Tagged: Michael Konik

End Times

Despite God’s omniscience, He, apparently, can always use some help in orchestrating His master plan for His earthly kingdom and the wretched sinners that inhabit it. This is why more than a few — tens of thousands — fervent souls are working to bring about the apocalypse sooner than later. As with almost every page...

Eleven Reasons to Love the World Cup

11) Soccer, or “football” as the rest of the world calls it, is truly “the beautiful game.” 10) The entire globe — with possibly the exception of America — caring about something other than oil, money, and religion. 9) The unfamiliar national songs sung, con gusto, in the stands. 8) The uniform colors. 7) The...

The Foul-Mouthed Umpire Redeemed

Yesterday’s paper carried a column by the sportswriter Bill Plaschke about Bruce Froemming, an MLB umpire closing in on the all-time record for most games officiated. Plaschke’s gimmick is to write one sentence paragraphs, as though he were being paid by the inch. Not the word. He’s also well known for essaying sentimental stories that...

Poem: Where I Went Wrong

Some people — OK, what I really mean is me, me, me. Me, who can’t ever pick the best line at the supermarket checkout. Me, who fumbles one love affair into another. Me, who doesn’t dress as well as he might, or get a proper haircut, or read the right books — me. Yes, I’m...

A Fine Mess at the FCC

Last week President Bush signed legislation that will increase the fines broadcasters pay when their programming exceeds “the bounds of decency.” For language or imagery the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t like, the over-the-air media faces penalties as high as $325,000 per incident — a 1000% increase beyond the former maximum. This legislation is the climax...

South American Travel Notes, Part Four

To those who haven’t experienced the beast outside of its natural habitat of strip malls and gated communities, the Ugly American seems an outlandish caricature, a literary device employed to make a point about modern capitalism. Unlike Nessie or Sasquatch, however, this monster really exists. You can see him every summer in Europe, and at...

South American Travel Notes, Part Three

After more than a week in the deep wilderness, in the Amazonian basin, where Boliva meets Peru and there are more waterways than roads, three native people asked me where I am from, since it was clear to them from my visage and my language that I’m not indigenous. Not a soul asked, “What do...

South American Travel Notes, Part Two

The butterfly lives on average for three weeks. Although it enjoys many months as a larva and caterpillar, its winged existence is intensely beautiful and unimaginably brief. In the few days it has before it expires, the butterfly must find a mate and leave behind the next generation. Its brilliantly gaudy wings help attract a...

South American Travel Notes, Part One

Is there a connection, real or imagined, between Costa Rica’s comparative dearth of governmental corruption and the apparent dearth of popular unhappiness? Does an official stance of neutrality and a more equitable division of natural resources produce a generally more cheerful populace that in the region’s kleptocracies? Like every other Central American country, Costa Rica...

Burn, Baby Burn: GM’s Fuel Protection Scheme

General Motors, the moribund American auto maker that’s been bleeding money (and slashing jobs) for several years, has a new sales promotion for California residents, who endure some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation. The company, which makes brands like Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Hummer, is offering a special deal: Buy or lease...