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

May 9, 2009
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

 

 



May 9, 2009

“People don’t’ think advertising is worth paying for any
more. Here’s a news flash: it never was…Remember that
line, ‘I know half my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know
which half?’ Well, the answer is in and it’s both”

          
--letter in Advertising Age

THE INCREASE IN coupon offers and other cut-price deals is setting up advertisers for lasting damage to their brands, suggests a front-page story in Advertising Age. “I’m seeing a lot of money being spent in trying to bribe the shopper to buy” warns consultant Thom Blischok, “but the more (you do this), the more you are setting your long-term pricing strategy”. The mag reports that “coupons” searches outnumbered those for “Britney Spears” last month and that more than half of all beverages in February were discounted. Conventional wisdom, AdAge concludes that such deals “pose a threat to brand health”.

LAWN-PAINTING is becoming trendy in some areas where foreclosures have punctuated suburban streets with ugly brown lawns flanking empty homes. In the California town of Perris (pop: 53,000), for example, three-man crews typically spend four hours painting dead lawns a healthy green.

“We’re trying to maintain properties so they stay at a decent value”  says development director Ron Perris. “It’s money well spent”.

ON THE SUBJECT OF electric cars, says Fortune,  Asian manufacturers “are leaving U.S. rivals in the dust”. What it all comes down to is batteries: the more mileage needed without a recharge, the bigger the battery needed and the costlier and more cumbersome  the car. And the right kind of lithium-ion battery costs at least $10,000—about half the price of the cheapest car. After its fiasco with the EV (recalled and junked a decade ago) GM is betting on its Volt (due next year) but meanwhile the Chinese BYD company (in which Warren Buffett invested) is morphing from one of the word’s largest cell phone and battery companies into potentially the world’s largest automaker with the first plug-in model,  already cheaper and with a greater range than the Volt will have. The prediction is that the future lies in car-owners renting their batteries rather than buying them which, says one expert,  “is like having to buy upfront all the gas the car will ever need”.

WITH A FRONT PAGE simulating Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, the Nation asked if the media tycoon’s purchase of the Wall Street Journal, has caused the financial paper to “lose its soul”. The story offered more than it appeared to deliver, quoting several writers who supported the ensuing changes, but it did suggest that Murdoch “had smothered it and made it ordinary” and reporting that frustration was rife among the paper’s reporters. As to the future, former WSJ executive editor Fred Taylor surmised that the new editor, Robert Thomson, brought in from the London Times, didn’t have the cojones to stand up to the new boss and may end up being “merely Murdoch’s caretaker and custodian”.

AMONG SUCH WORLD-FAMOUS sites as Peru’s Chan Chan, Ireland’s Tara and a 14th century abbey in Kosovo, the Smithsonian  named America’s “Mother Road” in its list of ‘Ten Endangered Cultural Treasures’. The magazine reports that Route 66 is badly in need of preservation and expiring later this year is the bill passed specifically to do that, which has never been fully implemented. (read the chapter in John's autobiography, Manahattan Memories, devoted to Route 66)

THE OUTLOOK FOR fund-raising is predictably gloomy in these troubled times and is made worse, suggests the Utne Reader because we have “outsourced compassion”. In recent years, “the United States has deliberately and steadily shifted the burden of meeting social needs onto a loosely organized, haphazardly regulated patchwork of non profits”. Apart from the fact these are hobbled by too many outdated regulations, it is time to abandon the Reagan-inspired concept that ”help is harmful” and have  the government to improve welfare and other social services. “Trying to end hunger with food drives is like trying to fill the Grand Canyon with a teaspoon” declares Joel Berg, author of a book on the subject.

EUROPE’S MOST CAUTIOUS BANK, Spain’s Banco Santander, was careful to avoid most of the financial jiggery pokery that capsized so many of its rivals. Last year it racked up a profit of $11.7 billion. Now it’s about to spread its wings in the U.S. by upgrading the 747 branches of Pennsylvania-based Sovereign Bancorp which it acquired a few months ago. This was only one of nine deals across three continents on which Santander has spent $31 billion in the past two years. “We only invest in markets we understand well” says the bank’s CFO José Antonio Alvarez.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Profligate with money but dense about PR, banks don’t seem to realize that running the same ear-splitting commercial too often (yes you, Chase) just alienates viewers…. Who would have expected that the Martin Luther King family’s greatest fame would come from their greediness?…. After killing each other for the past 700 years, Sunnis and Shiites will continue doing it, whether we are there or not….With a column about collectibles celebrating his tenth year of writing for Popular Mechanics, Jay Leno confessed he had paid $800,000 for a MacLaren F1 which was now worth four times as much…. Those tantalizing glimpses of Ivanka Trump on Celebrity Apprentice are not enough. One could gaze at her porcelain features for hours…. Slate business writer Daniel Gross wrote that (now-defunct) Portfolio was too Condé Nast for its own good.  (It) “didn't have the attitude of a hungry startup, which it was. Instead, it rolled like an established Condé Nast property, such as stablemates The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired, Condé Nast Traveler, et al”….The average cost overrun for NASA and Pentagon contracts is reported to be 26% so why aren’t the companies that sign these dishonest contracts be obliged to eat the overcharge?…. “A celebrity” as defined by H.L. Mencken,is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn’t know”…Britain’s supermarket giant Tesco has already lost two hundred million bucks trying to crash the US scene with its Fresh and Easy stores…..Legislators in half a dozen states are pushing bills that would force Amazon to collect taxes on mail order items…. We always knew Condoleeza was a real bitch, so it’s no big surprise to learn she was a torture enabler…. Welsh scientists claim that feeding cows garlic can make them fart only half as much…. Columbia Journalism Review has published a Chinese edition…. About half the world’s supply of lithium, an essential ingredient for electric car batteries, is in Bolivia whose president, Evo Morales, is planning to insist that the batteries be made there…. If the second Night at the Museum is half as funny as the first, it will still be hilarious…. Seventy years after introducing (at the New York World’s Fair) the boxy View-Master which allowed you to see a series of 3D pictures, toymaker Fisher-Price has stopped making them…..If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand--Frederick Douglas (1818-95)

5/2/09

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