Web links related to the Back of the Book program of January 19, 2004

It's Sunday night 2/1/2004 19:07:00 and this page is done. Vote! If you can vote in the upcoming Pacifica & WBAI elections please do so! We got to the below topics on this program and we made a dent in the mail backlog. Let me know if the formatting for the excerpts from The Mistakes we Make works for you or not.

If you're a listener sponsor or a Staff person and you haven't gotten your ballot yet go here immediately and tell them you need a ballot! It is strongly recommended that you contact them about a replacement ballot before January 20!

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 10:09 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 I spoke about the elections a bit on the air. If you haven't voted yet you need to do so pretty much right away or else your ballot might not get to its destination by February 5th which is when they'll count the ballots. Remember a postmark of February 5th doesn't count, they need to have the physical ballot in hand for the counting that day.

The elections are a bit odd so far. One Listener Candidate has been disqualified for violating the rules. A couple of other folks were never put on the ballot because they didn't get back to anyone in time to confirm their candidacy.

Nothing's been done about some on-air endorsements of one candidate, however. Hard to tell how some folks think the rules work. I know that if I endorsed a candidate on the air I'd get slammed pretty damned quickly.

That moron bush, who is not the President but is merely the usurper in the White House, is going to wreck NASA and all of its programs for the sake of some election year sound bites! The fabulous Hubble Space Telescope has been condemned to a premature death for the sake of Bush's bullshit!

The Mistakes we Make

Once again we read excerpts from the book The Mistakes we Make edited by Nathan Haskell Dole. It's a book that was published in 1898, which tries to correct popular misconceptions.

Here's what we read on the air this time. This first piece was especially appropriate as we had just fought our way through a snow storm to get to the station. The excerpts have a light green background to set them off from my blatherings.

Cold Winters — Yakutsk is not the coldest town on earth; this distinction belongs to Verchoyansk in the same locality, which, according to the report of the Geological society of St. Petersburg, holds the record of minus 67° centigrade. The reading of the thermometer gives a very exaggerated impression of the severity of low temperatures. The author of “Twenty years on the Saskatchewan” writing from Edmonton (Alberta in Canada), says, “I have known the temperature so mild that the birds have been singing most of the time, and very little extra clothes have been worn; and again for weeks together the glass has been between 36° and 50° below zero. Yet our cold winters have been the healthiest and the succeeding summers generally the most fruitful.”

The above fact is an artifact of the infancy of polar exploration in 1898. These days the coldest place on Earth is Vostok, Antarctica with a temperature of -129° F. or -89° C. The fact that a town in Siberia was the coldest place on Earth in those days may have impressed Captain Robert F. Scott when he was preparing his ill fated, and fatal, expedition to the South Pole. Capt. Scott decided to rely heavily on Siberian ponies for hauling heavy sledges of supplies around. The ponies couldn't handle the extra cold and other conditions of the Antarctic expedition and this was one of the factors which doomed Scott's expedition.

Why Trees Split — The splitting of forest trees by frost is ascribed to the same cause as the bursting of water-pipes; namely, the expansion of the sap turning into ice. This is not the case. The splitting is due to the contraction of the wood by frost, similar, but in a less degree, to what happens when the wood is dried. When the thaw comes the trees expand to their original dimensions. “After a number of years' measurements,” according to the London “Chronicle,” “Mr. Clayton, of Bradford, finds that the difference between the girths in October, just before the frost, and February, when the thermometer was below freezing, ranges for different trees from two-sixteenths to six-sixteenths of an inch.”

We've all intuitively known that we can repress memories of things we'd rather not remember, and now a study has not only shown that it can be done but has outlined the mental mechanism we use to accomplish it.

We got through some of your mail on this program. The hard copy mail we were sent we can't reproduce here, but here are the E-mails we got to. The first E-mail was one from Fernando, who's been really nasty of late on some of the public message boards. The following displays Fernando's usual problems with women. Will he ever learn? The ending of this one is especially schizophrenic in light of that nastiness.

Subject: Happy Birthday!
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2003 23:18:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

I am writing to you on the eve of my birthday. I have written to “Back Of The Books” before but I have not done so recently. I have been meaning to write to you on the situation in Iceland. I am thirty-four years old now. Technically, it is the day of my birthday since it is after midnight. Do you like “St. Elsewhere?” I have not written in a while but I do not understand what the problem is. It is a very American notion to expect people to leave their parents' homes the moment they turn eighteen. It is not this way in families of mediteranean descent. It is very common for multiple generations of Italian and Spanish families to live under one roof. I don't know why American parents and kids want nothing to do with each other. I am a grown up man and I can do what I want. My parents are very old so what am I supposed to do with them? I don't have the money to buy my own house and my mother says that renting is for suckers. You pay money every month but you don't have anything to show for it. At least when you own a house, Paul, it goes up in value. I am looking to buy. I am not looking to waste my time.

