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

May 23, 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 23, 2009

A LITTLE WHITE PILL on which too many Cubans “drug themselves to escape”, marks the comeback of Milton, the Sixties mood-changer that preceded Valium. It’s become the single most popular drug on the Cuban black market and “nearly every household seems to have a stash” says the Utne Reader in a story that blows a hole in those vaunted claims for the island’s health system. Cubans have to wait in over-long lines for over-worked doctors who give them prescriptions that can’t be filled by empty pharmacies, reports the mag. After the Soviets pulled out, writes Lygia Navarro in the Quarterly Review, the consequent depression was called the Special Period filled with uncertainty and scarcity. Now there widespread agreement that many people have never pulled out of it. They remain “subtly  traumatized”.

HAS ANYONE CONSIDERED the possibility of terrorists destroying or disrupting a satellite? Reassuringly, the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) has realized that both military and commercial satellites are a potential target, not only up there but also via their ground stations and communication links. Their vulnerability can be reduced, ESPI suggests, by European countries working together so that terrorists cannot target a particular country. But, says Via Satellite magazine, “this approach is unlikely to be welcomed by any satellite operator in Europe and raises an enormous number of institutional and political questions”.

IN THE WORKS is a projected reality cable TV show about Frank Sheftel, owner of the Los Angeles Candy Factory, who also operates a medical marihuana dispensary. The drama and comedy in Grass Roots will come, says TelevisionWeek, from Sheftel “trying to balance his dual identities as well as his very different customer bases”. Candy lovers and dope smokers different? Nah.

LIKE ALMOST EVERYBODY else, moviemakers are noticing how little extra money is floating around these days. “Angels are getting scarce” notes Forbes.  “Now the sources of film financing are running dry”. Banks, hedge funds and other wealthy backers poured $6.7 billion into the industry from 2006-07 which helped Hollywood release 605 movies last year. Today even Steven Spielberg “is struggling to get financing” and DreamWorks has to more than double the usual 20% it puts up for each of its film.

THE PETER PRINCIPLE:  Why Things Always Go Wrong by Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull was just been republished in a new edition to celebrate its 40th birthday. “The principle posits that employees are rewarded for competence by being shoved up the hierarchy until they reach a position that overwhelms their skills. At that point they stick” quotes Inc. Consequently,  said the late authors, “In time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties.”

AFTER BEING ALMOST wiped out by 1940, the whooping crane became a project for preservation so now there are several hundred of them in North America. But raised in captivity, they didn’t know how to migrate to warmer climates in winter, so every year ultra light planes relaying the birds’ distinctive call, lead them on the 1,285-mile trip from Wisconsin to Florida. The May issue of Popular Science carries a picture of one of Operation Migration’s helpful flights.

MORE THAN 200 companies are developing next-generation bio-fuels using a bewildering array of technologies, reports Business Week, but this doesn’t look like it’s a big opportunity for the little guys. “Replacing petroleum fuels is a tough business. As the industry develops, many of the companies—probably most—will not survive” according to the mag’s gloomy prediction. “The probable winners will be those with deep pockets and patience. Such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Dupont, agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland”.

FOR 520 DAYS, roughly the time it will take to get to Mars and return, a group of would-be astronauts will be locked into a series of metal tubes in Moscow next month to see how they fare. Chosen from an international pool of 5,000 applicants, they will be closely monitored via a network of video cameras as they live on a diet of reprocessed urine and freeze-dried food. “Psychologists and biologists will be observing the effects of cramped quarters and social isolation” reports Popular Science.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Shoe repair shops which have dwindled to a mere 3,000 (once there were 100,000) are currently in demand, as more and more worn soles seek the once-familiar cobbler…With the gradual infiltration of English lettering on Saudi Arabia’s license plates, authorities have issued a banned list which includes SEX and USA….“The music business isn’t what it used to be” muses Dolly Parton. “After you reach a certain age, they think you’re over. Well, I will never be over. I’ll be making records if I have to sell them out of the trunk of my car”…..Why all this endless speculation about what will replace newspapers? The answer lies plain to see in the Huffpost front page…. The Texas state legislature is thinking of allowing helicopter pilots to take up paying customers on a hunt for wild hogs. Hogs have been causing $400 million-worth of property damage each year reports the May issue of the Helicopter Newsletter…. Even without any intelligible words, those TV commercials for Canada must be the most pointless ever screened in the English language.... Does Longchamp really believe that those pouty blonde models are an asset?….A canola-like weed called camelina is being nurtured by Montana’s  Sustainable Oils as a potential source of airplane jet fuel... The Powermat, due this fall, is a pad on which laptops or cellphones can be placed to be recharged (without wires) by magnetic induction…And MIT scientists have developed a revolutionary lithium iron phosphate battery that reportedly will be able to charge cell phones in 10 seconds… Miami’s Fox affiliate WSVN-TV is suing the Nielsen organization for what it alleges is “flawed data”  that caused a drop in ratings….So many folk are living beyond 100 in Japan (currently, 36.000 of them) that the government is down-sizing the silver cups it gives centenarians…. Sketching classes featuring nude models will be part of a new series on  Britain’s Channel Four next month…. Deft definition: Reintarnation— “Coming back to life as a hillbilly “.....Salicornia, aka sea asparagus, which can be grown in saltwater flooded deserts, is being touted as the new wonder weed which can be processed into food or biofuels. Those expensive, spiral-shaped, energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs cost 99c for a package of two at 99 Cent stores…..And for another 99c you can download James Joyce’s vintage Ulysses on Kindle….Now there’s an electronic Rubik’s Cube ($150) that lights up the squares….“What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself”— Roland Barthes (1915-1980)

FLASHBACK
THE WILCOCK WEB, May 17/08

“The only way an investor can get killed”, declares Warren Buffett “is by high fees or trying to outsmart the market”….

         [Brief items appearing here, often blossom later
into New York Times
stories]

5/16/09

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