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

April 10, 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

 

 


April 10, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“Since when did sin have a statute of limitations? The pope is in too deep. He has proved himself anything but infallible and now he claims he was uninformed…” Maureen Dowd in an NYT column suggesting that Pope Benedict be replaced with a nun (“a Nope’)

THE VIRTUAL DOCTOR who replaces your visit to his office by coming direct to you via webcam, is no longer a rarity according to Manhattan Research, which reports that 40 per cent of doctors are now communicating online. “To not have to schlep out in the snow to see the doctor, that’s the dream isn’t it”? asks Thomas Weida, whose family practice is in Hershey, PA. And Web visits can not only be arranged almost immediately, compared with the average 20-day wait for an office appointment in big cities, but they usually cost half as much. Some in the medical profession still have doubts however, fearful of incorrect or harmful diagnoses. “There are a lot of important nuances that are captured when a doctor is talking to a patient he knows” warns Ronald Dixon of Massachusetts General Hospital.

NEURO-MARKETING is the new buzzword in the advertising community, a reference to the way that the brain’s reactions to almost anything can be studied by mounting an electrode cap on the head of a researcher. How does the subject  react to seeing a corporate logo….the commercials for a new product…a campaign speech? Theoretically the product can be modified according to the observed results. The science is in its primitive stage, but companies such as Chevron and Sam’s Club are said to have been willing to fork out up to $40,000 to give it a try.

DESPITE ALL HER GOOD WORKS, Oprah Winfrey is described as a “bright but gullible billionaire” by Martin Gardner who chides her for supporting Suzanne Somers' “wild medical opinions”, Jenny McCathy’s anti-vaccination campaign and, most of all, for promoting “the monumental idiocy” of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret.  In the Skeptical Inquirer, Gardner describes Oprah as “an attractive, intelligent woman with a heart of gold, but who has only a pale understanding of modern science”.

OVERHEAD DRONES ARE already monitoring British cities from above and the government promises that before the 2012 London Olympics the whole country will be covered. Under the spy cameras of the CCTV system, Britain already has 4.2 million cameras keeping an eye on everybody, more than any other country. There’s even a program, interneteyes.co.uk in which you can register to be randomly allocated some sites on which you can eyes-drop to stop shoplifting.

AFTER BUILDING UP to a $29bn-a-year business, Indian casinos have been hit by hard times says Newsmax which suggests that poor management and over-expansion have contributed to a slump which will probably get worse. In Washington state, revenues at tribal casinos dropped 30% last year and, what was once the world’s biggest casino, Foxwood in Connecticut, sank from $700m in annual profits to defaulting on its debts. “I don’t think any of them were prepared for a downturn of this magnitude” observes David Schwartz who directs the UC Nevada’s Center for Gaming Research at Las Vegas.

SINCE WE HEARD that the Fed was just simply printing money whenever they needed it (backed by nothing, since we left the Gold Standard) why is there even a deficit? Who, if anyone, decides when we’ve printed enough for our needs?

ONE OF THE SCIONS of the Ziff magazine empire has just given $30m to the Metropolitan Opera of which she’s a board member. And that’s the trouble with these super rich culture vultures. They’re so used to hob-nobbing with their fellow billionaires that the poor, the sick, the homeless (none of whom will ever see the inside of the Met in their lifetimes) don’t even exist. Shifting millions around among themselves doesn’t change anything. Even “giving’ $30m is still greed and vanity if it doesn’t actually help real people.

The current where-did-the-dinosaurs go? explanation is based on that two-mile wide asteroid that crashed into Mexico so long ago. It reportedly (how do they know?) hit with a force “a billion times greater than Hiroshima,” leaving a 200-mile crater. The world was young (only 160m years BC) and was ripped apart by the consequent tsunamis, earthquakes, infernos, the sun blocked out…a global winter.

A LAMENT FOR the sad decline (in circulation and influence) of Ebony magazine occupies four pages of the Columbia Journalism Review which reveals that, what was once “one of the strongest household brands in Black America”, has dropped 40% of its circulation since it peaked at 1.8m. in the 1990s. Its founder, John H. Johnson, borrowed $500 to start his Negro Digest in 1942, transforming it into Ebony after WW2. But sadly today, says CJR, it’s “like a once-beautiful, stylish elderly relative, desperately searching for the fountain of youth”. At last report there were rumors that NBA legend Magic Johnson was a potential buyer for the company.

AFTER A 10-YEAR WAIT, maybe the time is ripe for the publication of our book on marihuana which is as comprehensive a compendium as you’ll ever find. My co-author, Bob Perlongo, has been filing clippings about the subject since the ‘60s and the book has enjoyed several titles of which my favorite is The Weed that Changed the World. Sections on the blessed herb’s political, sociological,  religious, psychological, medical and historical background are punctuated with scores of pictures, cartoons, graphics plus some great smuggling tales. Naturally we offer the standard 15% (or, of course, a lifetime supply of good smoke) to anybody who can secure us a publishing contract.

THE WILCOCK WEB: As a current book reminds us, when FDR  failed to pack the Supreme Court he finally got rid of some of the old duffers by offering them full pay forever in their retirement. Maybe Obama could do the same thing today.  Doubling their pension might do it. Of course we’d still be stuck with the retrogressive young Roberts….Eleven hundred readers asked by Consumer Reports to name the things that annoyed them most, listed as their top four (i) hidden fees; (ii) not getting a human on the phone; (iii) tailgating and (iv) cell-phone use by drivers… Despite the renowned gentleness of the Burmese people, it surely can’t be long now before some frustrated suicide bomber knocks off a general or two…. Brazilian-born Morena Baccarin, 30, who plays the chilling Anna in V, went to school in Greenwich Village…. The latest fire-fighting equipment includes sensors attached to firefighters which transmit their location, condition and room temperature to the commander’s laptop  outside the blazing building…Deft definition: Osteopornosis-- a degenerate disease….. The flight plan for Apollo 11, the initial trip to the moon (July 16, 1959) is expected to fetch $60,000 when it goes on sale at Bonham’s in London next week (Apr 13)….If that crook Hamid Karzai thinks that the U.S. is Afghanistan’s enemy, what are we doing there?….Items on sale from a $150,000 jeweled Montblanc fountain pen to a $130,000,000 mansion are posted in the current issue of Billionaire magazine…..

mansion

Long after the rest of the world, Britain will begin construction of a high-speed rail network in 2017…. The 1960s cult TV show, The Prisoner, redone as a recent movie and to be revived as a television series this month, will be republished as a Penguin paperback….John Malkovich got back all the money he invested with Bernie Madoff but says the crook made a profit so he wants more….By studying a survey of the “sweat response”  from very young children who were exposed to scary sounds, and then following up their records decades later, U of Pennsylvania researchers surmised that the children who were the most fearless were the ones most likely to become criminals (just another theory, take it or leave it)…..”If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it”—Socrates 469-399BC)

4/3/10

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