the column of lasting insignificance: Mar. 12, 2011
by John Wilcock
EATING INSECTS will be commonplace within a few years predicts the Wall Street Journal which raves about how nutritious is The Six-Legged Meat of the Future. Most of the developing world already consumes vast amounts of insects, the paper explains, and the rest of us will be following suit for the same reasons: too many hungry people competing for less land and water and fewer animals to share. (It already takes about 10 gallons of water to produce every two pounds of beef).The UN’s Food & Agriculture Org predicts that rising production costs will turn beef into a luxury item—like caviar—by mid-century. Raising mealy worms or locusts (rich in proteins, vitamins, iron and zinc) instead of, say chickens, doesn’t cost as much and, of course, wastes much less space and to begin with, says WSJ, they’re likely to be incorporated “subtly” into dishes—replacing meat in meatballs and sauces, for example. “Could beetles and dragonfly larvae be the meat of the future? Of all the known animal species, 80% walk on six legs….and the taste? It’s often described as ‘nutty’’.
CLIMATE CRANKS, impervious to the fact that virtually every scientific body in the world has warned us about global warming, have the upper hand in Washington, says Mark Hertsgaard, apparently believing that it’s all some left-wing plot. These corporate lobbyists and right-wing ideologues, he writes in the Nation, “have no more credibility than the Flat Earth Society and that should discredit them from holding any influence over our climate policy” NASA scientist James Hanson’s warning has gone unheeded, he suggests, because energy and auto companies benefit from carbon dioxide emissions as do the politicians and propagandists that these companies sponsor.
DOING BUSINESS WITH RUSSIA can result in “an unimaginable nightmare” was the warning financier William Browder proffered to the Daily Telegraph, recounting the sad tale of how through illegal sanctions that country tried to confiscate his business –and arrested his lawyer (later found dead). Browder spoke of “enormous corruption” in Russia’s business activities and cautions about investing in the country despite the supposed benefits. “Before anyone takes these representations at face value” he says, “They should hear my story”.
ALTHOUGH THE EVOLUTION of 3-D imaging has advanced at a glacial pace when compared to other video technologies, opines Via Satellite, and there are big changes in television about every ten years, one problem is constant: the need to find a common standard. This time, with 3D standards, there is greater worldwide collaboration than in the past, says the mag, but it warns that “there is always the possibility of a maverick openly bucking the system”. And the current suspect? The Chinese government which has announced plans for its own system which, with its huge potential audience and the capacity to produce its own 3D television sets, “may throw a kink into the plans for a global standard”. The magazine makes no reference to the recent plans by Japan’s Toshiba company to produce 3D sets that don’t need glasses to watch.
Illustrating the fact that America’s problems are nationwide, the Economist recently ran this cover about a story that said: “America faces two huge, linked problems. Its unemployment rate is running at 9.4%..…and the budget deficit is running at almost 10@ of GDP…Neither Mr Obama nor the Republicans has a workable plan…”
THE WILCOCK WEB: All those Washington lobbyists who’ve been paid millions for years to whitewash murderous Middle Eastern dictators may soon be out of a job, but doubtless they’ll exalt some other despicable clients…Who are these idiots who buy every new version of everything as soon as it appears (and why don’t they donate more to charity?)….. Flamboyant designer John Galliano always looked like a nincompoop, and has now proved to be one….. Los Angeles designer Carl Jones has produced jeans (selling for $156) that are reversible, from light to dark shades… Julian Assange and Bradley Manning never stood much of a chance once the forces of righteousness organized against WikiLeaks…More than 3million Bangladeshis have so far learned English on their mobile phones via three-minute language lessons costing 2c each….Lying between England and France, the island of Sark has been officially designated the world’s “dark sky island” after strenuous and successful attempts by islanders to reduce light pollution…. Popular British retailer Marks & Spencer which pulled out of France in 2001 is about to return to Paris with a store on the Champs-Elysées…. Rome’s La Repubblica forecasts that 60 million Chinese are likely to head to Europe as tourists but visas are hard for them to get, direct flights are few and hardly anybody in shops, hotels or museums speaks Mandarin…… Consumer Reports says respondents to its Panty Poll averaged having 21 pairs each; 25% had a pair “they’d be embarrassed for someone to see” and 10% had gone out without underwear…. With the aid of American and French companies, India is fingerprinting and photographing 1.2bn citizens to give them their first identity cards…U.S. naval researchers have invented a liquid antenna via which signals could be sent and received without attracting attention ….Charged by the SEC with stealing investors’ money, a hedge fund manager “neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing (but) agreed to pay $14million to settle the charges” says the NYT. Why are these crooks allowed to get away with pleas like this?….Never trust a helper who works for beer, advises Popular Mechanics…. How about introducing term limits for superannuated senators?….A “dry canal”, 135 miles long and paralleling the Panama Canal (to which it would be a cheaper railroad alternative), is being planned by Colombia, with Chinese financing…..Only 69 new toothpastes entered the market last year, reports a research group, compared with 102 new brands in 2007…. Wired’s story, Easy Money, suggests that several people have figured out a way to read the hidden numbers on those scratch-off lottery cards and are winning most of the prizes, leaving the ‘losing’ cards to ordinary suckers…. The difference between common sense and “the law” is illustrated by that contentious Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia who sought to reject, on some spurious technical grounds, the naming by a dying murder victim of his killer…. “All societies on the verge of death are masculine. A society can survive with only one man; no society will survive a shortage of women”—Germaine Greer (1939- )
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- Complete column archives: 2006 - present
— Dear Readers...
— John Wilcock ... Marijuana, the symbolic center of the underground society
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: Cuba Diary—Havana, April 2011
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen (continued)--Travels
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: When you vote, don’t forget the Republican Paradox
— 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
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen (continued)--London's Magical library;
In the Cannes
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen--The Sorcerer's Apprentice
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary (continued)
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen (Part Two--Manhattan phone book, JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen--Party Circuit
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part two, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part one, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
— 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
— 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
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon;
The Shinjuku Sutra
— 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
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six—The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
— 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
— 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
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
— Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
- column archives: 2006 - present
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.
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
The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol