the column of lasting insignificance...
—for August 24, 2016 by John Wilcock

We're blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We're not designed to know how little we know.
—Daniel Kahneman

Cheshire Cat: If I were looking for a white rabbit, I'd ask the Mad Hatter.
Alice: The Mad Hatter? Oh, no no no...
Cheshire Cat: Or, you could ask the March Hare, in that direction.
Alice: Oh, thank you. I think I'll see him...
Cheshire Cat: Of course, he's mad, too.
Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that. Most everyone's mad here.
[laughs maniacally; starts to disappear]
Cheshire Cat: You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself.
—From Alice in Wonderland


In Visual Terms...

It seems that my particular form of perceptual challenge is called homonymous hemianopia.

Hemianopia means blindness in one half of the visual field. The most common form of this is homonymous hemianopia, which means that the vision loss is on the same side of each eye. Research shows that eight to ten percent of stroke survivors have homonymous hemianopia.

It's as if when i attempt to read, I'm looking through a partially closed door into a room, or in my case, the page beyond. I fully well realize the completely-furnished page exists out there, and yet I can only glimpse what's behind the door by craning around the opening to get a peek. The term 'hassle' doesn't do justice to qualify the exertion required to read across a single line of text.

This past week I was evaluated by an opthalmologist for this condition. Confirmation of any diagnosis is now making its way through the healthcare system, and I will one day hope to have a more definitive understanding of this perceptual malady, as well as access to any and all available remedies. Meanwhile, my neck muscles are getting a real workout.
JW

 

From the Archives: August 21, 2010

IT’S SAFE TO GUESS that the general public never hears about what really goes on in our hallowed halls of congress—the wasted time, the hypocrisies, the idiocies, the basic indifference to and contempt for the ordinary people that these inflated, god-like humans display. Some hint of it is displayed in George Packer’s piece, The Empty Chamber, in last week’s New Yorker:

“In general, when senators give speeches on the floor, their colleagues aren’t around and the two or three who might be present aren’t listening. They’re joking with aides, or e-mailing Twitter ideas to their press secretaries or getting their first look at a speech they’re about to give…
“Between speeches, there are quorum calls, time-killers in which a Senate clerk calls the roll at the rate of one name every few minutes…
“The press gallery, above the dais, is typically deserted, as journalists prefer to hunker down in the press lounge, surfing the Web…

We don’t hear about what really goes on because there aren’t any reporters gutsy enough, or foolhardy enough, to tell us. There was one once in England, Bernard Levin , who was the first writer in modern times to pull back the curtain and show us what fools and knaves most politicians are. He was Arianna’s early mentor and companion, and so you might think that her Huffington Post could be a suitable place for such a similar ongoing exposé.

EATING JELLYFISH is what we’ll all be doing in a few years time if the depredation of the world’s fish population continues unchecked. This gloomy prediction comes from the Smithsonian which points out that in many places there are now more jellyfish (“brainless, bloodless and mostly aimless”) than actual fish. Many of the 1,000+ types of medusa are already eaten (dried and seasoned with soy sauce) in China and Japan and one research paper has termed it “the ultimate modern diet food”. Jellyfish have been proliferating so fast they have wiped out salmon farms, helped to exterminate the beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, shut down nuclear plants by clogging the cooling equipment and sting or kill thousands of swimmers every year. In the Black Sea there are estimated to be 900 million tons of them (not a good place to swim). Their expansion is attributed partly to the fact that their natural predators have been almost fished to extinction causing jellyfish, says the mag, “to assume dominance in one marine ecosystem after another”.

Dear reader,

Today's column is on of the almost 500 columns I ran on the Ojai Orange site between 2006 and 2014. These will, of course, be free as is everything on my sites, and has been for the past decade or so. But, I do request that if you find these columns interesting, that you consider sending a donation, which you could possibly write off as a gift for my birthday on August 4, when I will be 90.

Chapters from my autobiography, Manhattan Memories will continue to run on ojaiorange.com.
—JW

...

John Wilcock
The Gables
701 N. Montgomery St.
Ojai, CA 93023

TODAY’S NOVELISTS ARE avoiding writing about sex because they’re scared of winning a famous British literary prize, the Bad Sex Award, suggests Andrew Motion, one of the judges for the annual Man Booker Prize. “If there is one thing worse than a lousy lover, it is undoubtedly a lousy describer of the act of love,” says an editorial in the Observer. “Maybe “embarrassment now achieves what censorship used to”

NOT BEFORE TIME, the concept of what’s known as “restorative justice”—rehabilitation rather than jail—is beginning to take hold here and there. “Some states and localities are…putting offenders to work to repair the damage they caused the community rather than simply warehousing them in prisons” writes Sasha Abramsky in the Nation. Notoriously prison-tough Texas has been investing in such things as residential drug treatment centers, mental health facilities, halfway houses; Kansas and Michigan have followed suit. “All told ten states have embraced ‘justice reinvestment’ strategies” says the mag, “reducing prison spending, investing a portion of the savings in a more effective anticrime infrastructure…The era of ‘lock ’em up and throw away the key’ seems slowly to be drawing to a close”.

