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

January 26, 2008
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

  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

 

 


January 26, 2008

SIDEWALK BOXES HOLDING catalogs for The Learning Annex can be found on almost every corner in New York but founder Bill Zanker always had headier ambitions. Now his Real Estate & Wealth Expo is a $100m a year business bringing in huge crowds (70,000 in San Francisco, 50,000 in Toronto) to hear a score of speakers whose stars are headed by George Foreman, Tony Robbins and Donald Trump, the last-mentioned of which Zanker paid Trump $30m for 20 performances-- $1.5 million for each one-hour speech. Biz writer John Dean says that Trump wouldn’t even come to the phone until he was offered $1million. Zanker and Trump co-authored a best seller, Think Big and Kick Ass (in Business and in life.) Each show, according to Inc., costs between three and five million dollars to stage, nearly half of which is spent in advertising and promotion. “We change people’s attitudes says Bill Zanker. “everybody wants to change something and we’re right here”. He estimates that the Change-Your-Life business is worth $18billion a year.

THE ECOLOGY OF FEAR is how Oregon State University researchers describe the fact that aspen trees are making a comeback along the shores of rivers in Yellowstone Park. Apparently these are the areas favored by wolves which were re-introduced into the park a decade ago, thus scaring off the elk which had always found aspen especially tasty.

TRANSFORMING A Handful of its stores into ‘fictional’ Kwik-E-Marts for The Simpsons Movie paid off for 7-Eleven last year, which topped Entrepreneur magazine’s Annual Franchise 500 for the first time in 29 years. “It was astounding” says CEO Joseph DePinto. “There were lines coming out of these stores and some of their volumes were unbelievable”. Such items as Malt-0-Meal, Buzz Cola and Krusty-Os cereal were specially created for the promotion which took place in only a dozen of the 5,580 7-Elevens in the US and none of the 25,062 abroad.

MATHEMATICIANS ARE FASCINATED by the simple mechanics of the Rock/Paper/Scissors game so it was inevitable that computer programmers would try to produce the ultimate player. It turns out that even though they think they are being random in their choices, most people consciously or unconsciously follow a sequence in their head. “Spot it, and they are toast” says New Science, which advises “play the throw that would have been beaten by your opponent’s previous throw” because “some kind of subconscious activity seems to encourage players to aim to beat their own preceding throw”. Different studies show that rock comes up the most often but as only rookies tend to use it as an opener, the safest way to start is with scissors, usually forcing at least a draw.

WITH THE COST of a light jet plane (Eclipse 400) costing roughly $1m., it’s expected that the 14,000 business jets now crowding the air will be doubled within a decade. For mere renters, a couple of hundred thousand will buy you an ‘entry level’ in NetJets, plus 25 hours of flying time.

IN A PIECE titled The Dangerous Wealth of the Ivy League, Anthony Bianco claims that impressionable students and ambitious parents have come to view college as a form of conspicuous consumption—a striking manifestation of the contemporary American tendency of the rich to get much richer. “While the Ivies, which account for less than 1% of the total, lift their spending into the stratosphere”, he writes in Business Week, “many public colleges and universities are struggling to cope with rising enrolments and less state aid”. Distinguished faculty members along with their research grants are being lured away with salaries averaging $100,496 but sometimes running to more than $1 million. Harvard’s staff of 2,146 faculty members is a 50% increase over the decade. Robert J. Birgenaugh, chancellor of UC Berkeley, says that public schools are being drained for the benefit of the ultra elite and the mag adds that “the Ivies’ superior spending power puts even the finest public universities at a disadvantage in the competition for faculty”.

NIGHT PEOPLE TEND to be more imaginative and receptive to unconventional ideas according to Juan Francisco Diaz-Morales, a Spanish researcher who administered personality tests to 360 university students, chosen because they were presumably less influenced by “time schedules and social patterns”. Early risers, the study concluded, are more formal, self-controlled and respectful of authority, whereas night owls tend to be more independent and non-conforming

 “I just think it is a bit vulgar to decorate yourself with your affiliations, your sympathies, your achievement. We are not sandwich boards, nor cattle to be ear-tagged…I don’t like wearing uniforms either; and surely many would agree”—Matthew Parris in the Spectator, bemoaning tattoos and displaying ribbons

THE WILCOCK WEB: Performed by the London Oratory School Choir, the DVD Santa Subito! —a musical montage of film of the late pope. John Paul II—is set to become the Vatican’s best seller with its potential audience of one billion Catholics worldwide…The most overrated of all NYTimes columnists, Maureen Dowd, is a big favorite with her media chums, but some of the red haired reactionary’s recent effusions are just silly compared with her fellow columnist Gail Collins….Celestial Seasonings claims that not having a string tag on its teabags saves 3m pounds of paper a year…..“I get to exorcize whatever demons I have by making movies” confesses Tim Burton. “Movie-making is like an expensive form of therapy. Only you don’t have to pay for it. Other people pay for it….A couple of English Parliamentarians want to pass a law banning sex for money but no mention, as usual, of politicians prostituting themselves ….”A cheerful pessimism is the only proper response” to politics wrote Simon Carr in the Independent….The Japanese have invented a car that can climb steps…..Nearly two-third of the 86,000 books published in Britain last year sold on average 18 copies….”Today is a disastrous day. If you can’t beat ’em,  join ‘em” is a sample of the “cautious” rather than “negative” mottoes that New York’s Wonton Food company is inserting in its fortune cookies…. Pasta palindrome: Wonton? Not now….. Now there’s a microwave that can be powered from the cigarette lighter outlet in your car (thewavebox.com).....The Economist calculates that filling up an SUV’s gas tank with ethanol uses up enough maize to feed a person for a year….. Only a malicious person is always at his best--Somerset Maugham (1864-1965)

1/19/08

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