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

May 15, 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

 

 


May 15, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“We don’t really resolve conflicts. We establish deterrence…We saw in 1945 what two nuclear bombs are capable of but we keep making more and more powerful ones ….. But someone radical enough who thinks it is worth his while and perhaps the way to secure his place in heaven too, will ultimately use it, and the framework will fall apart. We are in a state of escalation.”
                   Avinadav Begin
                         author of The End of Conflict

Ham House
Ham House - A 17th-century painting of Ham House by Henry Danckerts.

SEX IN STATELY HOMES is the latest gimmick by the prolific publishers of “romance” novels, Mills and Boon, which issues eight new novels each month to subscribers and bookstores. (Each month the books left unsold in the stores are pulped). Under a deal with Britain’s National Trust (which preserves many of the country’s historic, but cash-short, homes) the publisher will start producing novels set in these celebrated mansions, fictionalized versions of real romances. The first (reports The Bookseller) is set in 17th century Ham House on the banks of the Thames in Surrey. Scandalous Innocent by Juliet Landon weaves the story of the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale, with that of the fictional Phoebe, “a beautiful scandal magnet who falls for the duke's personal secretary, Sir Leo. Trysts and quarrels occur inside the walls of the property, with its sculpted gardens playing host to stolen kisses”.
      Landon, who has written 20 novels for Mills & Boon, said that she followed her characters "right into the bedroom". "I never close the door on them," she said. "In a story of that kind you can't be coarse, so I write very carefully, and metaphor comes in, but I do give quite a lot of detail … There's plenty of sex.”
      John Stachiewicz, publisher at the National Trust, said the collaboration would celebrate the 400th anniversary of Ham House, as well as raising money for the restoration of silk hangings at the property (50p from each copy of the novel sold at National Trust properties will go to the institution).
        "Our visitors love a good story about the romance of the houses and the history of the families [and] these houses have seen a lot of action," he said.

THE KNOW-NOTHING CONGRESS is referenced by an editorial in Popular Mechanics which chides the legislators for their “lack of seriousness” related to the Toyota hearings. “They speechified and lectured” PM huffed, “but they showed little interest in actually understanding the problem”. Failing to talk to independent experts, they indulged in “wild speculation that electronic gremlins might be taking over cars’ drive-by-wire throttle systems...spooky, malevolent forces lurking inside our cars”.

Commenting on the pressure on Greece because of its out-of-control debt, the country’s minister for counter terrorism, Michal Chrysohoidis says ominously: “There’s a whole new generation, many from well-heeled families, who like to plant bombs and kill people”.

WHY YOUR PHONE may (or may not) be killing you is the subhead on a Harper’s story wittily headed “For Whom the Cell Tolls”. And, of course, that’s the trouble. Is holding the low-frequency electro-magnetic device close to your head harmful or not? It seems nobody can decide. “A cell phone gives off roughly the same radiation as a microwave oven” reports the mag. But are these low-frequency waves too weak to damage human tissue? Many of the official bodies have declared that electro-magnet frequencies (EMFs) are safe but health ministries in dozens of states and countries have urged caution or imposed restrictions of one sort of another. “The question now being asked” says the mag, “is not whether cell phones cause cancer but at what point is it sensible to enact precautionary laws just in case the worst comes to pass”.

BIG BROTHER IS ALWAYS WATCHING is pretty much the message that Steve Chapman seeks to convey in his Chicago Tribune column, pointing out that the signals sent out by mobile phones can be used by the police to track your every movement. The phone service providers receive thousands of tracking requests every month from law enforcement bodies, write Chapman, police now having acquired the ability to spy on citizens “on a scale that is both vast and intimate”.

ALMOST EVERYBODY has heard of that mystical “golden ratio” of 1 to 1.68 which artists, architects and nature have honored for centuries. Now a team of Austrian medical researchers have discovered that people with healthy hearts have a systolic (maximum) blood pressure count of about their diastolic (minimum) blood pressure count. A close match.

WOULD-BE GONZO WRITERS are being sought to adapt a 2004 story Hunter S. Thompson wrote for Vanity Fair which has been optioned for a feature film, reports the Hollywood Reporter. The original article, "Prisoner of Denver,"  co-written by Thompson and Mark Seal, focuses on Lisl Auman, a Colorado woman who was handed a life sentence, without parole, for a murder she clearly did not commit. Auman wrote to Thompson from prison, and he took up her cause, enlisting Seal to help. Auman was released in 2005, a month after Thompson committed suicide.

PROTESTING ARIZONA’S NEW LAW makes some people feel good. It isn’t much inconvenience and doesn’t cost anything. But why not have the courage of those (smug) convictions and invite some poor illegal immigrant to lunch or, better still, give them a home in your spare room?

THE TROUBLE WITH concrete is that it’s inclined to crack, so it is usually reinforced with steel, but then when it does crack, water gets in and the consequent rust causes collapse. Not a good thing, when the concrete is supporting a bridge. Thus, the invention by civil engineer Victor Li of “self-healing” concrete--for which a patent has just been granted--would seem to have a great future. Forbes explains that although the new concrete will cost three times as much, it should pay for itself by reducing the need for repairs. And the secret ingredient? Dry micro-fibers in the original mix absorb moisture from the air, when cracks open up, and expand. They “grow” new concrete to close the gap.

Allowing corporations to vote like people means that if the country’s top 100 companies spent just 1% of the $600trn profits they made in 2008, the six thousand million dollars invested would overwhelm the elections. That’s one of the facts listed in Walking Planet Chronicles, a newsletter out of New Paltz, NY,  which urges “a mass grassroots effort to restore democracy to the people”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: If the Russians can trounce the Somali pirates, why is the US so helpless?….Last week’s stock plunge proves that financially speaking, the ‘experts’ don’t know more than anybody else….. Greece may be the first country to drop the Euro and return to using to its original currency….‘AIG quits Goldman Sachs’ (When thieves fall out….)….A sad procession of goats precedes the cheese festival at Rocamadour in southern France next week where the local specialty—a goat cheese—is featured… Researching the relationship between atmosphere and attitude, clinicians at Brigham Young  University claim that being in a citron-scented room makes volunteers more generous and more willing to donate to charities…... Cuba may legalize prostitution next year…..Picasso’s painting of The Absinthe Drinker is expected to fetch at least $40m—the highest price for a painting sold in Europe—when offered at Christie’s next month. Its owner, Andrew Lloyd Webber, paid $25m when he bought it in 1995…

 
Bush Stamp
photo credit: Funny Times
Legislators are so terrified of the gun lobby they won’t even ban terrorists from buying weapons…. The large number of White House journalists who are writing books on the Obama administration says Glenn Greenwald in Salon are fiercely competing “to curry favor with top government officials” and thus present an obvious conflict of interest ……A drone with flexible, claw-like legs that can land perpendicularly on walls is being developed by a Stanford lab…. A company called the World Reserve Monetary Exchange took a full page ad in the NYTimes to offer four $2 bills for only $12 plus shipping…. Taiwan is offering a million bucks to anyone who can come up with a winning slogan that will increase the country’s birthrate, one of the lowest in the world…..If hundreds of lawyers at hundred of law firms are each paid hundreds of dollars per hour, why can’t some of them be drafted to fill the huge shortage of public defenders?….“Madness is a rare thing in individuals, but in groups, parties, peoples and ages it is the rule”—Friedrich Wilhem Nietzsche (1844-1900)

5/8/10

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