Tagged: free market capitalism

Super Bowl Sunday

This weekend brings the biggest sporting event in America, the Super Bowl. The violent antics on the playing field are only a small part of the ritualistic gatherings that happen in living rooms and dens around our country. People will congregate together to pass judgment on a well-known celebrity’s lip-synced rendition of our national anthem....

Mars Versus Earth

Like millions of others, I watched with fascination and wonder as NASA’s space probe Spirit touched down safely on Mars and began to transmit back to Earth images of our planetary neighbor. As a child who enjoyed reading the science fantasies of Arthur Clarke and Ray Bradbury, among others, I didn’t imagine that sending a spaceship...

Helping by Hurting

The 7-11 store in our neighborhood dispenses cigarettes, sodas, chips, hot dogs, coffee, cookies, and most every other snack food that can be fashioned out of partially hydrogenated oil and other trans-fats. This convenience outlet offers most of the noxious poisons people ought to ingest if they wish to slowly kill themselves. Though the products on...

Smooth Jazz

You can find karaoke machines in hundreds of bars and restaurants and bowling alleys around Los Angeles, where everyone is a budding star (or at least wants to be.) You can find fewer live piano bars, where a player well-versed in the standards and Broadway show tunes accompanies enthusiasts with cabaret dreams. And even rarer...

Junior Idols

The other night a proud music producer played for us a new recording of his latest protege, an enormously talented diva who could sing like Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and the Mariah Carey, among other songbirds. Not only could she hit the high notes, he assured us, his latest discovery had tremendous stage presence, movie...

Performance Enhancing Drugs

The sports world is aghast — as it often seems to be — that athletes in disciplines as diverse as track & field, football, and baseball are ingesting “designer” steroids that allegedly make the competitors bigger, stronger, faster, and eminently more endorse-able. Since an organization like the NFL can’t possibly claim that it’s looking out...

Against Charity

Giving to the needy is supposed to be a virtue. Indeed, it’s once of the sacraments of most religions. In our venal world, being charitable — sharing with those who don’t have what you have — is akin to secular holiness. How much someone gives to charity is a powerful if imprecise barometer of how...

The ‘Broken’ BCS

Many tears were shed this past weekend in Los Angeles, and the lachrymal mourning wasn’t over starving Africans or bleeding Afghanis. The crying – and the whining and the righteous indignation – was inspired by a college football ranking system that kept the USC Trojans out of the putative national championship game, the Sugar Bowl,...

The Nature of Vice

Drugs like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are legal and more or less woven into the fabric of daily American life. Drugs like cannabis, cocaine, and LSD are not and those who use them are more or less consigned to the squalid fringes of society. Paying a woman to take off her clothes and display her...

Why Comedy Matters

Comedy cannot permanently change the world — at least not as effectively as brave science, bold literature, and partially clad women. But comedy can bring us disparate human souls together in the shared communion of laughter. Even Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat can enjoy the same jokes. “A rabbi and a mullah walk into a...