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

January 23, 2010
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 23, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“A lot of times you’re on flights for two or three hours. No one wants to sit there and look at each other, so a lot of the time you play cards, different games”—Knicks forward Al Harrington bemoaning the recent NBA ban on gambling during flights

 

"***Well, there is this thing called a book you might have heard about…

IF YOU OWE MORE on your mortgage than the house is worth, stop paying and walk away. Don’t feel guilty about it, or think you are morally wrong. That’s the message to 15 million American in-debt homeowners from Brent T. White, a University of Arizona law professor, who says that emotions turn people into ‘woodheads—individuals who choose not to act in their own self-interest” because of shame or embarrassment. Understandably it’s not a message much appreciated by CEOs of mortgage companies, one of whom, Lewis Ranieri, calls White’s argument “incredibly irresponsible and uninformed”.

WITH A FRONTPAGE screaming YOU IDIOTS!, Rolling Stone profiles the 17 polluters it claims are doing the most to derail action to curb global warning. Predictably, most of them are lobbyists, heads of dirty energy companies or the paid-off pols they have bribed,. But one surprise is the widely admired Warren Buffett who, it charges, is “literally banking on” the failure of climate legislation. Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, says RS, has just acquired 1.28 million shares of America’s biggest polluter, Exxon-Mobil, and paid $26bn for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the nation’s top coal hauler.

MAKING TWITTER PAY OFF is the theme of Inc.’s essay on how to actually make money on the 140-character trivia caper. All five suggestions they make are commercial, of course--annoying or helpful according to your point of view. Kogi Korean Barbecue in Los Angeles uses Twitter to tell potential customers where its trucks are; New York’s Rose Associates handles 2,000 luxury apartments which sometimes become vacant; Chicago’s Skinny Corp solicits designs for new T-shirts and then invites twitterers to vote for which ones should be made; the Philadelphia software company Atebits sells an iPhone app that helps users organize their tweets; and an online retailer in Texas, Woot, operates six cyber shops, each devoted to a single product such as a daily bargain for bottles of wine. The mag also lists “four ways to make a (Twitter) fool of yourself” including writing in caps, which they define as “the equivalent of yelling online”.

impossible war
  “How much longer are valuable lives to be sacrificed in the vain endeavor to impose on the Arab population an elaborate and expensive administration which they never asked for and do not want?” —--The Times (London), August 7, 1920

************************************************

RENEWED INTEREST IS sparking over those old-fashioned vinyl records whose fans claim the sound reproduction is streets ahead of digital recordings. Fans are digging out their old record players, primitive versions of the turntables still used by hip-hop DJs. “CD is most pristine but vinyl has the warm, full sound” declares EMI’s Jason Boyd, “The cracks and little imperfections that pop up seem to enhance the music. It’s a way of experiencing music rather than just consuming it”. In 2008, vinyl record sales jumped almost 90%, reports the AARP magazine, “while CD’s, falling prey to Internet downloads, continued to trudge down the road to extinction”.

TONGUE-TWISTING NAMES such as yttrium, dysprosium and neodymium are not fiction but “rare earth metals” used by German manufacturers to make lasers, solar panels, hybrid engines and wind turbines. The trouble is, explains Hamburg’s Der Spiegel, they’re almost entirely found in Mongolia and are being hoarded by China in anticipation of shortages a year or two from now. The German paper warns that the Chinese are also buying up stocks of zinc and cobalt in other parts of the world to such an extent that they’ll eventually be in short supply.

Ask somebody for any number. Double it, add 12 and divide by two. Subtract from that the original number. The answer is 6. It will always be 6.
—a mathematical trick explained by Wired.

ALTHOUGH THE ACLU has won previous battles to force displays of the Ten Commandments off public land, they’ll be powerless to act against a group called Project Moses which now plans to install each year, 1,000 engraved marble versions on private property such as churches and synagogues. Newsmax reports that the organization has already positioned several hundred of the 5ft4” tall stones across 42 states and two Canadian provinces.

“What we’re doing, on both sides of the political spectrum, right and left, is just yelling at each other. I look at the TV and if you disagree with somebody, they are a fucking fruitcake, moron, screwball, stuff like that. We can be much more tolerant of people if we want to but the extremists on both sides are the ones who ruin it for the rest of us…There’s so much transmission and very little reception
—Clint Eastwood interviewed by Michael Hainey in GQ.

RESPONDING TO THE complaints of Justin Morgan, a lazy cyclist on Bainbridge Island, WA., about the difficulty of pedaling up a hill outside town, his electrical engineer father, Craig, invented a phantom companion to sit behind him and do most of the work. Powered by an electric motor, the tandem robot transfers pedal power to each leg in turn. (story and picture from Popular Science)

100peso

 

THE WILCOCK WEB: Ultimately, whatever the obstacles, the only long-range solution to a world-wide drought is to tap the oceans ….The fact that bank robberies almost halved last year is being attributed to the increased use of “Wall-Mart style” greeters who welcome customers. “The last thing a bank robber wants to be is noticed” says Douglas Johnson who handles security for the American Bankers Association… …”People always have concern about the government doing too much” sighs Gallup Poll editor Frank Newport, “even when it’s regulating financial institutions they don’t like”…. Republicans probably chose David Steele to be chairman of the Republican National Committee because he’s black, not because of his intelligence. He’s still black, and now they’re stuck with the fact that he’s not smart….Google’s stock values may go down if it pulls out of China but its integrity rating will go way up…. Famous German auto company Bugatti, whose cars fetch as much as $2.9 million, has produced an electric kettle ($300)…… The trouble with life is there's no background music …The Daily Telegraph reports that although there are 60,000 council-controlled street cameras in Britain, only one crime per year is solved for every 1,000 cameras….AT&T’s TV current commercial demonstrates—that with answers now available so quickly— the quiz show “phone-a-friend” option is now obsolete….Samuel Pepys began writing his diary 350 years ago this month…. Sensational performer that she is, Lady Gaga sure is a rotten singer….Why do Americans call it football when the ball almost never touches their feet?….Washington attorney Mark Greenbaum says there is a “rapid flow of attorneys into a marketplace that cannot sustain them” and this will force prices down. Great! Keep ‘em coming…. Conan is childishly petulant for a multi-millionaire who’ll come out ahead no matter what happens. What egos these crybabies have….An Australian research team claims that five million tons of chicken feathers, abandoned every year by the poultry industry, might be transformed into synthetic fiber to replace or supplement nylon and polyester…Al Gore, it seems, is a not-very-good poet….Doubtless it’s being able to watch that exciting nightly battle footage—the American soap opera serial writ large—that makes gungho warriors so anxious to keep the war going… A couple of well-directed missiles sent to the Somali coast would work wonders at reducing the piracy….. “The economy is so bad” says Phil Proctor “that if the bank returns your check marked ‘insufficient funds’ you ask if they meant you or them”….What is robbing a bank compared with founding a bank? –Bertholt Brecht (1898-1956)

1/16/10

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