THE FAMOUS BURMA SHAVE signs which lined stretches of Route 66 finally came to an end in the mid-1960s (see sample to the right) but now some entrepreneur has recreated a few on them on portions of the highway between Seligman and Kingman, AZ.

A FAMILIAR PROBLEM surfaces across the world as China tries to cope with illegal immigrants pouring across its border with Vietnam. Also among the undocumented are Cambodian and Burmese workers in search of a $5-a-day jobs in sugarcane fields, garment workshops and construction sites. Although the wages are meager they are sometimes triple what the immigrants can make back home and, fortuitously for employers, coincide with a time when Chinese factory workers are beginning to strike for higher pay. And Newsmax reports that the same nations that protest when the U.S. tries to enforce its immigration laws, have themselves some of the world’s harshest immigration policies. It names China, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

“Being on the left is really a no-brainer” (because) “you don’t have to do anything to be on the left…you just have to keep your mouth shut and go along with the crowd”
—Jon Voigt, father of Angelina Jolie

WHAT MAY BE the world’s most dangerous city, Ciudad Juarez, logged 1,300 homicides in the first six months of this year, but its neighbor across the border, El Paso, had only one. Why the difference? asks Duncan Currie in National Review, suggesting that “community policing” might be the answer, coupled with the fact that smugglers coming through “jump on the interstate highway and head for more lucrative drug markets”. But the picture is not quite as rosy as it might appear. What El Paso lacks in murders, it makes up for in kidnappings of which some estimate there are “dozens”, although this is downplayed by the FBI.

Tuli

YOUR DOG A STAR is the business model of a Santa Monica company, A Dog’s Life, which holds monthly contests inviting its customers to submit photos of their pets and vote on others on the company’s website. Winning pooches end up adorning the
packets of such organic treats as jerky or lamb stew, and the owners say the extra $30,000 in sales from changing the packets every month is well worth the 20% extra printing costs.

THE WILCOCK WEB: So now that we’re (almost ready for) leaving Iraq, expect the age-old civil war to resume, something that was scheduled to happen several years ago (before the thousands of people we lost and killed in the meantime)…. Following its boring television blitz, hardly a day goes by when the JPMorganChase bank doesn’t run extravagant full-page ads in both Times….. Protestors have offered a $50,000 reward to anybody who succeeds in arresting former British prime minister Tony Blair when he attends a signing of his autobiography at a London bookstore next month. The Daily Mail says it will cost “a fortune” of taxpayers’ money to protect him….Union organizers are zeroing in on fast-food restaurants which, claims the Labor Relations Institute’s Philip Wilson, are “sitting ducks" for his recruiters.... When a war criminal who should have been shot at first sight. is on trial for three years, it just makes “justice” look ridiculous…. If both parties really want to erase the filibuster (“an absurd and destructive anachronism” says the Nation) why don’t they mutually agree to stop using it?…. Digital noises that match a car’s various sounds such as idling or accelerating, needed to warn unwary pedestrians or cyclists of the approach of otherwise silent electric models, have been devised by Harman International….. Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?…. Legal costs would be less exorbitant if law firms didn’t pay such ridiculously inflated salaries….Almost ready for testing is the male equivalent of a birth control pill which will work for up to three months at a time…. If marihuana was encouraged in jails instead of being banned, the ambience for both prisoners and guards would be much more serene …. Gloomy mosaics from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment dot the walls of Moscow’s new subway station, named for the novelist ….Children aged five and up are being given condoms at schools in Provincetown, MA.….. AccessMyID allows travelers to upload images of their passports, health insurance and other documents to a site from which you can print out temporary copies if you lose the originals… UNCOMPLIMENT: “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music”Billy Wilder…. Procter & Gamble is backing Oprah Winfrey’s new cable channel with $100m worth of advertising over its first three years reports the Wall Street Journal …. The loveliest birthday cards I’ve ever seen are crafted in a tiny southern English village by jacquielawson.com…. When Obama is blamed by both sides of the same thing (health/Wall Street, not enough/too much), maybe that means he’s doing something right…. The search for someone to blame is always successful opined Robert Hall...Examine carefully unemployment benefit checks on official-looking state letterheads because many of them are fakes…. “Historically, Islam has always built mosques on the most sacred sites of the people they conquered” says Frank Gaffrey Jr., prexy of the Center for Security Policy…. This week, the UK removed the Holocaust and the death camp pictures from its school curriculum because it 'offended' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred…. “In the mountains of truth, you never climb in vain”—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)


sperm
This vertical structure will be placed in Cotonduba Island .
It will be both a observation Tower , and a welcome sign for the visitors arriving by air and by Sea at Rio de Janeiro , where the Olympic Games 2016 will take place.
The project is from Zurique, and utilizes solar energy during the day with its solo Power panels, to pump the sea water as seen in the model.
The movement of the water will be also utilized ! to turn the turbines And produce the power to work the system at night time.

