Web links related to the Back of the Book program of January 5, 2004

It's Sunday night 1/18/2004 21:26:08 and this Web page is done. Welcome to another year! We plan to get to more than the space stuff tonight, and we also plan on getting to a significant amount of the mail on this program. And we got to all of that; please excuse the different tenses of verbs. Different parts of this page were written at different times.

Okay, the only thing that counts now is the fact that Pacifica is finally running elections! Find out more details regarding these elections here. These elections will determine what will happen to the Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, and what will happen to WBAI from now on.

Mr. Roger Manning from the listener group Coalition for a democratic Pacifica New York (CdPNY) attended and has posted his notes from the most recent interim Pacifica National Board meetings, along with other documents on the group's Web site.

As of September 15, 2003, the Pacifica Foundation has new bylaws! More about that here.

WBAI now has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out. Here's a schedule made by a listener who has Web links for various programs and producers.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream both of which were working at 6:44 PM last night. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.

The Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, has revamped its Web site and now has something called the Pacifica Lounge where you can post messages about Pacifica, WBAI and other Pacifica radio stations. This may be a good thing, and of course there are other, long term fora in which to participate.

WBAI also has a forum on its Web site now. You have to register to post messages, but anyone may read the messages.

Of course we're going to talk about all of the space related stuff tonight.

The NASA Stardust mission went off well. On Friday the spacecraft met up with comet Wild 2, coming within about 149 miles of the nucleus, and sampled the dust coming off the comet. It also took some very interesting photographs of the comet's nucleus. The folks who are in charge of the Stardust project are very pleased and now, in addition to the photographs, they're waiting for the mission to return the samples it took on January 15, 2006.

The Mars Express mission of the European Space Agency wasn't all that successful. The Mars Express orbiter arrived at Mars and has gone into orbit, and is sending back pictures of the planet. However, everyone was all excited about the Beagle 2 mission, which piggybacked on mars Express, because that lander was going to look for evidence of past or present life in an area of Mars called Isidis Planitia. Unfortunately, Beagle 2 seems to have suffered the fate of most of the spacecraft sent to land on Mars. All appeared to be going well, but no one has been able to hear anything from the Beagle 2 lander since it should have landed on the planet. Did those pesky Martians get it?

But everything got overshadowed by NASA's Mars Explorer Rover missions, which consist of two rovers that will explore the surface of Mars. The first rover is named Spirit, and it landed in the Gusev Crater on Mars late Saturday night (eastern time) and has performed perfectly since then sending back engineering data on itself and photographs of its immediate surroundings.

Pickles of the North is especially enamored of the Astrobots that are along for the ride.

The second Mars Exploration rover, named Opportunity, will arrive at Mars on January 24. We're certainly hoping that it's as successful in landing as Spirit was.

The Mistakes we Make

We once again read a little bit from the book The Mistakes we Make, which has a publication date of 1898. And, as you can see, the pronoun “we” in the book's title really is in lower case.

Here are the bits we read from it this time around. The excerpts have a light green background.

Gothic Architecture not invented by the Goths. — Gothic architecture, that is to say the ecclesiastical architecture characterized by pointed arches, is not in any way associated with the goths. The Italian renaissance writers applied the term Goth or Gothic in contempt of that medieval style of building prevalent in certain parts of Europe, just as they applied it to anything else that they considered ugly or in bad taste. In the literature of a hundred years ago articles of native manufacture brought to England from New Zealand and elsewhere were frequently called Gothic.

“Chamois” Leather a Sham. — Our German silver (which, by the way, is not of German origin, but has been known in China for centuries) we clean with a leather which is called chamois or “chammy skin.” This leather is not derived from the chamois, which, if we may believe the redoubtable Tartarin of Tarascon, is an all but extinct quadruped, but is the flesh side of sheepskin, reduced to an even thickness with pumice stone, and soaked in lime water and a solution of sulphuric acid. After being fulled with wooden hammers, fish oil is poured over it. This process is several times repeated, and after careful washing in a solution of potash, it is wrung, dried, made supple by stretching, and finally polished by rolling. The word itself may be derived from the Swedish samsk or the Romany chamische, meaning leather. Others derive it from the Dutch sam, soft.

Comets and Collisions. — Nervous persons are afraid the Earth may be struck by a comet. According to Babinet the chance of a collision between our Earth and a comet will occur once in fifteen million years. Arago said there was one chance out of 281,000,000.

Of course around a decade after the above was written the Tunguska event happened.

I also spoke about how Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or “Mad Cow Disease” has shown up in a cow from a herd in the United States.

Years ago I figured that this was inevitable. I cut way down on my consumption of beef and I'm glad I did. Of course there's no telling if 20 years ago I ingested some of those bad prions. The bad prions are the actual protein molecules that cause Mad Cow Disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease in humans.

