the column of lasting insignificance: March 7, 2015
by John Wilcock
From the Archives:
THE WILCOCK WEB: Why does Canada’s Keystone pipeline have to devastate a dozen US states? Can’t the oil be exported from a Canadian port and a refinery built in that country?.... And why are the storm-destroyed churches being rebuilt at Federal cost? Which part of God’s message don’t the religion freaks understand?.... “Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God" advised The Ol’ Farmer…..If you’re over 60 and still riding a motorcycle, you’d be smart to quit, doctors warn…A poll by Boston Consulting Group revealed that 80% of domestic consumers are willing to pay more for products made in the US and more than half of the Chinese asked expressed a preference for US-made products”…... Zachary Guttens and Otis Collins call their Tie Society “the Netflix of Ties”. It allows subscribers to exchange ties as often and for as long as they want….. Although Japan gives huge subsidies to whalers, a recent report says that consumption of whale meat has dropped so low that the country would make more money by turning whaling into a tourist attraction rather than killing them… Well, Iran at least does one thing right: they execute financial fraudsters instead of rewarding them…“I had a rose named after me, and I was very flattered”, once joked Eleanor Roosevelt. “But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall'"….A report from a retail tracking service, the NPD Group, says that consumers, especially older ones, are turning increasingly to fruit to snack on rather than potato chips….Macy’s and J.C. Penney are battling in the courts as to which one has the exclusive right to sell Martha Stewart merchandise……. ”Some people say to me, ‘Don’t you get tired of singing I Left My Heart in San Francisco?’” Tony Bennett told United Healthcare’s new mag, Renew. “And I say to them, ‘Do you get tired of making love?’”…. After reinstating Brooklyn as a hip destination, NYC is now rehabilitating the Bronx with boutique hotels and a new golf course….It’s doubtful if Clive Davis’ autobiography talks about the time he made a deal with Jann Wenner to pull all the record ads out of underground papers and run them in Rolling Stone. Many of the undergrounds folded from sudden lack of income but the record companies boasted (untruthfully) “The music is the revolution, man”….“Is it possible to succeed without any act of betrayal?”—Jean Renoir (1894-1979)
THE WILCOCK WEB: Gas prices going up again and in a few months, when oil companies report even more gazillions in profits, they’ll somehow claim there’s no connection….….”The secret of success” quoth John D. Rockefeller, “is to get up early, work late and strike oil”…..The French can’t make up their mind about Anne Sinclair, wife of former disgraced IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn says Le Nouvel Observateur. Despite her job as the HuffPost’s European editor, “will she ever shake off her infamy? From now on she’ll only ever be judged as DSK’s mate”… Do you ever get the feeling that when all those financial ‘experts’ babble along about restructuring Greek debt they don’t have the faintest idea of what they’re talking about?.... Sam Zell, the billionaire tycoon who took less than a year to bankrupt two of America’s biggest newspapers then left with his own $4.5bn fortune intact, says it wasn’t his fault that the papers didn’t follow his orders…… “When a man tells you he got rich through hard work”, wrote Don Marquis, ”ask him, ‘Whose?’”….NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s donated millions to charity, jokes that “the ultimate in financial planning is to bounce the check to the undertaker. I’m gonna try to do that”…...Ambrose Bierce defined an admiral as “that part of a warship which does the talking while the figurehead does the thinking”…. His successful term as Florida governor made Jed Bush “a star turn”, writes Artur Davis in National Review. He could still be a Republican savior this year because, “the GOP can’t afford to wait until 2016 for one of its brightest stars to run”…..Exporting oil at the same time as importing it never seems to make much sense….The skulls of a couple of 33,000-year-old dogs show that they had been domesticated, report researchers from the University of Arizona…. Have you heard about the Kerryman who got a pair of water skis for Christmas? He’s still going around looking for a lake with a slope….…...If Supremo John Roberts didn’t anticipate the effect of his decision to allow rich folks to buy the election, then he’s an idiot; if he did, he’s a menace…Stores magazine reports that the strategy of Abercrombie & Fitch in enveloping its customers in a woody aroma (in its case, Fierce, from orange, fir, resin and Brazilian rosewood) is extending more and more to hotels and restaurants that seek definition from a signature smell… IKEA says it has figured out a way to cut costs and help the environment by switching from wooden pallets to greatly strengthened cardboard ones…. Carrying political correctness to extremes, as in the case of affirmative action, just results in the other kind of racism….Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for—Will Rogers (1879-1935)
THE WILCOCK WEB: The war between the world’s have-nots and the haves will define the 20-teens and neither China nor America will be exceptions…..Presumably million-dollar whores like Maria Carey and Beyoncé, who are only too willing to perform for murderous dictators, will claim that entertainment has nothing to do with politics….The first branch of the 16,858 Starbucks cafes opened in Seattle, 40 years ago this month….Why don’t the browbeaten members of Scientology get some backbone and vote out of office their scary leader, David Miscavige?….The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (who knew?) says that already there are 73 fast-food places for Detroit’s 951,000 population. It has asked the city to ban any more….“On account of being a democracy and run by the people,” mused Will Rogers, “we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does”….. Even if they do make the incandescent light bulb illegal, you can guarantee that as long as millions prefer them, somebody will still produce them.….While Lady Gaga--who’ll be 25 this month--was growing up, in Manhattan, she must have been aware of Colette, whose role on the Soho scene was presenting herself in public
as a living art work (but without the song and dance)…..Tropicana is phasing out the big plastic cartons, replacing them with transparent carafes.…Billionaire Macau casino owner Stanley Ho, 89, is suing his daughters Pansy and Daisy for the $1,45bn he claims that they owe him. (He has four wives and 16 daughters)…. Anybody who in these times can pay $74,000 to buy a dress, as did one rich bitch the Wall Street Journal featured last week, is obviously not paying their fair share of taxes….San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge plans to replace its toll takers with robots….Who do we owe the national debt to? And to whom is it paid?…. WikiLeaks is about to release a list of corporations and banks which avoid paying taxes by locating in the Cayman Islands… For decades, the exact same items always cost more in Eng land than America, so it’s to be expected that London’s equivalent of the 99c store is Poundland…. England’s Education Maintenance Allowance, which bribed teenagers from low-income families to stay in school has been scrapped as part of new government budget cuts …Yellow Tail Bubbles is a $10 reusable cork which can be squeezed to fit different bottlenecks…. Putting the two words 'The' and 'IRS' together at income tax time, spells THEIRS…..When the headline is enough: THE PLANET KEEPS WARMING, BUT U.S. MEDIA INTEREST COOLS —from EXTRA, the magazine of FAIR…. Striving to move into the television industry, the world’s richest and greediest man (whose telephone near-monopoly charges some of the world’s highest rates) Mexico’s Carlos Slim is battling that country’s Grupo Televisa… Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back…. Because of the voracious bacteria in their stomachs, sheep are being used to clean up explosive contaminated soil.... The court-appointed trustee trying to recover ill-gotten Bernie Madoff gains says the banks he’s suing had no suspicions, proving they are either crooked or incompetent --Discontent is the first step in the progress of a person or a nation (source unknown).
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- Complete column archives: 2006 - present
— 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, 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
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February 12, 2015
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