Portions of this column first appeared on 8/14/10



National Weed (1974, issue #3)

it's here...
Marijuana--The Weed That Changed the World


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Over the past year, my combined medical and support costs from a stroke I had in April 2014 have been more than $100,000. If you'd like to help, use the Paypal donate button, or better yet, buy one of my books, and thank you. —JW


comments? send an email to John Wilcock

recent columns

- Complete column archives: 2006 - present

John Wilcock ... Marijuana, the symbolic center of the underground society
Week of June 8, 2016

John Wilcock ... From the Archives: Cuba Diary—Havana, April 2011
Week of April 20, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen (continued)--Travels
Week of April 16, 2016

John Wilcock ... From the Archives: When you vote, don’t forget the Republican Paradox
Week of April 13, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen--Travels: Tokyo-Rick Kennedy recalls; Japan on $5 a Day; About Chapbooks; Magic in South America
Week of April 9, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen (continued)--Theory & Practice of Travel Writing; Remoteness of Callanish; Jim's Paris dinners
Week of April 2, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen--The Quest for Magic: Around Europe by VW bus; Regarding armchair travelers; Pisa's Leaning Tower; The magical Alhambra
Week of March 26, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen (continued)--London's Magical library; In the Cannes
Week of March 19, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen--The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Week of March 12, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary (continued)
Week of March 5, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary
Week of February 27, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen (Part Two--Manhattan phone book, JW'S Secret Diary
Week of February 20, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen--Party Circuit
Week of February 13, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part two, Soho Saturday
Week of February 6, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part one, Soho Saturday
Week of January 30, 2016

John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
Week of January 23, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve--Andy Gets Shot: Max's Kansas City; Jane Fonda's gesture; Christo & Jeanne-Claude
Week of January 16, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven (continued)-- We go to Rutgers, Ann Arbor ... What people say about Andy
Week of January 9, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven -- Andy Warhol First encounter....People talk about him....His movies...
Week of January 2, 2016

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten (continued)--The 'Movement' splits: Eldridge Cleaver Year of the Great Hoax…The OZ trial
Week of December 26, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten--Tom Forcade's smuggling funds High Times; Rolling Stone's underground sabotage
Week of December 19, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine (continued)--Rip Torn on stardom… Robert Mitchum's gift; London: Julian Beck’s critique; Emmett Grogan and the Diggers; Greece: The Junta, Charlotte Rampling, and art hero Daniel Spoerri
Week of December 12, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine--Bob Dylan in the Village, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Richard Neville and OZ, What Does London Need Most?, The International Times
Week of December 5, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon; The Shinjuku Sutra
Week of November 28, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight--Art Kunkin's LA Free Press; In LA with Hunter Thompson, Lenny Bruce; Visit by Warhol; Hakim Jamal plays god; The San Francisco 'Be-In'; Underground papers meet
Week of November 21, 2015

John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven (continued)--The Underground Press; Army revolt:  fragging officers; Bowart goes to Millbrook
Week of November 14, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven--The singing Tit-o-Gram; The East Village Other; Art & Forgery; Birth of Black Power; The Underground Press
Week of November 7, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
Week of October 31, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six—The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
Week of October 24, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—Reefer Madness (continued)--Jan and Stan change my life; The man who turned on the world
Week of October 17, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—Reefer Madness--The man who turned on the world; Tested by Harvard professors; Jan and Stan change my life
Week of October 10, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Four—Into the '60s--London's underground press; Jean-Jacques Lebel burns US flag; Everybody's friend: Jim Haynes; Lenny Bruce and the kitchen tapes
Week of October 3, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Four—Into the '60s--More Working at The New York Times; Mexico On $5 a Day; What Richard Condon taught me; Henry Miller's wise words
Week of September 26, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--The Village Voice (continued) --Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column, ECHO  and Larry Adler, Woody Allen plays classic nerd, A sample Village Square column
Week of September 19, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--More trouble with our star novelist; Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column; Jean Shepherd’s phantom novel
Week of September 12, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
Week of September 5, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Gilbert Seldes' The Lively Arts; Norman Mailer’s Voice column; Giving parties to meet strangers
Week of August 29, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
Week of August 22, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Jack Kent Cooke tells me to stay in Canada; Becoming a New Yorker ;A new Village newspaper; The casual wisdom of Steve Allen
Week of August 15, 2015

Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
Week of August 8, 2015

- column archives: 2006 - present




in the press...