I read a bit from an article about how non-deadly prions may function to help us retain long term memories. Apparently, prions taken from yeast and sea slugs have given insight into the mechanisms of long term memory storage and a hybrid of these two prions may show how Mad Cow Disease does its damage in cattle and humans.

And of course we got to some of the mail. We had a couple of cards and letters from people, and we also read some E-mail on the air. We present the E-mail here.

Fernando has been writing to us for a while. Unfortunately, Fernando has taken a nasty tack in recent months, making ridiculous accusations on a Pacifica forum and on the bleepin' blue board. Fernando seriously overstates his contributions during fund raising below, by the way. He also continues his tirade against Pickles of the North being on the program. Fernando has a problem with women in general. He also doesn't seem to understand what a non-profit radio station is allowed to do, and he has fantasies about being able to hire just anyone he's ever heard on the radio to come on to WBAI. Oh yes, we're not electing a “president” of WBAI, these is no such office.

Subject: WBAI Pledge Drive: An Explanation!
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 18:05:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear Paul Martin,

I have listened to your most recent broadcast which aired in the morning of November 10. During this broadcast, you expressed that WBAI's financial situation was potentially terminal. Unfortunately, while I enjoy SOME of WBAI's programming such as Weaponry, about one hour and thirty minutes of YOUR show, and the part of Maxwell Shmeed's show where he plays Jean Shepherd shows, much of WBAI's programming is very boring and I have to wonder if the station doesn't deserve to die. Let's face the truth here. If BAI were listened to by a large percentage of listeners, these listners would contribute more and the station would not be broke. Sadly, though, the station can't raise contributions because it can not attract listeners. I am very familiar with the radio business, R. I have listened to radios all of my life at night. I listen to AM as well as FM and I am thirty-four years old.

You always stress how BAI airs programs that one cannot hear anywhere else but this in fact may be the problem. WBAI's programming may be so far out on the fringe that few find it appealling at all. Let's face the truth here, Marty. In order to survive, the station has to draw a certain amount of mainstream listeners. You CAN NOT run an entire station that appeals to about six dirty hippies.

I have donated to your show in the past. You are into me for about two hundred dollars. This time, however, I have withheld my financial support for the following reasons:

1. You have been disrespectful towards the President, Bob Hope, and the Pope (whom you called a scumbag!)

2. Your show has dropped in quality since you have taken on a co-host. Sometimes listening to The Back Of The Books is like watching Johnny Carson when that old bag, Joan Rivers was guest-hosting. Who gives a crap about her, Martin?

3. Although I have supported your show in the past and I am a frequent contributer to your mail segment, you have constantly chosen to by-pass my letters, edit them arbitrarily, and even make fun of them. I don't care though because everyone makes fun of me even though I know I am better than them especially the women.

4. For some absurd reason, you take shots at me because I live with my mother even though I don't talk to her.

5. You have not addressed recent key issues such as Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction or the Hilton Sister's sex tape.

I realize that by not contributing I am forfeiting my right to run for the presidency of WBAI at this critical time. I would be a great president, Paul. I am not afraid to implement the necessary revolutionary changes and to clean house in order to do what needs to be done. My plan involves the following:

1. I would replace the program director and modify the play list.

2. I would expand Weaponry by forty-five minutes and make Back Of The Book weekly. I would however ban co-hosts on ALL shows.

3. Airport arrivals and departures would be announced at the top of every hour.

4. I would cancel seven shows which I will not list here because I know you won't read them anyway.

5. I would move Hour Of The Wolf to AM radio.

6. I would open up entire blocks of programming for advertising revenue.

7. All hosts would have to abide by a moral code and refrain from discussing questionable behavior on the air. FCC regulations regarding language would have to be respected. Sorry, Paul. No more taking of The Lord's name in vain for you!

8. I would restore UFO Desk and expand it to a weekly two-hour show.

9. I would sign former-mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Guilliani to host different shows on WBAI.

10. The new format would be changed to hits from the '80's and '70's.

11. New hipper shows would be created to appeal to a mainstream audience. I would create a fifteen minute top forty music show called "Fifteen Minutes With Dick Clark" and I would get Dick Clark to host it. I would also get Casey kasem to do an interview show and play tapes of his old shows.

12. In addition to Jean Shepherd, Maxwell J. Shmeed would play tapes of Long John Neville during his Old Time Radio show.

I hope that although I am not running for president of the station that the current or future sales manager of the station will adopt some or all of my ideas. I think it would save the station and make it more enjoyable for the ENTIRE community, Marty. BAI can not survive any longer on an audience of about seven degenerates. Come forward with me into the Twentieth Century!I wish you good health.

