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

October 2, 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

 

 

October 2, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

TRADER JOE’S IS SO secretive about its operations that they declined to cooperate when Fortune planned a cover story. “No ordinary grocery chain,  raved the magazine, nevertheless, “It’s an offbeat, fun discovery zone that elevates shopping from a chore to a cultural experience”.
     Fortune spent a couple of months asking about the company from everybody it could reach (most requested anonymity) and suggested that TJ’s success derived from

++Stocking a few of the most sophisticated brands available for a product in lieu of too many choices. “Customers may think they want variety but in reality too many options can lead to shopping paralysis says author Barry Schwartz (The Paradox of Choice ). “People won’t want to feel they’ve made a mistake”;

++ Instituting its own brand, now 80% of the stock, (“see Private Label Chic”) with most of the products made anonymously by famous names.“ TJ’s wants neither shoppers nor its competitors to know who’s making its products”. Nor do suppliers want customers to know they’re making a lower-priced version.

   After saturating California and four Western states, TJ  expanded to  its 344 stores and is now  in 25 states. It strives tirelessly to retain a “small town” air and a hip perception of its customers took it early to eastern college towns. New York’s first crowd-pleasing  branch in currently trendy Union Square store came relatively recently. (For years New Yorkers had resented Californians’ boasts about Trader Joe’s). Fortune says that it brings good jobs and a branch in your community “is like an affirmative that you and your neighbors are smart “. 
   Owned by the billionaire German supermarket family, the Albrechts (“famous for not talking to the press”) leave their U.S. chain in the care of CEO Dan Bane, 62, a former USC grad who predictably declined Fortune’s request for an interview.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth II

BUCKINGHAM PALACE FOOD BILLS topped half a million dollars last year and after even Queen Elizabeth recently pleaded poverty, a British supermarket chain sent her a polite letter suggesting she change suppliers. “Your most loyal subjects at Asda,.,.,wanted to let you know that the royal household could save thousands if they made the switch”. The letter, quoted in Stores magazine, went on to explain that “Asda’s shopping bill will be roughly 27% cheaper than at Waitrose, so you could immediately cut your bills to  £365k per year, saving you   £135 per year –without compromising quality”. The magazine didn’t reveal whether the Royal household had replied to the letter which also included a comparative price list whic emphasized  the ‘Asda Price Guarantee’.


End the Impossible War

THE HONG KONG PUBLISHER who produced an animated re-enactment of what he guessed (incorrectly) happened on the day the Tiger Woods’ wife supposedly swung at him with a golf club,  then fabricated videos about Michael Jackson, Barack Obama and Steve Jobs. His latest  Next Media segment,  on YouTube, speculates about Sarah Palin’s 2012 presidential bid.
    Intent on animating the “news of the day” tabloid tycoon Jimmy Lai, 62, made his fortune from buying a bankrupt garment factory in which he’d once worked as an underage laborer. Currently he needles the Chinese government with a scathing magazine plus a daily paper and a provocative television station whose 700 staffers include what are the world’s fastest animators.  Eventually the plan is for more than two-thirds of the newscasts to be imaginative animations.
     “Next Media is well on the way to developing a visual vocabulary combining the stylistic conceits of comic books, political cartoons, videogames and nightly news segments” observes Wired.

Q: Is it likely that someone might time-travel someday? What conditions would need to exist?”
Stephen Hawking: “I was one of the first to write about the conditions under which this would be possible. I showed that it would require matter with negative energy density which might not be available.”

MORE THAN 200,000 pieces of space junk ranging from rockets to old screwdrivers are whizzing around in earth’s obit says Popular Science. Even a piece less than half an inch could kill an astronaut. The Economist estimates that at orbital velocity a fragment as small as a centimeter could knock out a satellite.  Offering solutions to this potential catastrophe, PS suggests that a radar detection system should be set up and then either lasers, solar sails, nets, frozen mist or “sticky balls” deployed to nudge the fragments out of orbit and into the atmosphere where they would harmlessly burn up.

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt

FOR DECADES the athletic community dreamed that one day someday would achieve the four-minute mile and in 1954, Roger Bannister finally did it. (Since then runners have brought the record down 17 seconds). Today, the yearning is for somebody to make the 100-meter dash in  9-seconds which experts think is within reach. Currently the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, a 24 year old Jamaican who’s an Olympic gold medal winner, holds the record at 9.58 seconds.

YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T NOTICE that the lemon-lime sodas Sprite and Sierra Mist (owned respectively by Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola) trimmed their advertising by 80% a few years ago, deciding to concentrate on cola drinks on which they upped their budget ten or twenty times. Unsurprisingly, sales dropped precipitously and both companies have now decided to jump back into the  battle for lemon-lime drinkers, as has the company that owns 7-Up (Dr Pepper Snapple Group). “The return to focus on core (carbonated soft drink) brands in North America is both smart and overdue” Beverage Digest publisher John Sicher told Advertising Age.

“By escalating the Afghanistan war, Obama is accomplishing one thing: he decisively ends the debate regarding accountability for Iraq. There will be none…… Culprits will escape (some to enrich themselves by writing self-exculpatory memoirs).
   Thus does a Democratic administration obscure the misjudgments and missteps (in the eyes of some, the crimes and misdemeanors) of its Republican predecessor”.
     --Boston U professor Andrew J. Bacevich in the Spectator

IF THERE’S A SINGLE issue  that could win California for Meg Whitman, it’s her pledge to dock legislators per diems & expenses for every day beyond the budget deadline. As governor, would she have the authority to do it? Whatever. An inevitable overdue battle, nevertheless.

THE WILCOCK WEB: Now we’re supplying Yemen with billions in military equipment, training and “advisors”. Isn’t that how the Vietnam war began?…Raising money for the Tea Party is making a lot of people rich….Britain is anticipating the European Commission’s permission to import and sell camel’s milk, reputed to be high in vitamin C, lower in cholesterol and more digestible than cow’s milk…. Nominated for an Academy Award (Brooklyn Bridge ) as far back as 1981 and honored since for documentaries about the Civil War and National Parks, Ken Burns , 57, has completed his six-part series on the years of Prohibition which will be screened next year followed by The Dust Bowl in 2012 …. “The art of diplomacy” explained an anonymous Indian diplomat, “is letting the  other fellow have your way”…. Jonah Goldberg suggested in the National Review that a Muslim-themed gay bar be opened across from he 9/11 mosque. “It would turn things back on the supposed Islamic champions of tolerance …something they’re great at demanding but not so great at demonstrating”….Surely Henry Alford’s Crib Sheet in the NYTs Style section must be the most pretentious column in all of journalism….Anticipating more Chinese visitors, Marriott  International announced it would install more Mandarin-speaking desk clerks in its U.S. hotels…. Vowing in 1974 to visit  the world’s 195 countries, John Rheinbeger, 61, of Stillwater, Minn., has only three left: Cuba, Libya and Somalia….Freezing tanks of rooftop water at night and using it to cool the building--via an evaporator coil as it melts in daytime—allows the air conditioners to be turned off for a few hours…. How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?….Marihuana energizes the mind…. Concerning sex, Lady Gaga told Vanity Fair: “I’m afraid of depleting my energy. I have this weird thing that if I sleep with someone they’re going to take my creativity from me through my vagina”….. “I’m, the female equivalent of a counterfeit $20 bill” says Cher. “Half of what you see is a pretty good reproduction, the rest is fraud” …. Amazon.com topped the list of favorite consumer websites compiled by Stores magazine…..Retailers estimate that more than five per cent of returns were fraudulent last year accounting for $9.6billion in losses….The dairy departments of supermarkets are due for promotion and expansion after a company that studies retail sales pointed out that they account for 25 per cent of store sales while occupying only 5% of space…. A team from Leeds University have discovered a previously-unknown secret door in Cairo’s Great Pyramid of Khufu and is designing a robot to find out what’s behind it….Sir Richard Branson paid $700,000 for a new type of open-topped submarine  in which riders wear oxygen masks and shields deflect the water over their heads. It's small enough to carry on his yacht....“I have found the best way to give advice to your children” said Harry Truman, “is to find out what they want then advise them to do it”...When University of Utah researchers tested 200 volunteers as they texted while driving on a simulator, only half a dozen of them were able to do both successfully….In a 12-page section devoted to television, the September Wired shows how to quit cable or satellite and breaks down the costs of the alternatives….Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause--Voltaire (1694-1778)



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