John Wilcock column header


The Column of Lasting Insignificance: August 23, 2008

[the following columns were posted August, 2007]

Aug. 25, 2007

THE WILCOCK WEB: “Office holders sell to donors, but they don’t buy from voters,” writes Dirk Olin in the New York Times, pointing out that big donors can buy pols’ votes but the pols won’t pay voters for theirs….One of Beijing’s 6,530 road signs being tidied up in preference for next year’s Olympics has been changed from Dongda Hospital for Anus and Intestine Disease to Dongda Proctology Hospital….A British reader of the Guardian defined American football as “random violence interrupted by committee meetings”….More than two out of every three items returned to big stores have been shoplifted and returned for cash reports Texas A&M’s Center for Retailing Studies which notices such things….The Ford Motor Co. is said to have made a mere $2 profit on each of the early Model-Ts….. “When I was kidnapped,” Woody Allen once quipped, “my parents sprang into action: they rented my room”….Archaeologists are saddened that the famous rock art in Malawi, designated as a World Heritage Site, is being defaced by graffiti vandals. “Hundreds perhaps thousands of years of local history destroyed… by the local equivalent of ‘Leroy Was here’ comments Archaeology Magazine….Flat screen TVs, leather couches, and gourmet coffee are features of Joe Moffatt’s P.B. Loco Café in Tupelo, Miss. The PB stands for peanut butter which is all the café serves in a variety of combinations….“It seems to be a law of nature that Republicans are more boring than Democrats.” — Stewart Alsop (1914-74)


Aug. 18, 2007

THE WILCOCK WEB: Those “forever” stamps the post office is peddling cost 41c, same as the current rate for first-class mail. What’s the betting on how “forever’ they’ll remain next time the rates go up?…..Since Irish shops started charging 20c each for plastic bags, their use has dropped by 90%….“The great virtue of a democracy,” suggested historian A.J.P. Taylor, “is that it always thinks its leaders are frightful”….An Epoc headset embedded with 16 electrodes from California’s Emotiv company measures brainwaves, translating the wearer’s thoughts into action by an onscreen avatar…. Wrap icebergs in blankets so they won’t melt as fast, suggests Swiss textile boss Fritz Landolt who claims to have tried it successfully in Switzerland on the 300,000 square-foot Vorab glacier….. Nearly half of the thousands of alcoholism deaths in Russia each year are from drinking household products such as eau de cologne….“The urge to save humanity,” noted H.L. Mencken (d.1950) “is almost always a false front for those who want to rule it”…. We’re a year or two away from developing for offensive use the new RM (reactive materials) shrapnel composed of powdered metal which will ignite and burn upon striking the target. “(It has to be) strong enough to survive launch but fragile enough to react on impact,” says Judah Goldwasser at the office of Naval Research…..”…. An early 1956 printing of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage is offered for $11,000 by a NYC rare book dealer who seeks $9,200 for Cole Porter’s 1936 Red Hot and Blue. Books are often a better investment than stocks. Even one of my books, The Autobiography & Sex Life of Andy Warhol ($5 when published in 1971) is now worth more than $100 on Amazon…. Savonlinna in Finland is the site of the mobile phone throwing world championship on August 25…. Announced for October publication by Doubleday is John O’Farrell’s An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper-Class Idiots in Charge…..Manhattan’s famed Plaza Hotel will reopen with 181 condos (one costing $56 million) on its 100th birthday in October….“No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.” — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Aug. 4, 2007

THE WILCOCK WEB: As awareness grows about the environmental damage engendered by the processing and transport of billions of plastic bottles of water, you can bet the bottlers are about to give us a million reasons why you should keep buying the gelded stuff (added herbs, flavors, vitamins, etc)…. Did you know that the Wall Street Journal has a “classroom edition” that goes to 5,000 schools?….London columnist Charles Moore writes that in the 19th century smoking was only permitted in certain places but once people started to smoke absolutely everywhere, “resentment at this rudeness grew. (Today’s) ban is revenge — misguided but understandable”…… LATimes subscribers are leaving in such numbers that they’re offering $1.90 a week deals to win them back….If you type (_8^(I) and turn it sideways, you’re looking at Homer Simpson….Who decides what the statute of limitations is, and why?…. Liverpool police are testing a 3-ft. wide chopper which can be controlled from 550 yards away to hover for 20 minutes sending back surveillance pictures….. Bumper Sticker: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS NEITHER…. Leopards menacing villagers in the Indian state of Gujarat are enticed (then captured and transported elsewhere) by the voices of goats and cows emanating from telephone ring tones….NYTimes columnist Gail Collins says the best way to thin out the pack of would-be presidents is to have viewers vote one off the island after every debate….Major pharmaceutical companies are researching the cannabis plant, seeking pain-killing and anti-nausea compounds that can be patented. Simultaneously they are spending millions on PR hoping to keep the plant illegal — “To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”— Confucius (d.479BC)