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John Wilcock - December 30, 2006

 

  The column of lasting insignificance
     


also posted:



2011
November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 8, 2011
October 1, 2011
September 24, 2011
September 17, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
August 13, 2011
August 6, 2011
July 30, 2011
July 23, 2011
July 16, 2011
July 9, 2011
July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 14, 2011
May 7, 2011
April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
April 16, 2011
April 9, 2011
April 2, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 12, 2011
March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 2, 2010
September 25, 2010
September 18, 2010
September 11, 2010
September 4, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
August 14, 2010
August 7, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
July 17, 2010
July 10, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 19, 2010
June 12, 2010
June 5, 2010
May 29, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 15, 2010
May 8, 2010
May 1, 2010
April 24, 2010
April 17, 2010
April 10, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 


December 30, 2006

THE IMPENDING NEW SEASON of Fox TV's American Idol is already striking terror into the hearts of competing networks declared Variety in a front page story just before Christmas. The show is scheduled to run "45 highly-rated hours" from January 16 through May, dominating two or three nights each week—what ABC's Jeff Baden calls the "Idol tsunami". Variety discussed the Fox show in near apocalyptic terms claiming it has already "vaporized" 20 series competing with it "piling up the body bags" and defying "the laws of Nielsen gravity with its jaw-dropping popularity". NBC's scheduling chief Mitch Metcalfe says: "It's this hurricane that blows in. We know it's going to come—and we just have to buckle down and prepare for it as best we can".

A COLUMNIST FOR TelevisionWeek says that the main reason why English-language Al Jazeera hasn’t found a cable or satellite distributor is that “for the most part, American viewers are clearly parochial and have no interest in the world beyond them and their immediate family”. Marianne Paskowski quotes former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough lamenting the fact that since 9/11 American interest in international news has plummeted. “Americans ask why do (radicalized Muslims) hate us” he says. “I guess… they just really don’t want to know the answer”.

SO-CALLED "BITCH SCHOOLS" are being conducted in Moscow’s Dubrovka theater to teach Russian women how to attain “great sex, money and a man who looks after you.”  Vladimir Rakovsky, a motivational speaker and his wife Yevgenia, give aspiring wives the secret of success in a man’s world.  “A smart woman gets what she wants by pretending to be weak” says Rakovsky.  “A bitch should be strong and self-confident but should remember to use feminine traits such as her attractiveness and, whenever useful she should try to come across as a helpless creature.”  One lesson teaches women how to rub their breasts against an unsuspecting subject.

PRINCE CHARLES HAS LAUNCHED a campaign to preserve the English country pub which has been disappearing so fast that 60% of the country’s villages no longer have one. Because small shops and post offices have been closing almost as fast, the idea is to try and combine the three functions—even hiring the pub kitchens to provide hot lunches for nearby schools, bring in satellite receivers to pub gardens to offer broadband to isolated villages and turn part of the building into a library.  Pub is the Hub, the overall organizer, has managed to secure grants from some local councils to help with necessary conversions.  In some cases villages have raised the money to buy the pub themselves and turn them into multi-purpose centers.

THE ANNUAL AWARD by Le Figaro for the best croissants in Paris went to Pierre Hermé, 45, who has been called “the Picasso of pastry”. The happy baker said: “The noise of a croissant is very important. I can almost hear them shout when people tear them apart”.

SPINDLE NEURONS—the specialized brain cells in humans thought to process our emotions—were thought to be shared only with great apes until recently. But, reports the New Scientist , they have now been discovered in whales. “They’re like the ‘express trains’ of the nervous system” which enable us to instantly process and act on emotional cues explains Patrick Hof who with his colleague Estel Van Der Gocht of new York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine made the discovery. The magazine suggests that this kind of processing might explain the way these lovable mammals perform their songs and vocalizing.

FOUR OF THE FIVE top models who posed nearly naked to protest “social crime” of wearing fur have returned to promoting it reports the Independent on Sunday in a piece headed “Bloody Fashion” which revealed that more than a thousand tons of fur entered Britain last year.  Even a jacket of rabbit fur--used for garments since the 13th c.-- can cost $1700. “Fashion is notoriously fickle and the famous slogan, 'It takes 40 dumb animals to make a fur coat…but only one to wear it' is being disregarded by many designers and models.”

THE WORLD’S LARGEST construction project is currently the $3billion, 1,100-mile oil pipeline from Baku on the Caspian Sea to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. When completed in 2009 it will move a million barrels of oil a day to be shipped to western Europe and the U.S. Predictably though, there are already problems with what the New Statesman claimed are allegations of “corruption, incompetence and cronyism” (not to mention the villagers en route who are losing their homes) plus the environmental threats posed by an oil pipeline that passes through 14 active seismic faults and across 1,500 water courses. Much of the region is politically instable, NS explains, and the threat of terrorism means that the pipeline will need to be guarded 24 hours a day by thousands of troops and millions of dollars worth of sophisticated sensors and detection equipment.

ALLOWING PUBLIC OFFICIALS to stay in office so long, subject to no accountability and virtually no check, is a peculiar—and deeply undemocratic—feature of American democracy charges Herman Schwartz. He’s writing about the Supreme Court, the last ten members of which to leave served an average of 26 years, and of which there have been only 110 members in our entire history. “The anomaly of our system” Schwartz writes in the Nation, “is compounded by the fact that someone can be handed such power by a partisan Senate vote of just 51-49. And yet…most Americans do not seem to care”.

AUTOMOBILE OWNERSHIP is growing so fast in China that McDonald’s (770 outlets in the country so far) plans to make half of all future outlets drive-thru’s.  “The opportunities are huge”, boasts the company’s Asia boss Tim Fenton who says that within a few years China will have a middle class bigger than the current US 300 million population.  A new deal’s being signed with Sinopec, the state-owned oil company to plant the Golden Arches at gas stations all through out the country.  The pace of change has been incredible”, says Fenton.  “A few years back it was all bicycles.”

THE WILCOCK WEB: Last month was the 60th anniversary of the ballpoint pen, invented by a Hungarian newspaper editor Lazlo Biro.  But BIC captured the market, helped by the French government approving its use in schools in 1965….. After yet another gibe from the British press about the expected influx of immigrants when Romania joins the EU next month, the country’s biggest paper, Libertatea, fired back by accusing the Brits of exporting “pedophilia, drunkenness and hooliganism" …Undeterred by the weak dollar, affluent American tourists are still flooding into London prompting the flagship of the InterContinental chain to charge $9,000 a night for the best suites in its newly refurbished hotel….. Reminiscing about the druggie habits of his younger days, novelist Stephen King told the Sunday Telegraph: “You take a hit of cocaine and it makes you a new man but the first thing the new man wants is a hit of cocaine”… For about $500, England’s Number One Pig Consortium allows investors to choose a pig which is then raised and slaughtered before being packaged and delivered in cuts…..….Since it started airing its Deal or No Deal show, NBC has split with its partner almost $25 million income from viewers’ text messages….“There is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth”—Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

DECEMBER 23/06

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