“Led by the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic parties have become expert at presenting themselves as moderates and telling the West what it wants to hear while they gradually ensnare societies in the sharia web, as slowly or quickly as conditions on the ground permit….Once in power they are sure to make virulent anti-Americanism their official policy and to contribute materially to the pan-Islamic goal of destroying Israel.”
--from ‘Islam is Islam, and That’s It’ by Andrew C. McCarthy in the National Review
MEDICARE FRAUD has reached such stupefying levels that the estimated losses of about $80bn each year is just about equal to the budget cuts that the Obama administration feels it must make in the program. CMS (the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) paid out around $500bn last year ostensibly to qualified recipients. “But CMS has been a thieves' piñata for more than a decade” declares Fast Company. Rip-off HQ is apparently Florida which leaks hundreds of millions of dollars to criminal rings. One former prosecutor suggested to FC’s Tristam Korten that Miami’s economy would grind to a halt” if all Medicare fraud stopped overnight. “This is drug-cartel level profits, but without the gunfights”.
Prompting the joke that Florida is where New Yorkers go to visit their parents, the state has five times as many Medicare clients than the rest of the country, but now the problem is spreading to other states. The ease with which fraudsters can rent an empty office, buy a list of prospects and hire somebody to pick up the checks, has proved to be irresistible, yet CMS has apparently done little to deter it. They have been willing to accept losses of 10% each year whereas more tightly-run credit card companies accept less than half of that.
IN A CONTEST for The Golden Flannel Award for Utter Gibberish, the award went to Manpower Group which describes itself: “Our $22bn company creates unique time to value through a comprehensive suite of innovative solutions that may help clients win in the Human Age”.
AMERICANS ELECT, the organization that plans to allow anybody to vote for presidential candidates chosen on the internet, is striving to get on the ballot in all 50 states and so far claims to have almost 2.5 million signatures. Its declared goal “is to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters—not the political system” offering participants “a greater voice for all Americans, no matter their party”. Understandably it is prompting suspicion, as well as non-disclosure about approval. It was funded initially by wealthy investor Peter Ackerman whose son Elliott (chief operating officer) has answered critics that large donations would be scaled back with later funds so that nobody would have contributed more than $10,000. AE’s platform, he told TV host Steven Colbert, would be whatever its delegates wanted it to be. The Washington Monthly’s Charlea Peters expressed the most common dissent: “(AE’s) threat from the center could end up doing to Obama what Ralph Nader from the left did to Al Gore in 2000”. And New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait adds: “I would love to reform the system in order to make influential third parties possible. But without reforming the system, third parties can badly distort election outcomes’.
Senior Personal Ads
from The Villages of Florida newsletter.
Sexy, fashion-conscious blue-haired beauty,
80's, slim, 5'4' (used to be 5'6'),
searching for sharp-looking, sharp-dressing companion.
Matching white shoes and belt a plus.
Recent widow who has just buried fourth husband,
am looking for someone to round out a six-unit plot.
Dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath not a problem.
I am into solitude, long walks, sunrises, the ocean, yoga and
meditation. If you are the silent type, let's get together,
take our hearing aids out and enjoy quiet times.
Active grandmother with original teeth seeking a
dedicated flosser to share rare steaks,
corn on the cob and caramel candy.
BEATLES OR STONES?
I still like to rock, still like to cruise in my Camaro on
Saturday nights and still like to play the guitar.
If you were a groovy chick, or are now a groovy hen,
let's get together and listen to my eight-track tapes.
I can usually remember Monday through Thursday.
If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
let's put our two heads together.
Male, 1932, high mileage, good condition, some hair,
many new parts including hip, knee, cornea, valves.
Not in running condition, but walks well.
THOSE MISNAMED POWER BALANCE bracelets should be regarded as a sort of rabbit’s foot, meant to boost the wearer’s confidence rather than being some kind of cure-all maintains The Skeptical Inquirer. The magazine tested the $30 item—which has been endorsed by Shaquille O’Neal and other sports stars—and concluded that the bracelets “have no discernible effect when the wearer doesn’t know whether he or she is wearing one with a hologram”. The company’s pitch has been that when the hologram comes in contact with the body’s energy field “it allows your body to interact with the natural, beneficial frequency stored within the hologram”. This, supposedly, “optimize(s) the body’s energy field to improve strength, flexibility and balance”.
“I’ve never, never just gone out and sung a song. I go out and try to breathe life into an original creation and I try to do it every night, and I think that’s what it takes. There’s no point in doing it if you can’t create some kind of moment, a very special moment of connection between the performer and the audience. And that’s what I go for.”
