Tagged: konik essay

The Genius Trade-Off

Being a genius isn’t easy. According to both conventional wisdom and scholarly hagiography, geniuses tend to be socially maladjusted freaks terrorized by personal demons that normal people can’t understand. Many geniuses die young. They endure lives that aren’t happy. Darkness shrouds their light. On the other hand, they’re geniuses. Being a regular person, it seems,...

Age is a Number

Fairy tales can come true. It can happen to you… Tonight, my 81-year-old friend Linda Hopkins is doing what most octogenarians do on a Tuesday night: record a live album of blues and jazz. She will require a cane to navigate the short distance from nightclub floor to stage, and the persistent pains in her...

Vocalizing Versus Singing

Beautiful vocalizing is often mistaken for beautiful singing. Both sonic phenomena require the production of a ringing tone that exploits the peculiar vibration of the ligaments and muscles — the cords — at the back of the human mouth. Both require an acute sensitivity to intonation (being “in tune”). And both demand a steady flow...

Why There’s Value in the Underdog

Last night, the University of Florida won the men’s collegiate basketball championship, beating UCLA, 73-57. The Florida Gators were the favored squad, and, as usual in this type of spectacle, most of the money on the contest was bet on the favorite, the team that’s perceived as stronger than the other one. Everybody loves a winner...

Self Destruction

Depending on one’s quotient of Puritanical self-abnegation, the follies of other less disciplined souls often inspire the pensive equivalent of a scoff. Of the fatty we think, “Surely he knows that a diet of doughnuts and fries will only make him more obese.” Of the smoker we think, “Surely she knows that smoking causes an...

Street Cleaning

Based on a several weeks of highly unscientific observation, we’ve come to the dismaying conclusion that motorized street cleaning in Los Angeles doesn’t work. This, we know, isn’t exactly shocking news. But if what we’re concluding is indeed true — and the more unscientific observing we do, the more certain we become — our city is wasting millions...

Colorblind Music

No matter how insistently racism tries to insert itself into our social interactions, a few transcendent arenas remain where the truth is immune to strenuously repeated stereotypes and preconceived notions. One of these rare places is music. Either you swing or you don’t; you’ve got soul or not. There’s no faking it. Jazz and blues...

Arab Madness

The recent fuss over Dubai Ports World, a well-known shipping company based in the United Arab Emirates, illustrates once again that the facts never get in the way of a good story. Or, depending on your outlook, a bad one. Sadly, our news media, increasingly rabid for the ratings that drive corporate profits, seems more...

Painter of Light

According to a series of recently published newspaper stories, Thomas Kinkade, the enormously successful painter, isn’t as nice of a man as his collectors and business associates believed him to be. This normally wouldn’t be much of a revelation except that in Kinkade’s case the artist trades heavily on his “Christian values” and “core beliefs,”...

American Idol Crib Notes

If, unlike me, you don’t have a partner who forces you to watch the Fox karaoke competition “American Idol,” you may be living in a state of blissful ignorance, utterly unaware of what’s happening on America’s most-watched television program. You may not know that after weeks of schmaltzy build-up the shrinking talent pool questing to...