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

August 15, 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

 

 



August 15, 2009

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Obviously it’s not “rule by the people” because different sections of “the people” have different wishes and desires, often contradictory. How about “rule by a majority of the people”?

Well, this can produce ugly, unacceptable results. “No one would endorse a system in which 51% of the people can exploit, oppress or slay the other 49%” writes James L. Payne in The Independent Review.

One definition of democracy is a system that operates through representation after free elections, but the flaws in this are that not only do the representatives have to take positions on a wide variety of issues but that they are not honest about their intentions. “For most candidates” says Payne, “taking positions is a shallow advertising operation (which)..cannot be taken seriously as a guide to action”.

Making the World Safe for Muddle is the title of the Review’s piece and it makes the point that although Americans don’t care to admit it publicly, they have always understood that elections are not the essence of our system. Because if they believed that, they wouldn’t tolerate an unelected Supreme Court having as much power (if not more) to decide important policy questions, as presidents and senators. Not to mention the Electoral College—“a perfect negation of the theory of democratic elections”.

“The problem with democracy” Payne writes, “is not that it has no meaning, but that it has too many meanings”. And for an alternative, he points to George Washington’s farewell address urging the United States to “cultivate peace and harmony with all”.

So instead of assertively trying to impose our views on the rest of the world, we should strive to be a good neighbor and set a good example. “It would be eminently logical and moral for the United States to make the promotion of peace its main goal in world affairs”.

WORKING AT A satellite tracking station in Australia at the time of the moon launch, Gary Peach says it was his idea that the first words from the moon should be, One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. “I thought that, being Americans, they might say, ‘Holy chicken shit, look at all that fucking dust” says Peach, now 73. Astronaut Neil Armstrong claims he thought up the mankind phrase himself on the spur of the moment.

 
Leninade

NOBODY HAS HAD the chutzpah to use the swastika as a sales pitch yet, but the hammer and sickle has become fair game. Panties, thongs and bras emblazoned with the old Soviet symbols are available via HammerSickleStuff.com, just one of the firms to spring up since London Fashion Week launched “Communist chic” a few years back. (The Daily Telegraph described it as: “Soviet style comes in from the cold”).

Now Real Soda in Real Bottles Ltd., the California company started by Danny Ginsburg who began collecting bottle caps as a teenager, has launched Leninade (almost 20 bucks a case).

IT WAS THE 15th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus who discovered—much to the aggravation of the Catholic church—that the Earth revolves around the sun. This summer he gets a belated award with the naming of a new element after him, copernicium. On the Table of the Elements its symbol is cp, number 12. (numbers 1,2,3 and 4 are respectively hydrogen, helium, lithium and beryllum). How do you find a new element? This one was created at Germany’s Centrer for Heavy Ion Research by firing zinc atoms at lead atoms in a 400-ft long particle accelerator (whatever that is). As there are 118 elements altogether (although number 117 is mysteriously said to be “undiscovered”), this would seem to open up all kinds of possibilities.

THREE YEARS AFTER paying $1.65b in stock to acquire YouTube, Google is still in the red although it does makes money from about 13% of its videos (which are being uploaded to it at the astonishing rate of 20 hours each minute). At least it’s the world’s most-watched online video site (Hulu is second) and the Google folk seem willing to keep pouring in funds and support. “It ultimately is more interested in making sure that the company becomes the primary platform consumers use to generate, store, sort and view all their video content and communications” comments Fortune.

GET READY FOR a new way of evaluating food, not by fat or calories but with a new system: the Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI) which compares such positive qualities as fiber, vitamins and fatty acids with such negatives as fat, sugar and salt content. On a scale in which broccoli rates as 100, for example, prunes would be 45 and popsicles a mere 1.

THE WILCOCK WEB: How can anyone deal with a religion that kills people on ‘rumors’ of a Koran being defaced, even if they’re not true?….It’s not in Britain’s interests to keep troops in Afghanistan, writes Malalai Joya in the Guardian, just to keep “a gang of corrupt warlords in power in  Kabul”….”There is no situation so bad” wrote Brendan Behan, “that the arrival of a policeman cannot make it worse”…It’s a pity that Paula Abdul can only evaluate her worth by comparing it to other stars, instead of accepting that five million bucks a year is more than nine out of ten people will see in a lifetime… Thinking environ-mentally, Berlin’s Maison d’Envie brothel offers a  discount to customers who arrive by bicycle ….”Flat rate sex is an immoral development” declares interior minister Herbert Rech referring to the way Stuttgart brothels are countering the recent drop in business by offering sex with multiple prostitutes ….British farmers are expecting a million visitors this summer to admire mazes built into cornfields, “maize mazes” as they are known…. Idiots who text while driving shouldn’t need a law to convince them of how stupid they are…. It’s a crazy world when Exxon Mobil moans over last quarter’s profit of “only” $3.95 billion (compared to double that for the same period last year ….Once much admired for his common sense. NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg  increasingly reveals himself to be a typically self-regarding, sleazy pol….Any lawyer defending those hikers for trespassing across the Iran border should clearly plead insanity … The BBC’s Radio 4 is considering  opening its religious slot, Thought for Today, to atheists….And, expanding their days off for religious holidays, British police forces are allowing a day off for pagans to celebrate the summer solstice….There is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth”—Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

A PERSONAL NOTE: Now that VHS tapes have become virtually obsolete I would like to dispose of my collection of shows in that format from a score of different countries—China, Japan, Vietnam, Italy, Spain, Greece, England etc. Maybe they could be of interest  to somebody with a VCR and plenty of spare time. Ideally, they would provide a foreign travel library to some remote community in Antarctica or Alaska. At any rate there are at least 100 shows available free to anybody willing to collect them or pay shipping. Email me via this column (see below).

8/8/09

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