the column of lasting insignificance: March 29, 2014
by John Wilcock
IT’S MUCH, MUCH WORSE than you had possibly imagined—the way that the criminal $million lobbyists have taken over the manipulation and traducing of our government. Criminal? Yes, because the law mandates that lobbyists be registered and more than three quarters of them are not.
TAKING THEIR RIVALRY right to the groin, the English have long referred to a condom as a French letter, whereas to the French it’s known as un capote anglais. And, not surprisingly, there are hundreds of slang terms for the popular rubber: Jimmy, love glove and Willie hat; dick sock and salami sling. Back in the era of our 43rd president, a Chinese company introduced a kelitum and a laiwensiji for which users didn’t need translations. And now the humble joy bag is making news again with the introduction of graphene and polyurethane, among the strongest and thinnest materials ever discovered and of obvious interest to the Gates Foundation which has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the search for the ideal condom that can cut the transmission of venereal diseases in Third-World countries. An estimated 15 billion condoms are used each year, too many of which says the Economist “are awkward passion-killers that have disturbing tendency to pop off at inconvenient moments”.
NOT EVERYBODY HAS heard of thorium, a silvery metal first discovered almost two centuries ago, but there’s plenty of it around. Huge amounts exist in Norway, India, China, Australia, Turkey, even the U.S., and most of these countries have set up new research projects concentrating on the metal’s ability to substitute for uranium whose disadvantages have become increasingly accepted. Thorium (named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder) is ‘safer’ than uranium whose energy-producing content is similar because it can’t transfer into the plutonium which is the basis for nuclear technology. With this advantage you’d think that it might have emerged before but in the Cold War days, the world was locked into nuclear research and the prospect of meltdowns and undisposable piles of nuclear waste weren’t considered.
THE FOX TV NETWORK is about to get its first major competition, but surprisingly it will come not from the Left but the Right. Christopher Ruddy says “he doesn’t need to beat Fox News, he just needs to shave off a little of its audience” says Bloomberg Businessweek “particularly those Conservatives who feel Fox has drifted too far to the right”. Ruddy’s company, Newsmax Media, already publishes a monthly magazine (circ: 230,000) and a group of newsletters devoted to finance and health, and plans to begin its cable TV news operation in June, broadcasting nine hours each day out of Boca Raton. Ruddy, 49, complains that today’s Republican party “is always fighting for corporate interests and not the mainstream” and his ambitions are modest. “If we take 10 to 15 percent of the Fox audience, and they are making $1bn a year, then we are going to be hugely profitable”.
THE WINE SPECTATOR featured a chart claiming to identify voters from what they drink: Grey Goose, Absolut, Moet & Chandon, Jose Cuervo, Charles Shaw (among 30 others) for Democrats; Makers Mark, Jack Daniels, Kendall-Jackson, Bacardi, Seagram’s VO (among 30 others) for Republicans.
INSTEAD OF RUNNING to the bottom of the page, the New York Times’ ends its printed copy about one and half inches short, i.e. thus leaving a blank space on every page measuring 1 ½" deep by 12" wide, a total of 18 inches per page. As there are an average of 40 pages in each paper that means 40x18 inches for each copy, i.e. 720 inches of blank white space unused every day. Multiply this by roughly 750,000 papers and you’ll see that there would be room in every issue for many millions of words more or, alternatively, 750 inches of space in every copy that could be sold for ads or donated to good causes.
THE WILCOCK WEB: Instead of moving along and accepting a fait accompli, the US seems determined to vilify and “punish” Russia’s bullying dictator for his invasion as if we don’t do the same thing. Here’s what John Kerry recently told NBC: “You just don’t invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests, This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century.” Iraq and Afghanistan, anybody?.....Grasping Time Warner Cable is so greedy it took away from subscribers the Arts Channel, which is not only the best thing on television but is provided to them free by its generous sponsors….Twenty years from now, when Israel and Palestine have long been the same single country, we’ll look back and ponder why this inevitable solution was delayed for so many lifetimes ….The Chinese are snapping up French wineries at such a rate that they were reported to own more than 60 chateaux by the beginning of this year….And wine is increasingly being packaged differently: one Oregon company is selling it in lined, pull-tab cans and California’s Truett-Hurst winery is peddling its Chardonnay in sturdy ‘bottles’ made from recycled cardboard weighing less than a quarter of the standard glass container....As you can see from this panel in London’s Private Eye, Piers Morgan is also heartily
National Weed (1974, issue #3)
Bakewell and Chatsworth 2013 (part 1)
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— 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.
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November 21, 2013
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.
Forty years ago the second of my three books about magic was published, A Guide to Occult Britain (Sidgwick & Jackson) covering a wide range of sites from Stonehenge to Loch Ness and King Arthur country to the witches of Pendle Hill. It is now available as an eBook on amazon.com.
"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