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The Column of Lasting Insignificance: July 24, 2010

John Wilcock

credit: Tuli

A FOND FAREWELL to my old friend Tuli Kupferberg (September 28, 1923 – July 12, 2010), musician, poet, philosopher, anarchist, and underground icon even before there was an underground.

IF YOU THOUGHT that 3D television sets were the latest thing, you’re behind the curve. Now the Japanese are at work developing holographic TV in which images will be beamed into the center of the room. They will be viewed “as a cloud,” reports The Week, “which can be viewed from any angle and without the need for special glasses.” Long before the 2022 World Cup in Tokyo, engineers hope to have installations mounted on the floor from which lasers pointing upwards can fill the room with footballers who could be playing anywhere in the world.

A PISSING MATCH is the literal and all-too-true description of the ongoing battle between the inventors of the waterless toilet and the plumbers’ union. The tale is told in Wired which describes how former Disney vp James Krug has sold 200,000 devices that capture urine in a plastic capsule beneath a blue chemical that traps the smell. Theoretically, the $40 capsule needs replacing after 7,000 uses but early experiments have shown that the device needs regular maintenance to avoid clogging. “Plumbers don’t like the waterless urinal,” says Charles Berba, an environmental microbiology professor, “because with no moving parts to repair and no pipes to install, it cuts down on their work tremendously.” Krug sees them as a wave of the future and says the Rose Bowl and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway are among the places where they have been located.

SIX REASONS WHY legalization of marijuana is on the way are the subject of NORML’s executive director Allen St. Pierre who declares that after 73 years of unsuccessful prohibition and 20 million arrests, “a national weariness in setting in. Hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been wasted or collected,” he writes, “children having more access to cannabis than alcohol or tobacco, and the destabilization of America’s borders — all basically for naught.” Medical acceptance of marihuana; baby boomers becoming “baby bongers;” the sinking economy; opposition to reforming the laws receding; and the dissemination of information via the internet ( have all helped to change American attitudes he writes in the current issue of High Times.

credit: Tuli

AS IF THEY DIDN’T have enough to dispute, Israel and Lebanon are arguing about who invented hummus, the sticky dip comprised of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. A couple of months ago, 300 Lebanese chefs got into the Guinness Book of Records by making a 10-ton batch of it, and now think it should be protected like feta cheese, which the EU mandates should be made in Greece. But it’s the Israelis who have done the most promotion. Supermarket sales have increased by more than a third in the past few years. ”Israel has succeeded in marketing hummus around the world,” says David Abithol, who runs a blog Jewlicious.

WHO KNEW THAT using a different type font — in this case Century Gothic — could save ink? That’s one of the 99 Great Ways To Save in the AARP Bulletin which also says, if your hospital will allow it, buy and take your own drugs to save money…compare supermarket prices at…. and check out to find a free local guide when you travel.

A LETTER WRITER from Washington state suggested to the Atlantic that a fast food tax would solve a lot of economic problems in addition to reducing obesity. But doesn’t this schlub know how the system works? At the first hint of such a tax, the industry’s lobbyists would be emailing legislators asking how big a bribe was needed for their vote.

MY FIFTEEN MINUTES of fame while promoting my Warhol book in New York didn’t actually produce any tangible results so far as work is concerned. So this is a humble reminder to any editors or publishers that, as a long-experienced freelancer writer with 38 books, 1,000 columns, and 800 video programs behind me,  I’m available for commissions to write anything that interests me for anybody and, of course, for payment. Which doesn’t have to be money. (A vacation would be nice).

THE WILCOCK WEB: If somebody would compile a list of how much it costs to bribe each legislator, lobbyists could be abolished, thus allowing corporations (and others) to save money by paying politicians directly…. If you want to write and tell him what a crook he is, the NYT says Goldman Sach’s boss Lloyd Blankfein lives at 15 Central Park West in Manhattan…. At the Navy Marine Institute in San Diego, they’re training sea lions to locate enemy divers and capture them with snap-on shackles…. Sob stories about life in Gaza never mention that the population voted overwhelmingly for Hamas…. A list of several hundred alleged illegals in Utah would theoretically be a template for checking who should be deported, but apparently, it’s more important to know where the list came from…..The hypocritical nonsense that bans racial profiling would suggest that everybody but Latinos are most likely to be illegal aliens… Painting dogs to look like tigers or pandas is a current Chinese fad…. The National Mah Jongg League says the number of players has doubled in the past decade…. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it… With a change in the law, New York becomes the last of 50 states to allow “no-fault” divorces (i.e. neither party has to accept blame)…. Cell-phones that can detect dangerous chemicals in the air are being developed by scientists at the Department of Homeland Security…. If just one mile of highway was paved with his Solar Roadway panels, claims Scott Brusaw, four hours of sunlight would produce enough power to light up 500 homes….What kind of idiots would waste five million bucks on erecting signs saying that stimulus funds were providing jobs?….Under various rubrics in eight states, A&P’s 429 stores last week loaded $10-worth of coupons onto customers’ club cards in return for texting $5 to the Children’s Miracle Network which supports hospitals If she really wanted to help the state, the $100million Meg  Whitman has spent promoting her massive ego would have gone a long way to solving some of California’s financial problems …. Commenting on the decline of British television, Observer columnist Nick Cohen comments: “Once we gave the world The Jewel in the Crown; now we give it Piers Morgan”…. AARP Bulletin is urging San Francisco seniors to adopt aging dogs (“calmer, quieter, housebroken”) from a nonprofit animal rescue group called Muttville, a friendship it says will be of mutual benefit…. British writer Andrew O’Hagan wrote a novel about Marilyn Monroe’s dog (given to her by Frank Sinatra).” About his owner, Maf “feels tenderness, admiration, sorrow and bewilderment,” O’Hagan writes….“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.’’ — Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)