Tagged: Michael Konik

Dealing With the Energy Crisis by Driving Trucks

A gallon of self-serve unleaded regular gasoline in Los Angeles costs an average of $3.20. In a weird, painful way, the high cost is a blessing, because (theoretically) it reduces demand, and when we drive our automobiles less we pollute our environment less. Our new Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, declared last month in his State of...

Being Ready

Many of our friends toil in the arts. They’re singers, pianists, and painters, playwrights, actors and essayists. And they’re all enjoying varying degrees of “success,” depending on how one defines the term. Those who don’t compose songs or declaim verse for a living suspect that the trick, the moment of magic, is getting discovered. They imagine...

God’s Responsibility

A reader sent us an email recently. It was one of those missives that circulate around the world, passed from one correspondent’s address book to 100 other’s, spreading virally until every third person with a home computer has seen the message. This one included images made by a sidewalk artist in Europe. His trompe l’oeil chalk...

A Modest Proposal to Solve Our Oil Problem

This morning the DJ on the local jazz station delivered a comic lament on the trauma of paying $3 for a gallon of gasoline. He recalled that a few months ago the price had fallen to nearly $2 per gallon, but in recent weeks it had eclipsed the psychologically troubling threshold of three, and he...

Poem: Hurry Up and Wait

We’re told by those who know such things that commencement came explosively, instantaneously and corrosively. Gas spewed, dust swirled, and — voila — light brings Life to a dark and icy place, where microscopic cells could not stay together, splitting and dividing no matter whether they were designed by God and touched by grace. This...

Learning from Piracy

In a gesture of international goodwill — and because there’s a big trade meeting coming up — the Chinese government recently shut down an enormous bazaar in Shanghai that exclusively offered counterfeit goods. Merchants and shoppers admitted to reporters that the closure would be momentarily inconvenient but that the bazaar would soon move to another...

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...