Florham Park, NJ

Next we have someone who's got some ideas about what WBAI should do. There's a policy about attacking other producers on the air, so I had to edit this E-mail a little bit when I read it on the air, and those edits are reflected below.

Unfortunately, there's never any knowing in advance when I'm going to get to a particular piece of mail, so I was unable to tell Rich that I'd gotten to his. Maybe he'll see it here, however.

Subject: why BAI can't pay it's bills
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 20:33:26 -0500
From: Rich
To: rpm@glib.com

R. ,

May I ad this as someone who listens to BAI a lot but is not involved in the BAI politics or in running or particpating in the station in anyway? The reason that I won't send in any money (anymore) is that 1) there is blatantly anti-semetic rhetoric on that show with ___ _____ and the other _________ 2) that show in mid-day on a Saturday with the gravel voiced guy talking about prisons really out of place. Jeez. 3) there is really less and less free form radio on BAI that is worth listening too.

Between the full evenings of old WLIB re-runs with the Global Black Experience and _____ _____ ______ talking with a lisp about something not important to me, it is hard to justify sending in any money, when money is hard to come by to start with. Bottom line: people will not send in money if they don't feel the station is addressing them. I for one am tired of hearing callers and hosts talking about “the community” and knowing that they don't mean me.

In very un-BAI fashion I will give you my solution for what we need to do to get BAI back into the black.

1) move the gravel voiced prision-dude to a 3 AM slot where he belongs.
2) cut back ____ ____ to a 2 hour slot on one night/week. Let him alternate with the Athiest show for 2 hours.
3) move Educations at the Crossroads, African Kelidescope, and all the spritual junk to alternating weeks, in the middle of the night.

To tell you the truth, since Paul Gorman, Joe Cuomo, Lynn Samuels, etc have left, the station is almost not worth listening to. Let's move all the “free formers” to daytime slots. The donations will grow!

Sorry for ranting. I know a number of people who are ex-BAI'ers and would probably send in dues who won't listen anymore because of the anti attitude (anti white, anti jewish). I also know some who have stuck with it. Let me know when and if you will comment on this. I only catch you rarely, just by chance. So let me know....


The next listener has a reaction to WBAI's General Manager issuing a press release starting up his old business again.

Subject: rojas
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 02:28:44 EST
From: BP
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi R. Paul,
Due to the bacon-frying noise I had to get up and listen on a different radio instead of the one by my bed. So while listening, I was checking out the Rojas stuff you mentioned. It sure looks like Don is trying to straddle two worlds and two jobs. I was amused and appalled by the very self-serving “press release” about WBAI programming changes which cites “a remarkable display of unity and resolve” by management, paid staff, unpaid producers, etc. I don't see how WBAI can get any news together given its current rip and read approach to both local and world news, unless you count stuff like sending _____ out with a microphone as journalism.
Also, if Rojas wants the new TBWT to be listener-supported, isn't he drawing on the same potential moneypot that WBAI is not so successfully trying to tap? This sounds very sinister to me. It goes beyond mission creep to mission creepiness.
BP in Plainfield

Subject: Item sent by B. Patricia
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 02:31:54 -0500
From: BP
To: rpm@glib.com

The following page from the “The Black World Today” website has been sent to you by BP.

You can access it at the following url: http://www.tbwt.org/home/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=29

Subject: Rojas
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 08:49:34 EST
From: AriadneBP@aol.com
To: rpm@glib.com

OOps! I see that the press release I e-mailed to you is also on the wbai.org web site. Still, I think It's over-reaching and not totally honest about the state of affairs regarding staff-management relations.

And, finally, we have a listener who corrected my misstatement about the results of an EKG I took in November.

Subject: it's bradycardia, not brachycardia
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 02:47:13 -0500
From: dana
To: rpm@glib.com

i hope that was a typo; i want everyone, especially wbai folks, to use the correct terminology when speaking of various medical conditions, especially when folks are broadcasting. thanks for the update re: agent orange and diabetes. bradycardia is the correct term for heartbeat/ pulse rate less than what is considered normal.

Yeah, there's not much about me that could be labeled as “normal.” Thanks for the correction.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even now that the gag rule has been lifted. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

Probably the most popular list that's sprung up is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. This one is very lively and currently includes over 400 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand.

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

And then there is the historic “Free Pacifica!” list, which has been used to help organize resistance to Pacifica Management hijackers since the mid-90s. It's become a low volume mailing list because it's been eclipsed by some of the newer, more technologically advanced, lists. Just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. This is a mailing list only, it doesn't have a digest option nor does it have a web interface.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

Free Pacifica Web site

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

Back to the Back of the Book page

Back to my home page.

The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2004, R. Paul Martin.