the column of lasting insignificance: June 18, 2011
by John Wilcock
GOLD IN AFGHANISTAN—there’s plenty of it, according to the Feds and the time might finally be approaching when speculators are ready to go after it. When the Russians were in the country, test holes proved the presence of just about every valuable mineral in existence but they were forced out before they could act on their discoveries. Later, the U.S. Geological Survey identified veins of copper, iron, lithium, gold and silver—“hundreds of billions of dollars worth” says Fortune and three years ago the Chinese won a bid for one site south of Kabul although unable so far to pursue it. “This is the time in Afghanistan for the adventure capitalists” says General David Petraeus, “for those who can do business in tough places in the world”.
READ THE CONSTITUTION urges Parade magazine. “Considering how much time we spend arguing about it, why not bone up on what it says?” The admonition is one of 32 things the magazine lists as “essential experiences every American should have” The list begins with Eat real barbecue and ends with See a bald eagle soar.
MEDICAL TOURISM HAS, in the past, usually been a reference to those glamorous foreign hospitals that welcomed patients into hospitals in exotic surroundings, enabling recovery in places with the style of five-star hotels. Now, a Colorado company—Bridge Health Medical—is offering “domestic medical tourism”, having struck deals with 30 hospitals and medical centers around the US. Inc. magazine narrates the tale of a fairly typical case—the employee of an Alaskan firm who flew to one of Bridge Health’s clients, a hospital in La Jolla, CA, to have an operation on her shoulder. The $16,000 cost was picked up by her insurance company which would otherwise have been responsible for a $32,000 bill at a local hospital in Anchorage.
IT’S ABOUT TIME that the government begins to get tough with Mexico ”before our border towns revert to the violent Wild West” writes William von Raab in the Spectator. Drug lords and corrupt politicians don’t respect civilized diplomatic overture and foreign aid he says in a piece labeled Mexistan, and meanwhile parts of the border have become more like Afghanistan than America. “There is unbridled violence, financing of corrupt activities through drug trafficking, control of what should be government authority by brigands or worse and corruption all the way through the social and political hierarchy. It is North America’s own terrorist camp across the Rio Grande. It is time that we stopped thinking of Mexico just as a friendly trading partner and began to assess her potential as another terrorist breeding ground”.
IN A STORY advocating Texas governor Rick Perry for next president, Republican state pol Dan Logue says: “I think that (he’s) the next Ronald Reagan”. The Newsweek story focuses on the fact that during Perry’s tenure, Texas has added 730,000 jobs whereas California has lost 600,000, and revealed that the Carl’s Jr. hamburger chain planned to open 300 outlets in Texas this year, none in California. The company’s CEO explained: “It takes two years to get permits in California, 45 days in the state of Texas”.
THirty-FOUR YEARS after Charlie Chaplin’s death, his house at Corsier-sur-Vevey (pop: 3,203) overlooking Lake Geneva is being turned into a museum about the world’s first international movie star, who died there on Christmas Day 1977. His desk, grand piano, books and leather-bound volumes of Tatler and Punch magazines fill the library, and a café movie theater, outdoor stage and tiny British pub will be part of a miniature movie set through which visitors can stroll along streets reminiscent of Chaplin’s youth. The star’s oak desk and a sofa from the 1931 movie City Lights are currently part of the sparse furniture but Charlie’s son Michael has appealed to relatives and friends to return items that once belonged to the house. Most of the Chaplin documents, manuscripts and photographs, are stored at nearby Montreux, in the town archives.
THE WILCOCK WEB: New York State Senate passed an ethics bill that is so curiously ineffectual that any verdicts can be negated by either party …. If, starting tomorrow, all lawyers received only sensible pay (say, a hundred bucks per hour) this country’s financial problems would be over in a New York minute…. If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain… …. Dog bones, snacks and bowls of water are on the menu for four-legged pets at the monthly Canine Cocktails night at San Diego’s Hotel Indigo….
With its sophisticated camera system plus wireless censors, Park Assist is a company that malls are hiring to install in their multi-level parking lots which point motorists to constantly opening vacant spots…. “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought”, quipped Soren Kierkegaard“Which they seldom use”…..More than three quarters of today’s American brewing industry is now controlled by
comments? send an email to John Wilcock
- Complete column archives: 2006 - present
— The Candy Store
— From the archives... The religion of Violence & Statistics, otherwise known as college football; WPA II; Would it be called Indiastan or Pakindia?; Who you Gonna call? Crime Predictors; Being a Bank means you never having to say you're sorry; Oil vs. Democracy, and of course, the Wilcock Web...
— From the archives... The Mother of All Family Feuds, Otaku Means Geek in Japanese, Affirmative Action or 'It all depends on who you know', The Moonies are packin', and of course, the Wilcock Web......
— Dear Reader,
— 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, donâ€™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 Sixâ€”The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”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, ECHOÂ 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