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

August 14, 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

 

 


August 14, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“The cold war is over and we’re still acting as if America has to protect everybody in the world. The average American has no sympathy for keeping 15,000 marines in Okinawa 65 years after the war ended”
-- Congressman Barney Frank.

SELF-IMPORTANT CYBABIES’ is how columnist Eric Alterman refers to most of the correspondents who cover the White House, a group he says “grow increasingly irrelevant with the creation of every new news source, every individual blog post”. Writing in the Nation, he claims that reporters climb over each other “like gerbils in a crowded cage” not to examine the substance of anything —and especially not to further the interests of working people or the unemployed—but to try and catch someone, preferably the president, in an ‘off-message’ remark, a private moment or an emotional outburst. This last goal has lately become a kind of obsession, he charges, of the ”childish insularity and ego-driven myopia” of this press corps, “so offended are they by Obama’s preference for calm, reasonable arguments”.

THOSE INDIAN NICKNAMES for sports teams received more support from the media than they deserved, according to Extra,  which cited North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux as an example. Of the 72% of sources noted as “pro-nickname”, less than one-third were identified as American Indians according to the Media Watch Group’s monthly newsletter. The state’s board of Higher Education has banned the use of the name and logo starting with the current season, backed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights which describe such names as “false portrayals (which) block genuine understanding of contemporary Native people as fellow-Americans”.

“It is my experience that age is meaningless. I’m no different now than I was—I’m just more interesting….you reach a certain status that has a kind of iconic quality. I get several letters a week from girls I don’t know, in their twenties and thirties, who would like to be my girlfriend—much more so now than when I was  20 or 30 years old.
        —Hugh Hefner talking to Los Angeles magazine.

CHRISTO AND JEANNE-CLAUDE, internationally-renowned public artists for 40 yearshave spent a decade seeking permissions for their projected Over the River in which eight sections of the Colorado River  near Salida will be temporarily shaded with fabric panels, Now J-C, who handled most of the bureaucratic wrangling, is gone and Christo is left to cope with a 6”-thick, 2,000-page report from the Bureau of Land Management which is soliciting comments until August 30 after which they will decide whether or not to issue a permit for the project. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to attend  public hearings (which began last week) but you’ll be doing Christo a favor if you inform the Bureau of your support and the easiest way to do this is via the acclaimed artist’s website at www.overtheriverinfo.com. where the project is explained more fully. By snail mail, write to the Bureau at BLM Royal George Field Office, OTR Comments, 3028 E. Main Street, Canon City, CO. 81212.

Over The River Project
the Ojai Orange #10, June 2002

THE MYSTERY OF WHY so many on-line shoppers abandon that cute, little shopping cart before completing their purchase, is revealed by Stores which explains that almost half of the consumers polled do so when they realize how much the shipping costs will be. Recovering the abandoned carts is the retailer’s next problem, the mag says, and this should be combined with “remarketing” which, in effect, means reminding the potential customer of the relevance of your brand.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH is how we too-often assess ourselves when we’re always comparing ourselves to other people says Psychology Today. It terms it “the Contender Syndrome” and suggests that it stems from the proliferation of social networking and the “public blaring of the fabulousness of other people’s lives”. The Contender Syndrome is subtly different from envy, the mag explains, in that it’s more a sense of not living up to yourself than aiming to be Albert Einstein (or the equivalent). Much healthier, it suggests, is to be  “self-referential” believing that one’s competitor should be not somebody else but oneself. “Self-referential people” says psychologist Shane Lopez, “see themselves as the marker. They care about their own performance not how they measure up compared to that guy over there”.


End the Impossible War

WHAT INVENTORS NEED is lots of advice, explains Popular Mechanics, whose July issue devoted five pages to the subject. Calling individual inventors (such as Edison, Bell and Carrier) “the engine of American industry” the mag warns that only six per cent of the hundreds of thousands of patents granted go to individuals; that the time needed is double what you expect; the expense four times what you estimated and that the average patent approval takes three years to come through. And tireless dedication is needed. “If you can’t afford intellectually and emotionally to fail” says Dean (Mr. Segway) Kamen, “if your ego would be wiped out, then don’t do it”. Maybe most important of all is to keep a meticulous log (endorsed frequently by a notary) because “the burden of proof falls to patent applicants to demonstrate that they were the first to conceive of an invention. If the idea’s good, somebody’s probably going to steal it. If no one’s trying to steal it, the idea’s probably no good”.

MAJOR LEAGUE EATING, the company that has organized more than 80 gluttonous contests in the past year, is the main player in “the grotesque world of competitive eating” writes William Saletan in Slate. What began as a minor event at county fairs has become “a full scale industry complete with stars, managers, contracts, corporate sponsors and professional leagues” with feats that are more and more outlandish. Contestants have eaten one-eighth of their body weight in eight minutes and the  winner of the recent Coney Island event ate 68 hot dogs in ten minutes. Saletan predicts that it is this example of the “depravity” of modern America  that will be seized upon by future historians.

EVERYBODY’S MOTHER, in an earlier generation, used to admonish their finicky kids with ‘Eat up; think of all those starving Chinese’. How things have changed. Now it’s estimated that one in four Chinese is obese and sales of slimming products in the country reached $750m last year. “It can be hard to ask a generation that remembers mass starvation to consider fat as the enemy” muses David Kirchoff, ceo of Weight Watchers which just opened four branches in Shanghai.

PROMOTING GERMAN AS “the language of ideas” is the self-appointed task of the country’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, who has joined with transport minister Peter Ramsauer to stop his countrymen using so many anglicisms. Such phrases as ‘powered by emotion’ and ‘driven by instinct’ are mentioned, offered among 7,200 examples listed in a German dictionary, Verein, where they are said to crowd out German words. Ramauer claims he know of ”no country in the world where people treat their own language so disrespectfully”.

NYTimes
Wotta surprise! Billionaires trying to evade taxes?

THE WILCOCK WEB: If they had any concept of sensitivity, Muslims would choose some other site for that Manhattan mosque. Mayor Bloomberg, smugly proud of a ‘tolerance’ that looks more like appeasement, says the terrorists would win if the mosque wasn’t allowed. Doesn’t he have it the wrong way round? ….Banned in France, the face veil (niquåb), is described as representing a “sexist, inegalitarian and violent” ideology by La Figaro which asks why its self-righteous defenders are so “disturbingly blind” to Islam’s ”creeping apartheid”…. A  film that parodies Osama Bin Laden—a big hit in India—has been banned in Pakistan as “offensive to Muslims”…. And, in a fit of political correctness, a mall in the northern England town of Rochdale added a couple of hole-in-the-ground toilets to accommodate their Middle Eastern customers…..Credit card transactions that require signatures are “a waste of time” says Jamie Henry of Walmart which is refining its smart card so that it doesn’t need them…Having published The Strategic Victory last week, Fidel Castro is now working on the second volume of his memoirs...”Many people feel that paying the leader of a charity a six-figure salary is outrageous” says Ken Berger whose Charity Navigation researches non-profit groups ….What’s the point of voting for anything if the people who lose can have the courts overturn the vote?….. Anybody who’s been in political office for 34 years should be investigated by the Ethics Committee whether she’s accused of anything or not….How can the IRS possibly justify giving that California real estate billionaire a $1.4million rebate? Chief Justice John G. Roberts promised during his confirmation hearings not to make new judicial law. Predictably, he’s proven to be a liar….. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen quipped Mort Sahl….. As many banks don’t pay interest today,  why not switch your funds to one that does?….Why are gays so intent on challenging the ban on them giving blood when it’s their blood that is most likely to be tainted?…..You might think that with 13,000 locations in more than 50 countries, Starbucks would be easily the biggest coffee retailer. Not so. Apparently Folgers (which also makes the coffee served in Dunkin Donuts) is America’s biggest packaged coffee retailer…. Those ignoramuses who are still bemoaning the release of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing seem unaware that he was framed on planted evidence by the CIA and paid witnesses…. An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.--Voltaire (1694-1778)

8/7/10

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