Observations on the News

I haven’t done “Observations on the News” in a while, so here goes…

  • The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Leasure World has chosen its new name: Laguna Woods Village. For those unfamiliar with the story, the name change occured because the owners of the Leasure World trademark objected to the Orange County facility using the term in advertising without paying. Two notes from the article worthy of comment: (1) some residents were hoping for “Laguna Woods Estates”, because they felt “Village” made them sound like a trailer park. (2) Other residents, however, were happy with the name change, for it got rid of the moniker “Seizure World”. Couldn’t they compromise on Seizure World Estates?
  • The Los Angeles Times is also reporting that Barbie is really getting beaten up. No, this isn’t kinky. The iconic Barbie doll–she of the non-realistic figure–has declining sales against MGA’s Bratz line of dolls. This has resulted in Mattel combining the management of Barbie into the Fisher-Price line. I do note that my daughter has no interest in Barbie; she lost it about two years ago. Thus, it may be appropriate they are skewing Barbie younger. For those into different sort of dolls (again, not kinky), we discovered over at the Yaldah website a set of dolls (Gali Girls) designed with modesty in mind for traditional Jewish girls. Yaldah itself is interesting: it is a magazine developed by Jewish teens for Jewish girls.
  • The Los Angeles Times is lastly reporting that Paypal is buying the payment processing unit of Verisign. EBay (owner of PayPal) has also agreed to deploy VeriSign technology to increase the security of transactions on the auction site. What is most interesting is the tidbit:

    “As part of its deployment of VeriSign technology, EBay said it would buy as many as 1 million “authentication tokens” to give to EBay and PayPal customers next year. Each of the devices displays a six-digit code that a user must type, along with a password, to gain access to a network. The code changes every minute as determined by an algorithm unique to each token. PayPal spokeswoman Amanda Pires said the company had not determined whether it would charge for the tokens, which could help deter identity theft.”

    The translation of this is that they will be giving out secure ID tokens. This will go a long way, I feel, towards stopping Paypal and Ebay phishing.

  • A while back, folks were concerned when Google introduced blog searching. Well, Yahoo has joined the frey. The Daily Breeze is reporting that Yahoo has added blogs to its news searching capability. Why is this significant? First, it treats bloggers equal to traditional news sources. Secondly, it may be of concern to those worried about blog privacy. Going to their search page, I don’t get any hits on cahwyguy, but I don’t know what blogs they consider blogs.
  • Just a week ago, the Good Guys chain abruptly closed all their retail stores. I discovered this when I tried to hit the Northridge Store. The Ventura County Star has a story on the impact of these closings. Of more interest, however, is the note that the loss in Ventura is being offset by the opening of a new Frys in Oxnard. Alas, the theme hasn’t yet been revealed. Still, this now adds Oxnard to the folks that have to deal with opened and resealed packages, quitely refurbished products, surly return clerks, and a large selection.
  • The SJ Mercury News is reporting that Google has caved. In particular, whereas previous versions of Google Maps showed Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China”, the latest version simply refers to it as “Taiwan”.
  • Lastly, the Orange County Register is conducting a contest to find a song to represent Southern California. They want a song that “creates an image in your mind of Southern California”. What do you bet they get lots of Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, together with “Hotel California”. Me? I still will support my favorite: I Love LA! by Randy Newman:

    Hate New York City
    It’s cold and it’s damp
    And all the people dressed like monkeys
    Let’s leave Chicago to the Eskimos
    That town’s a little too rugged
    For you and me, you bad girl

    Rollin’ down the Imperial Highway
    With a big nasty redhead at my side
    Santa Ana winds blowin’ hot from the north
    And we was born to ride

    Roll down the window, put down the top
    Crank up the Beach Boys, baby
    Don’t let the music stop
    We’re gonna ride it till we just can’t ride it no more

    From the South Bay to the Valley
    From the West Side to the East Side
    Everybody’s very happy
    ‘Cause the sun is shining all the time
    Looks like another perfect day

    I love L.A. (We love it)
    I love L.A. (We love it)

        Look at that mountain
    Look at those trees
    Look at that bum over there, man
    He’s down on his knees
    Look at these women
    There ain’t nothin’ like em nowhere

    Century Boulevard (We love it)
    Victory Boulevard (We love it)
    Santa Monica Boulevard (We love it)
    Sixth Street (We love it, we love it)
    We love L.A.

    I love L.A. (We love it)
    I love L.A. (We love it)
    I love L.A. (We love it)

    According to the Register, send your entries to Life@ocregister.com, subject line Calisongs, or write to Calisongs, care of Life, etc., P.O. Box 11626, Santa Ana, CA 92711. Deadline for entries is Friday, Oct. 21.