in clothes, or however one prefers his locution –turn to our planet’s major cities. (One can look also to our obvious obsession with mating and eating, also.) There, in our teeming metropolises, we...

Philippines Notes, Part 3: Free Markets

Those of us with a libertarian bent are at times susceptible to the theoretical ideal of “free markets,” the utopian concept of economics unburdened by interfering governments or regulations. Expressed purely (and absurdly) as the perfect crossroads of Supply and Demand, free markets are supposed to produce the best product at the best price, letting...

Philippines Notes, Part Two: Using Dogs

Some people in the Philippines eat dogs. (A recent documentary about the country, made by a native, was entitled “Dog Eaters.” Some expatriate Pinoys didn’t appreciate the label, but the verity of canine consumption wasn’t ever in question.) Occasionally, pet-owners here suffer the heartbreak of having their furry friend kidnapped — dognapped? — and transformed...

Philippines Notes, Part One: Litter in Paradise

The easy default reactions of an American who encounters unspeakable poverty and squalor when visiting a country like the Philippines are pity, scorn, and outrage. How monstrous, it seems, to call places like these “developing countries” when the extent of their development is obvious: great bastions of wealth and property concentrated in the hands of...

To Kill a Mockingbird, Revisited

The plot of Harper Lee’s book about racism, childhood, and paternal love revolves around the rape trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, defended by a white lawyer, played in the movie version with transcendent nobleness by Gregory Peck. In both the novel and the movie, the evidence strongly suggests that Robinson is innocent and...

2006 Resolutions

Welcome to 2006, a new year that will offer more of the same if we let it (and probably even if we don’t). Despite our collective helplessness in the face of Nature — Human and otherwise — we can, however, resolve to do things differently, and better, and with more care. I join everyone else...

The Ella Update

A reader of this space wrote to say that she was in the middle of “Ella in Europe,” my book about traveling abroad with my American dog. She was afraid to ask — but she wanted to know if Ella was still with us. She also suggested that I post an update every now and...

Putting Christ Back into Christmas

Despite what proponents of the so-called “prosperity gospel” preach; despite the tithing that power-hungry pastors collect from their entranced flock; despite the malicious claims allegedly found in the Bible that gays, Hindus, and connoisseurs of erotica are destined for eternal purgatory — despite all the hateful crap that religion teaches us — we believe there’s still...

The Beauty of Municipal Bonds

Setting aside the fact that the Stock Market’s valuations often have no connection to anything resembling reality; and notwithstanding the fact that interest rates paid on cash deposits barely cover the cost of driving to the bank to make them; and forgetting for a moment that the southern Californian real estate market may or may...

A Tale of Two Singers: How Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Two professional singers live on my street. One is an emerging star named Mae who both critics and fans praise for her soulful and passionate vocals. The other is Sheryl Crow. While there’s no accounting for taste — which is another way of excusing America for preferring Janet Jackson to Tierney Sutton — it must be...