Now on Boing-Boing!

JOHN WILCOCK: Leaving the trial, I realized Kennedy had just been killed.
February 12, 2015

The New York Years - Boing-Boing

July 13, 2012

Manhattan Memories: an autobiography
By John Wilcock (Lulu.com, 2010)
excerpt from A Book Review By Marshall Brooks
Provincetown Arts Annual 2012/13

On the Ground
IF
John Wilcock had lived in the Garden of Eden he would have started the world’s first under- ground newspaper there. One can easily picture it: a paradisiacal incarnation of John’s 1960s legendary tabloid, Other Scenes, featuring a lively threesome on its cover and an interview inside with the snake, who, it turns out, really dug (in the argot of the day) cool, mellow people. An Eden on $5 a Day guide would have been sure to follow, precursor to the dozens of travel books that John Wilcock actually has methodically researched and authored over the years, beginning with Mexico on $5 a Day in 1960 for enterprising guidebook publisher Arthur Frommer. Still traveling the world at age eighty-four, no moss grows on John Wilcock, which Manhattan Memories makes clear. But there is more.

(The complete review begins on p.175)




December 1, 2011

On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S
reviewed by Steve Heller in Imprint
On the Ground
The Underground Press, as it was called, was a groundswell of media activity running the gamut from radically political to seriously satirical. A new book, On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. (PM Press) Edited by Sean Stewart (who between 2007 and 2009 owned and operated Babylon Falling, a bookstore and gallery in San Francisco), recalls the Underground epoch. Through interlacing interviews with Emory Douglas (Black Panther), Paul Krassner (The Realist), Art Kunkin (The L.A. Free Press), Abe Peck (The Chicago Seed), John Wilcock (Other Scenes), Jeff Shero (The Rat), Trina Robbins (Gothic Blimp Works) and many more (including Al Goldstein of Screw), the remarkable journals that shaped my life (and career) are revived as oral history.

(read more)




November 28, 2011

The Book Bench - Loose leafs from the New Yorker Books Department
New Yorker Online
Check out the first installment of Ethan Persoff's serialized comic-book biography of the publisher and writer John Wilcock.

(read more)



October 22, 2011

The New York Years

An authorized comic book biography of John Wilcock,
art by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall

This is a book length comic series on John Wilcock. People who enjoy focusing on underground and alternative media are occasionally familiar with John's work, but most often the response is "who's that?" Outside of small press historians and collectors, John remains very unknown. Which makes no sense, the more you learn about him. We're very excited about the opportunity to tell his story. Art for THE STORY OF JOHN WILCOCK is by me and co-conspirator Scott Marshall. Story comes from an extended and ongoing year-long interview with Wilcock, himself. The focus is John's years in New York, roughly 1954-1971.

(read more)



January, 2011


The Return of the World's Worst Businessman

Sneak Peak “The Return of the World's Worst Businessman”
Tyler Malone
PMc Magazine

John Wilcock is not what you would call a household name, and yet, he has had a measurable impact on art, journalism and culture-at-large over the last century. He co-founded Interview with Andy Warhol. He also was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice. He has written for countless print and online publications: Frommer’s, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, The East Village Other, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Ojai Orange, etc. So why, one feels inclined to ask, is he relatively unknown? The answer seems simple: Wilcock has called himself “the world’s worst businessman.” This self-description makes sense because listening to him one hears the voice of a writer and a traveler and an enthusiast, not at all the voice of a businessman. In an age when it seems like everyone is all about business—art as a business, fashion as a business, everything as a business—it is refreshing to hear someone self-identify as “the world’s worst businessman.” It seems less like he has failed as a businessman and more like he has refused to become one. In addition to all his other accomplishments,...

(read more)




Monday, November 15, 2010

A Reader Comment from the recent New York Times Frugal Traveler post
RN—Sydney, Australia

Not only did John Wilcock shake up staid publishing in the USA, from the Village Voice to the East Village Other, his influence extended to several continents, including Australia & the UK, where - in his mild mannered way - he pushed the boundaries of image and speech. The counter culture was nothing but a dull puddle, until John kicked out the jams and ignited the Underground Press, which attracted absurd prosecutions, that of course boosted circulations. An unsung hero of the sixties,

indifferent to self promotion and the hoarding of gold, it is great to see John get a dash of recognition.

(read more)




Wednesday,
October 27, 2010

A Budget Travel Pioneer on a Time When $5 a Day Was Real (Frugal) Money
nytimes.com: Frugal Traveler

by Seth Kugel
John Wilcock at the New York Times

It was the first handwritten letter I’d received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I’d never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.

By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.

(read more)


and in print...

Manhattan MemoriesManhattan Memories
An Autobiography
by John Wilcock

"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."

-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner
order from lulu.com
also available at amazon.com (in paperback or for your Kindle)
and other online booksellers