I don't understand the aversion American women have to men who live with their parents. It does not make me any less independent. I can do what I want and my mother drives me anywhere I want to go at any time. I think it is disgraceful when a single girl lives alone. That is a sign of a loose tramp with no morals who just wants to parade men in and out of their bed. I would like to meet a lady who is close with her family. A decent girl, R, would remain in her father's house until she finds a man who will marry her. These chicks who live on their own belong in a cheap bordello. I want nothing to do with them. I know I am masculine and a real man. I am inclement.

I think it is very conspicous that following the recent blackout, R. Paul, that you have not spoken about Iceland's decision to resume hunting whales. You are always ready to jump on President Bush's throat everytime he wants to tap our own vast oil reserves ( and he IS our President so get over it!) but you seem to give Iceland a pass. Why does Iceland get a break from you, Martin?

I have gone out with chicks who write me off the moment they find out that I'm still living in my parents house. I don't know what difference it makes but it does show that women can be parasitic tramps who prostitute themselves for the sole purpose of gathering status symbols. They are skanks, R. I hope you agree. They're all into manipulating men and getting money from them. I told this girl what my mother thought of her and that she would leave me to go and felate strange men in an alley for beer money. She knew better than to say anything back to me. I have not heard from her since.

I don't think you should take it out on your listeners (or their parents) because you disagree with their politics. I still enjoy the portions of your show that you do and I look forward to hearing your program when you don't dilute it with unnecessary sidekicks. The only upside to you shredding your airtime like this is that you now provide your audiece with a good twenty minutes that I can go to a bathroom. My mother cooks for me but that it because she is cooking for the house anyway. Am I supposed to reject a plate of her food? What difference would this make, R. Martin? It would only insult her.

I look forward to your shows.

Florham Park, New Jersey

Next we have something from one of our listeners who writes short text messages from his cell phone. He's talking about complaints a person in Los Angeles has about the common jargon used to designate primary and secondary computer devices.

Subject: master/slave
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:24:23 -0800
From: ____________
To: rpm@glib.com

We now have proof a Los Angeles Official (a purchasing division manager) can read labels on computer hardware.

Subject: slaves
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 03:22:47 -0800
From: ____________
To: rpm@glib.com

Myth continues: “slaves ARE happy.” Using $ that's off any vestage of “weights & measures” it seems U.S. workers LIKE IT!

Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 14:53:49 -0800
To: rpm@glib.com

R & Ms Pickles, (By the time this gets on the show...) Happy Winter Solstice & Isaac Newton B-day! Hope U 2 had a gr8 Thanksgiving too! --ZIG-MAN

And we even had a New Year to celebrate before we got to this E-mail! Thanks, Zig-Man, for the kind wishes.

In the next E-mail I've edited out Tracy's full name in the interests of not having listeners plagued by spammers, harassers, etc.

Subject: Thanks and an Apology
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 20:05:57 -0800 (PST)
From: Tracy
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

You ARE such a kind and tolerant man!

I am [the person] who wrote that immoderately long 14 sided letter about the Lowenstein Presidential I.Q. hoax. I debunked its methods and then found the officially recorded test scores for the Presidents which were much lower than the Institute claimed. I took a week to write it working a little each day because Lowenstein was so outrageous and it interested me ... I guess I got a little carried away!

But I thank you for actually taking time to read it. I didn't expect you to. I just thought we share a common interest in science and you would read it off air more for your own amusement than anything else.

You are truly kind and generous with your listeners and fans.

Heartfelt thanks!

T. ______

P.S. - By the bye I found the segment derived from the 1898 book of little known facts along with your running commentary fine edutainment (especially the the part about Brunelleschi the archtect and the Columbus's egg myth) Please continue these blast from the past factoids for as long as you enjoy them! Also your Michael Jackson insights were On Point, IMHO

Ah, well, we read everything that doesn't have a request not to be read on the air, Tracy. No need at all to apologize.

I'm glad you like the 1898, book. Yes, edutainment is good, much like knowledge. I'll be continuing to read little excerpts from it.

Subject: THE Emperor
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 19:31:12 GMT
From: rich
To: rpm@glib.com

dear R

do you listen to “Labbrish?” it stars Habte Selassie .I tuned in one night but instead there was a special on Haile Selassie put on by the “Midnight Ravers,” i was rather intrigued by the show which dealt with the emperor's coronation which exhaulted him to somewhat godly status...

