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Ojai Orange | The Column of Lasting Insignificance | Books | Wait-A-Minute

September 15, 2007
John Wilcock - September 15, 2007

 

  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

 

 


September 15, 2007

ANOTHER EPIC MISJUDGMENT by George Bush was at his Texas ranch when, after meeting Vladimir Putin, he remarked that he’d found him “very straightforward and trustworthy” and “was able to get a sense of his soul”. Then, unaware the microphone was still on, our naïve prez remarked to an aide: “I’ve got him eating out of my hand. You give these Ruskies some cake and they’ll give you their souls.” This account comes from Frazer Nelson writing in the Spectator where he reveals that since that meeting the Soviet defense budget has increased six-fold (to $33 billion), that their successful Topol-M missile has multiple warheads “which splinter so they cannot be shot out of the sky” and that soulful Vladimir plans to challenge the hegemony of the United States which, he says, “has overstepped its borders in all spheres—economic, political and humanitarian --and has imposed itself on other states.”

IT SEEMS PREMATURE to suggest that the NASCAR phenomenon has peaked, but CFO magazine reports that track attendance and TV ratings are both down, and “for the first time in memory, the money coming into the sport is leveling off”. Of course, for a spectacle with 75 million fans worldwide and revenues topping $3.4 billion annually, it’s not about to disappear any time soon. But “there’s a lot of competition for sponsors right now” says Larry DeGaris who heads a sports-marketing firm. The tab for a top racing team can top $20million (a single car costs up to $175,000) and even placing a decal might run to a couple of million bucks. Troubled business sectors, over-exposure in some markets and the fact that more than a quarter of NASCAR’s top racing operations lost money last year, were offered as reasons for the decline.

GRAFFITI MAY SEEM LIKE  a modern phenomenon but it has been uncovered on walls in ancient Greece and Rome. Archaeologists found a scribbled remark from AD200 sarcastically expressing surprise why the weight of comments on one wall had not caused it to fall down. And it’s archaeology, in fact, that has now zeroed in on today’s graffiti as a worthy subject of exploration: how its overlaid levels “compressed into months or years” resembled the rise and fall of an ancient city or culture. “Graffiti is such a fast-changing world” explains Cassidy Curtis in Archaeology Today, “that five years ago really is ancient history on one of these walls.”

COMPANIES SPENT ALMOST $19 billion on branded freebies last year but useless toys, unfathomable gizmos and items that cheapened their brand were prevalent, reported Inc. magazine. To devise a good freebie you must “think like a poet” suggests Denis McFarlane who operates a Virginia consulting firm. “Nothing flimsy or that would break easily, because that’s not the metaphor you want to show your clients”. Choose freebies that can be slipped easily into carry-on luggage and won’t set off airport metal detectors, the magazine advises.

“(Among the) smoking ban’s unfortunate consequences, as the Scots and Irish will attest, pubs now give off a noxious aroma of stale beer, missed urinals, damp dogs and damp old men and the flatulence of both—plus the industrial strength air freshener that fails to disguise it all”—Matthew Vincent in the Spectator, reporting that the smoking ban is likely to reduce beer sales in England by 200 million pints a year.

WIKIPEDIA ALREADY CARRIES 1.8 million pages in English, writes Tim Adams in the Observer, is probably worth $2billion and is growing at the rate of 1,700 articles per day. “You can see that Wikipedia is doing something right by the nature of its enemies. The site is completely banned in China”. Reporting on the policing system that has grown up to root out vandals (wikitrolls), Adams quotes founder Jimmy Wales: “The ideal Wikipedian in my mind is someone who is really smart and really  kind. When people get power in these communities, it is not through shouting loudest, it is through diplomacy and conflict resolution”. 

THE BIGSHOT ENVIRONMENTALIST who once called Wal-Mart “toxic” and now sells them his consulting services says that some of his old friends won’t speak to him and claim he’s sold out. Fast Company tells the tale of Adam Werbach, once the youngest (at 23) president of the Sierra Club, who’s now on a mission to make the giant corporation well known for its “environmental sustainability”. The magazine says Werbach knows he’s “straddling two contradictory culture…the hurdles are enormous”. But Wade Rathke, a community organizer in New Orleans who tried to dissuade Werbach from becoming a Wal-Mart contractor is dubious about him being able to affect change in a company with 1.5 million employees and $150 billion sales. “Well, there’s a level of ego there that is just staggering” he says.

THE WILCOCK WEB:  What a pity there isn’t a cheap television listings instead of the vapid TV Guide with its mess of pages devoted to obscure stars you’ve never heard of, and certainly wouldn’t care to watch….And speaking of publications: whatever happened to Harper’s, once one of the best magazines around but for the past year has turned into terminal dullness, full of boring, overlong stories brimming with tedious ennui? It once broke news stories—as the Atlantic still does—and the advertisers have clearly noticed the difference, buying more than three times as many September pages in the latter… ...One critic calls Conde Nast's new Portfolio "the Paris Hilton of business magazines"...“You are only young once”. wrote Germaine Greer, “ but you can be immature for ever”…. At this 70th anniversary year of Snow White, who remembers that Walt Disney’s wife told him: “I predict nobody’ll ever pay a dime to see a dwarf picture”?…. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy from Afghanistan farmers all their opium crop (and then destroy it) rather than spend so much money and so many lives trying to eliminate it?….An Ethiopian support group, SOS Addis, is paying women $65 a month to collect the capital’s abandoned plastic bags, thereby both giving employment and helping the environment…..More than three quarters of employers now track the Internet use of their employees, according to a survey by the American Management Association…. ….Just removed from Japanese amusement arcades: an electronic arm wrestling game called Arm Spirit after too many customers broke their arms.….What the state has, is theft. What the state says, is lies-- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)

09/08/07

comments? send an email to John Wilcock

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