--Neil Diamond talking to Sandy Cohen in the Los Angeles Times
RIDICULOUS LAWS NEVER seem to get repealed but new ones are constantly added writes James Lileks in National Review, revealing that California just added hundreds of new ones. They include an ordinance that bans beer with caffeine (“It would never occur to anyone to order a tap and a cup of coffee and alternate sips”). Other new laws include requiring professional photocopiers to get a license, prohibiting the sale of live animals on public streets and cyber bullying on social network sites. Laws repealed? None. “The only laws that get repealed these days are the sodomy laws because we want to get the government out of certain bedrooms clucking in disapproval so it can be hustled into other bedrooms”
THE WILCOCK WEB: Why the surprise about Romney saying he doesn’t care about poor people, seeing as the statement specifically defines Republicans.?...What kind of crazy law is it that allows billionaire CEOs to walk away with millions when they declare bankruptcy?…. In democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism it's your count that votes…. Seeing as California is incapable of constructing that high-speed railroad why not turn it over to the Chinese or Japanese who at least have proved they can handle such a job?….And if California legislators get paid almost $100,000 for doing their job why do they deserve an extra $142 “daily allowance”? .....Being murdered by marines apparently doesn’t count if you’re an Iraqi…..Turkey angrily refutes that it killed one million Armenians in the alleged genocide; claims it was only 500,000… Fascist supporters of Spain’s long-gone dictator Francisco Franco have managed to railroad judge Baltazar Garzón who once indicted Chile’s Pinochet (until Britain’s despicable Jack Straw let him go)…… "If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence” says The Old Farmer, “try ordering somebody else’s dog around”…….William Tomicki’s travel newsletter Entrée reports that guests at London’s Rubens at the Palace can book a hotel staffer as an opponent for most sports and if you’re traveling in a group you can challenge the luxury resort’s five-man soccer team… It would save a ton of money if we let the people in outer space (if any) search for us…Seeing as it’s the Palestinians who run Jordan, why do they need a second country?.... “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once” quipped Woody Allen….…. Smelly films have surfaced again, this time in the chain of movie theaters where aromas are matched to screen action. They plan to open similar theaters in the US later this year….Neither perfume nor music greet visitors to the Harley Davidson store in downtown Orlando, FL, but a permanent soundtrack blasting the noise of a Harley V-twin-engine accelerating which motor-cycle fans crave….Because some Catholic colleges imagine themselves (incorrectly) to be above the law on administering birth control information, they plan to appeal to the (Catholic) Supreme Court to bolster their case…..It’s about time that religions were taxed…….There was a time when, if the New York Times had ten successive full page ads, they would have interspersed them with a bit of editorial copy…..With 30 Paris Hilton stores (shores, handbags etc) around the world having generated $1.3bn in revenues, the publicity-crazed heiress now plans to open beach clubs in the Philippines…. …Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movies, an exhibition at Britain’s National Motor Museum is exhibiting 50 cars in which OO7 performed…. A short fortune-teller escaped from prison to become a small medium, at-large…..New York City is apparently run by lesbian lobbyists…Anheuser-Busch is planning a chain of Belgian Beer Cafes (where hopefully it might sell the highly superior European brand of Budweiser)….. Parisian baker Jean-Louis Hecht has been selling thousands of hot baguettes a month from a vending machine which he loads with the frozen, half-baked bread that customers finish off for themselves…. As people who take up meditation boast, it's better than doing nothing.….”Humankind cannot bear too much reality”—T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
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– Coming to New York: February 28, 2012
- Complete column archives:
2006 - present
— Dear Readers...
– Week of January 25, 2017
— 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, donâ€™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 Hoaxâ€¦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: Â 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 Sixâ€”The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
– Week of October 24, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fiveâ€”Reefer Madness (continued)--Jan and Stan change my life; The man who turned on the world
– Week of October 17, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fiveâ€”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 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
– Week of October 3, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”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, ECHOÂ 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 Shepherdâ€™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 Mailerâ€™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...
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
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
by John Wilcock
Edited by Christopher Trela
Photographs by Shunk-Kender
Village Voice and Interview cofounder John Wilcock was first drawn into the
milieu of Andy Warhol through film-maker Jonas Mekas, assisting on some
of Warhol’s early films, hanging out at his parties and quickly becoming a
regular at the Factory. “About six months after I started hanging out at the
old, silvery Factory on West 47th Street,” he recalls, “[Gerard] Malanga came
up to me and asked, ‘When are you going to write something about us?’”
Already fascinated by Warhol’s persona, Wilcock went to work, interviewing
the artist’s closest associates, supporters and superstars. Among these were
Malanga, Naomi Levine, Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet, all of whom had been
in the earliest films; scriptwriter Ronnie Tavel, and photographer Gretchen
Berg; art dealers Sam Green, Ivan Karp, Eleanor Ward and Leo Castelli, and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Henry Geldzahler; the poets Charles Henri
Ford and Taylor Mead, and the artist Marisol; and the musicians Lou Reed and Nico. Paul Morrisey supplied the title: The Autobiography and Sex Life of
Andy Warhol was the first oral biography of the artist. First published in 1971,
and pitched against the colorful backdrop of the 1960s, it assembles a prismatic
portrait of one of modern art’s least knowable artists during the early
years of his fame. The Autobiography and Sex Life is likely the most revealing
portrait of Warhol, being composite instead of singular; each of its interviewees
offers a piece of the puzzle that was Andy Warhol. This new edition
corrects the many errors of the first, and is beautifully designed in a bright,
Warholian palette with numerous illustrations.
The British-born writer John Wilcock co-founded The Village Voice in 1955,
and went on to edit seminal publications such as The East Village Other, Los
Angeles Free Press, Other Scenes and (in 1970) Interview, with Andy Warhol.