Tagged: Michael Konik

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

We were once under the misapprehension that Christmas was the holiday that had become commercialized and drained of meaning. After witnessing the emergence of Black Friday as a widely understood part of the lexicon, we’re inclined to think that the Thanksgiving holiday has become just as bad. Never mind that the whole Pilgrims and Indians thing...

No Free Parking

The idea behind Congestion Pricing is to charge people more to use things — city streets, toll roads, cellphones — during peak times. By raising the cost you reduce demand, freeing up more space. And if demand stays constant you earn higher revenue and then raise the price some more. Such programs are in place...

Why I Wrote “Reefer Gladness”

My new book, coming out in a couple of months, is about marijuana. Fans of my gambling and golf and dog books have been wondering what gives. Why this? Aside from not wanting to repeat myself, I sought a subject that’s moving to the forefront of our ongoing cultural conversation, a subject about which people...

Poem: Father’s Day

Look for the tender part hiding beneath the armor. That’s where you’ll find the love and the care that’s too big to have a word. Altogether different from Mom’s, it feels at first more settled, less frantic. But when you live with it long enough and if you’re charitable, you’ll discover that Dad will never...

Marijuana Lies: Rebuttal Central

California could change the course of American History in November. Proponents of legalizing marijuana use, possession, cultivation, and distribution have successfully placed on the ballot a referendum that would end nearly a century of ignorance and injustice. Currently, one must be “sick” to own and use marijuana. If the law passes, everyone will be entitled...

The Broken Contract

The deal is supposed to go like this: In a capitalist society, we all agree to allow the Marketplace, that divine arbiter of value, to determine how much each individual is worth to everybody else. The more people who like you or need you (or your work), the better off you’ll be. If you invent...

The End is Near!…for Selling Recorded Music

Before 1909, when technology changed everything, performing artists earned a living by performing. The only way to sell talent was to traipse it around the countryside and throughout the theatrical circuit. Packaging a voice on phonograph recordings, distributing the disc through retail channels, and marketing the product as a valuable commodity was a radical and...

Recipe for Destruction of a Culture

If for some unknown reason you were committed to destroying a native society, you probably could not do a better job than the European colonial powers in Africa and Asia. The formula goes something like this: conquer the natives militarily; indoctrinate them in foreign religions; forbid birth control; convince them that the way out of...

An Opinion You Can Trust

The most irksome problem with the Blogosphere is that everybody is a critic, which is cool for everybody but troubling for everybody else. Without institutional authority — a newspaper, a university, a trade group — to certify who should be listened to and respected and who should be dismissed and neglected, discerning the wheat from...

Where the Money Is

Take a walk around your city’s downtown. Look at the skyline. Note the names on the tallest buildings. See who has the wealth.  In Los Angeles, almost all the skyscrapers bear the names of corporations that handle money: banks, accounting firms, insurance companies. This seems right. These organizations, one reckons, ought to have lots of...