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

June 7, 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

 

 


June 7 , 2008

THE DICTATOR WHOM Condoleeza Rice calls “a good friend”—Equatorial Guinea’s president Teodoro Obiang--is dying of prostate cancer and is predicted to be succeeded by his playboy son who last fall paid $35 million for a Malibu mansion, Serra Retreat. “The E.G. government takes in $4bn a year in oil revenues and royalties” writes Richard Behar, “and yet just about every building of every size seems to be owned by the president’s family or government ministers who tend to be one and the same…E.G. is less a country than a corrupt, extended family business”. Most of its 520,000 citizens live on less than $1 a day. When Little Teodoro, 37, the family heir to what has been termed “a vampire parasitic elite” set a California record last year with his purchase of the 16-acre Malibu estate, very little appeared in the press about either him or his father who has been described as “one of the world’s most ruthless dictators”. (Obiang took over the country in a 1979 coup and executed his predecessor the following month.) Behar’s report appears in Fast Company, part of a lengthy investigation of the huge bribes being paid by U.S. oil companies to various African countries which, nevertheless, are  being outplayed by Chinese firms unhampered by human rights concerns.

IT’S BEEN RAINING WEATHERMEN like cats and dogs since the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (which employs almost half of them) switches to more computer models. But not to worry, big companies have been snatching them up as forecasters to storm-watch for firms like Mars, the candy company, that buy agricultural crops from tempest-prone foreign lands, as well as commodities traders at banks whose customers bet on how meteorological conditions might affect natural gas prices.

 “The movie industry has it over the game industry” says Stephen Spielberg, because “most films are stories full of surprises and the audience just sits and lets the experience wash over them. Whereas with video games you’re so busy waving your arms or using your thumbs and standing on your feet and leaning forward, and there’s so much body language and adrenaline that it blocks any chance to have a feeling about a character”.

CUTTING THE FORESKIN in the process known as circumcision has encountered growing criticism in recent years from what Psychology Today refers to as “intactivists”. The rate of circumcision has dropped from 90% to about 50% says the mag reporting views from both those who approve of it (as long as it’s done at an early age) and those who regard it as  a violation of children’s rights. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a neutral statement declaring that it was legitimate for parents “to take into account cultural, religious and ethnic traditions in addition to medical factors”.

ON A SIMILAR SUBJECT, Popular Science devotes a page to various alternatives now available to the male contraceptive pill. These include implanting tiny silicone plugs, a gel that dissolves sperm and a 10-minute application of ultrasound to the testes every six months.

POPE BENEDICT XVI’s recent visit to the U.S. is likely to have been a boon to the holy relic business according to Forbes. “Anything he touched will count—a business card, a rosary, a faucet” if and when he is beatified, the magazine says. Although the Vatican bars the actual sale of such items as bone fragments from saints, pieces of the Holy Cross and even Mother Teresa’s tennis shoes, dealers get around it by selling reliquaries-- containers containing the relics—with the latter thrown in for free. “Some first-class relics come with a red papal seal (meaning they’ve been vetted by the Vatican)…..(and) customers report relics with palpable heartbeats”.

TOSSING 42 COFFEE BEANS into the machine for each espresso, more than 800 deft Java Joes from around the world will meet in Copenhagen (June 19-22) for the 10th annual World Barista Championship. In 15 minutes each competitor prepares four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original ”signature” drinks. Tobacco-infused cream topped one of last year’s winners.

BRITISH MUSEUMS have been accused of “dumbing down” by a Sunday Times writer, Waldemar Januszczcak, who discovered Halle Berry’s bikini and other James Bond memorabilia in the Imperial War Museum “an institution charged with remembering Britain’s wars”. Another museum, the Victoria & Albert, is about to display dresses worn by the Supremes, another example the writer claims, of the infantilisation” of British culture.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA is so far the only market for the initial batch of three-wheeled Aptera cars just going into production. Claiming to get 300mpg and 120 miles on a single charge, the hybrid costs $30,000 and 1,300 of them have already been paid for.

THE WILCOCK WEB: What phony ”incident” will the Bushies manufacture to justify an attack on Iran just before the November election?…. After incomprehensible French novelist Michael Houellebecq called his mother, Lucie Ceccaldi, 83, an “old slut’ in one of his books, she responded with a book of her own in which she terms him “a little upstart willing to do anything for fame and fortune”…. “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” in the opinion of Carrie Fisher…..Maybe you hadn’t noticed how many English candy bars are now licensed to Hershey’s—Nestle’s Rolo along with some the in the Cadbury range. Kraft makes the Swiss Toblerone but so far no company has grabbed France’s delicious NutsWhisky Magazine voted a Japanese single malt ($300 a bottle) best in the world….The world’s fifth richest man, Mukesh Ambani (a $43bn petro-chemicals tycoon) is building himself a 27-story, $1.7bn house in Bombay. Six floors are devoted to parking and there’s an “ice room” (it gets hot in Bombay)Three years after his death, the best program on television, Classic Arts Showcase, just celebrated its 14th anniversary in May with a tribute to its visionary founder, Lloyd E. Rigler…. …..”I tend to think that the more people like something, the worse it is” suggests Laurie Anderson….This month, Take Me Out to the Ball Game will become the first song to be featured on a US postage stamp…. Why isn’t phonetic spelled the way that it sounds? …..Local activist Dmitris Lambrou says residents of the Greek island of Lesbos have suffered “psychological and moral rape” by the “seizure” of their name by gay women…..“Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises”—Samuel Butler (1612-80)

5/31/08

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