the column of lasting insignificance...
from the archives…
MARIHUANA GROWING currently employs 100,000 workers in the Canadian province of British Columbia and accounts for more than 5% of the GDP. Seven years ago the BC Organized Crime Agency valued the crop at $4billion and it is now worth one-third more, in addition to having spread eastward to almost every other province. These are statistics from the Guardian Weekly which reports that after George Bush dealt the local economy a “punishing blow” by imposing a 27% tax on imports of Canadian softwood, many redeployed their skills by moving into cannabis production which now provides more jobs than logging, mining, oil and gas combined. “The bottleneck has always been in getting the stuff into the US”, says one distributor. “There’s close to 300 million Americans and that’s a big market. But there’s (also) 30 million Canadians and everyone either grows it themselves or has a buddy that does”.
THAT INNOCENT-LOOKING COMPUTER, just sitting there glowing on your desk is wasting energy, suggests US News & World Report. It’s burning up fuel and should be turned off when not in use. “It’s as if every household has a big gas-guzzling vehicle (or two) in its driveway, all with engines racing” says Bruce Norman of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “It’s like we’re all driving sports utility computers”.
LIBERAL GUILT sparked by the fact that an ethical lifestyle is the “new way of keeping up with the Jones” can lead to a form of burnout for activists declares the Utne Reader. It reiterates the argument that now that people consider “unethical living” to be as socially unacceptable as drunk driving, with “when people are motivated by guilt they fail to make long-term change”. Merely by being born, the magazine says, we’re consuming resources, burning carbon dioxide and exacting a toll on the world around us, so it’s sensible to acknowledge this before “exonerating ourselves and others and then stepping calmly into the future with the best of intentions”.
WHEN YOU PLAN to have a vasectomy, the best thing to do is to schedule it to coincide with some major sports classic such as Super Bowl or Masters golf tournament. That’s what a lot of men have been doing to ease the discomfort of sitting around waiting for the operation to heal. “It gives people something to look forward to” says urologist Richard Bevan-Thomas who reports an increase in vasectomy bookings for all major golf tournaments. “The sports angle has even become a marketing angle for some clinics” Forbes reveals, The Oregon Urology Institute ran promotions prior to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, selling it as an excuse “to stay home in front of the big screen”.
So many people’s ashes are being scattered on the summit of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis (4,406 ft), that it is changing the chemical balance of the soil “fertilizing it with phosphorus and calcium, to the detriment of rare alpine plants”. So states Kathleen Jamie in the London Review of Books writing about Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places. Ms. Jamie reveals that The John Muir Trust which administers the mountain has become so concerned, that it has constructed a Memorial Site for Contemplation for such ashes which ought to be “thrown into the air on a windy day”.
THE WILCOCK WEB: After rejecting hundreds of would-be students and raising tuition for the rest, why is UCLA paying the New York Times a quarter of a million bucks for full-page ads praising itself?….. Using cells extracted from mouse embryos, Tokyo University of Science professor Takashi Tsuji has succeeded in growing teeth in other mice…. Federal prosecutors have described those $100-a-month virtual offices as “a more elaborate version of an old-fashioned post office box”. And those springing up all over lower Manhattan as, “a breeding ground for fraud”….“Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel Dune will appear on the screen for the third time, the latest film by Richard Rubinstein who earlier produced a six-hour version for the Sci Fi channel….. American children, which make up 4% of the world’s population, consume more than 40% of the world’s toys…..Wheat straw is in short supply for re-thatching village cottages and English Heritage has threatened $40,000 fines and jail sentences for thatchers who use substitutes…. …“I can’t hit on a girl in public like I used to” Jack Nicholson told AARP magazine. “I never thought words like undignified would come into my own reflections on myself, but—I can’t do it any more”….. Researchers at the University of Minnesota say that during their studies cat owners were 40% less likely to die from heart attacks although it might just be related to the personality of the animal lovers…. “The only way an investor can get killed”, declares Warren Buffett “is by high fees or trying to outsmart the market”…. Computerized shopping carts at all ShopRite stores will soon carry advertising on their screens. And Rite Aid stores are selling a $30 DNA paternity test, although lab tests cost a further $119…. Solar-cell garments with which you can power the gadgets in your pockets, will be here before next year….“If at first the idea is not absurd” declared Albert Einstein, ”then there is no hope for it”….. Organic carrots and Lebanese soap are among the items to be sold in the shop opened by Prince Charles at the Gloucestershire town of Tetbury (pop: 5,250) which dates back to the 7th century. All profits will go to charity…..The Guardian Weekly called Salman Rushdie’s new book, The Enchantress of Florence, a “sumptuous, impetuous mixture of history and fable…a brilliant, gorgeous and fascinating novel”. But the Economist panned its “mediocre writing”, adding: “Mr Rushdie ought to bear in mind that a novelist is at heart a story teller, not a serial creator of self-delighting sentences”….. “There is nothing new except what has been forgotten”—Marie Antoinette (1755-93)
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National Weed (1974, issue #3)
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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
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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