Tagged: konik essay

Department of Trivial Inquiry: Eye-Blacking

Seeing some of the BCS Championship game last night, between USC and Texas, reminded me that there’s almost always betting value in the underdog. It also raised a not very important issue: What the hell is with the eye blacking? When I was a lad, football players painted black stripes below their eyes, on the...

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...

The Strange Case of Stanley Williams, Icon

The astonishingly strange saga of Stanley Williams, a murderer found guilty by four courts, reached the zenith of its narrative arc yesterday when the Los Angeles Times published a full-page advertisement (paid for by celebrity supporters, one assumes) in which the convict pledged his allegiance to God and asserted his dedication to “redemption.” He did...

The Male Brothel

Tabloid favorite Heidi Fleiss, a young woman whose two best talents appear to be self-promotion and the marketing of nubile flesh, recently announced via the winking and blushing media, including the credulous Los Angels Times, that her latest venture in pimping would be in Nevada, where prostitution is legal in several clear-thinking counties. This time,...

’tis Autumn

The trees, they are tired. They’ve borne too much fruit — so says the song. In Southern California, Autumn is different than, say Wisconsin, where October and November bring with them a massive denuding of foliage, turning magisterial maples into plaintive skeletons. The leaves drop, everywhere, covering driveways and lawns, and the mood is generally...

A Backyard Report, With No Deeper Meaning Intended

The flock of goldfinches — about 20 of them — that lives in my backyard, coexisting with house finches, sparrows, wrens, jays, and the occasional black phoebe and grosbeak, serve as an early warning system. Lately, at least once a day, these energetic little yellow peckers disappear into the ficus trees, or into a neighbor’s...

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn, and America’s Enduring Schism

Rosa Parks, an unintentional maker of history, was buried this weekend. She was an ordinary citizen of the United States who did something extraordinary, something that today seems so normal and reasonable that the courage Parks must have summoned at the time is easily forgotten. She refused to abide a transparently unjust law, and she was...

In Praise of Sarah Silverman

Her new movie, “Jesus is Magic,” proves (to us anyway) that Sarah Silverman is one of the funniest people in America. Essentially a video record of her stand-up comedy act — with some superfluous musical numbers and off-stage vignettes thrown in to make the project a “film” — J.i.M. features most of Silverman’s best stuff,...

Do We Really Believe in Education?

Aside from the concept of family, few pursuits are more important to Americans than education. Our politicians return to the theme as insistently as the repeating leitmotif of a pop song: We must invest in our future; we must spend more, do more, care more so that the quality of education improves — and, the...

The Truth About Travel Writing

Since there’s probably a good novel or two in this subject, I can’t divulge all the dirty secrets at the moment. But I can say summarily that spending close to 15 years as a professional travel writer exposed me to the weakest sense of ethics and the highest exchange rate of quid pro quo you’ll...