Tagged: humorous essay by michael konik

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Idling Trucks: The LADWP’s “Green” Problem

9/15-21: CLIMATE WEEK AT MICHAELKONIK.com The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s main public relations initiative — when it’s not justifying secret expenditures from a union slush fund — is to convince the world that it’s a “green” company focused on renewable energy sources. That image plays slightly better than “mega-polluting utility contributing daily...

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A Modest Proposal for Overhauling Our Corrupted Political System

We would like to stress that the following proposal could never work in real life. It’s an impossible fantasy that could never work in real life. Never. Like Medicare-for-All. Since ridding our thoroughly corrupted political system of money appears to be an idea slightly more ludicrous than reducing our war-making budget, we’ve been forced to think...

The Fable of Sybaris

Long ago, more than 2,500 years in the past, the city of Sybaris flourished on the heel of what is now Italy. Situated on a bustling line of Greek trade, Sybaris was where seagoing merchants unloaded their precious cargo for distribution along the Western coast. The customs and tolls from the Greeks’ inexorable enterprise made...

A Revolutionary Solution for Homelessness in Beverly Hills

Franklin Canyon Park, in the storied borough of Beverly Hills, has been used as a popular filming location for decades. Exterior shots for The Andy Griffith Show, Twin Peaks, On Golden Pond, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Happened One Night — all were photographed here. These days, about 25 movies are filmed in Franklin Canyon annually. Producers...

A Chinese Man with a Latin Name and Many Dangerous Ideas

His Chinese title was Mang-tze: Mang the Master. Just as European scholars changed his philosophical predecessor K’ung-fu-tze into “Confucius,” Latin-trained historians of the West called him “Mencius.” He spent most of his adult life (378-289 B.C.) counseling princes and kings, teaching them to rule like philosophers instead of barbarians. In his final years, he composed — or...

A Modest Proposal for Optimal Use of Artificial Intelligence

If you’re still in the camp that believes a near future dominated by artificially intelligent machines is nothing but a dystopian daydream, consider this: Not long ago, an artificially intelligent computer program called AlphaZero, hooked up to industrial-strength, Google-supplied processors, was given the rules of chess. That’s it. By playing countless games against itself, billions(?),...

A Modest Proposal for Medicating Our Children

Kids who can’t (or won’t) sit still and be quiet aren’t normal. They have a disorder. They have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a serious disease that requires serious treatment. And if you don’t believe us, ask any pediatrician with a prescription pad. Since they’re desperately unwell, these ill children require medicine. Two of the best...

I Am Hitler’s Driver

Thanks to their proximity to important people everyone knows, unimportant people whose names we don’t remember, “regular” folks like me and you, often have a fleeting opportunity to change the course of World History. Henry the VIII’s chef; Napoleon’s personal physician; Hitler’s driver. With a little help and a lot of courage, each of them...

It’s All Good

Ask anyone under the age of 35: it’s all good. You accidentally bump your shopping cart into someone standing in line at the supermarket: Oops! No worries. It’s all good. You show up a few minutes late for a scheduled appointment: No problem, it’s all good. You forget someone’s name for the third time: Whatever....

The Fable of the One-Handed Pianist

Every person with an email inbox and an enthusiastic mother has seen the video by now. No doubt your mom sent it to you, subject line: This Is SOOOO Inspiring!!! Thanks to mothers like ours, it didn’t take long for the clip, a five-minute segment from “America’s Got Talent,” to go viral, amassing more than...