I remember on the small caribbean island where i grew up in the late 70's the Rasterfarian sect came to prominance there against the backdrop of emperor Salessie ,whom they revered and worshipped as their devine spiritual father here on earth (sort of like their Pope)...the highpoint of the 'Ravers'special was a soundclip from the actual day of the coronation itself, commented on by some english broadcaster ,it went like this

“The emperor and empress spent the night in prayer and meditation with priests at the most holy alter within St.Georges cathedral. All over Adis Ababa devoted subjects shouted praise for the new emperor 'He will lead us, his justice is like an angel,long live he...'” The ritual celebration was performed in a specially constructed part of the church,

Shortly after 730 am attired in white silk communion robes the emperor entered the church halls with an escort of aides and clergy singing processional hymns, also of special note were the spiritual vestments which its said were worn by the archangel Micheal, the emperor took his place on the throne and the ceremony began, The Coptic bishop of Ethiopia representing his holyness the pope of Alexandria “look yeh upon the emperor Haile Selassie 1st.descended from the dynasty of Menelik ,born of Solomon and Queen Sheeba.”

The emperor took his place on the throne,and was vested with the spiritual orns ,-A diamond encrusted sword, Two traditional lances ,A golden globe of the earth and lastly the magnificent crown...Seven scented oinments of ancient prescription were recieved on the imperial head,brow and shoulders with each of these orns .....Finally was a grand tour of cathedral led by the emperor and empress who was also crowned but with LESS elaborate rites . Escorted by Ethiopian priest bishops and high dignitaries and a large number of Coptic decons carrying palm branches and chanting in high volume “hosanna blessed be the king of Isreal blessed is he who cometh in the name of the lord etc ,etc.”

The soundclip goes on with english commentors speaking highly of Selassie,and the loss of some of his children... I also noted that the emperor had some affinity to Canada, at the time 20% of Etheopia's teachers were from Canada,and he spoke of more policies being put in place to further trade with Canada even more 'Can Pickles shed any light on this sinse she once lived there ...

Will be listening.


Unfortunately, Pickles of the North doesn't know anything about the above mentioned teacher situation.

Subject: Ace of Spades
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 21:16:12 -0500
From: Bill in Manhattan
To: rpm@glib.com

Looking at pictures of the captured Saddam, I'm reminded of what a deceased actor once said about the hightlights of his career, namely -- 1) Who is Jack Elam? 2) Can you get me Jack Elam? 3) Can you get me a Jack Elam type? and 4) Whatever became of Jack Elam? Don't misunderstand me, R. Paul, I liked old Jack Elam. I think I'll have to put off until next year my comments on the late Katharine Hepburn and the maligned -- some what say malignant -- Bob Hope. I saw that Christopher Hitchens essentially agreed with you about the late comedian. Be that as it may, the joke he made about the undead still walking during the New Deal (“Oh! you mean like Republicans!”) was one of the funniest of the century. But, yes, too often in later years his jokes were very feeble. More later, until then Best wishes for the New Year and I did keep my resolution to read some of Franz Kafka -- Bill in Manhattan.

Here's our cell phone user again. I don't know what “viduated currency” is. In looking it up I've found the word “viduity,” but that's all. Does he mean that our currency is widowed?

Sometimes these little bon mots in cell phone text messages are a bit difficult to understand.

Perhaps the listener will enlighten us with a fuller E-mail at some point in the future.

Subject: viduated currency
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 22:50:42 -0800
From: ____________

To: rpm@glib.com

Somebody figured out that with Viduated currency = slavery, repealing the 13th ammendment was unnecessary!

Having begun with Fernando, we now end with him. He's actually much nicer here than he has been in some on line forums. I guess Fernando just doesn't like waiting his turn in the listener mail queue. While I appreciate the two times Fernando has pledged to the program I must say that many others have pledged as well. They understand that they don't own the air time, (Hell, I don't own the air time.) and they don't send gigantic screeds that they then complain about getting postponed due to lack of time to read them! Fernando is a trip, all right.

Subject: A Short One For You!
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 23:55:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com


Could you please read my damn letters already? I have written to you and now THREE times in a row you have passed me over in favor of the nonsense other people mail to you. READ MY LETTERS! That station is going broke fast and soon the doors will be locked and I will not have had my questions answered. Here's an idea! Try to minimize your ramblings. God invented periods for a reason and that reason is to save us from boredom. Here's another idea for you! Take back the twenty minutes of your show that you have given away. I'm sure the Nielsen ratings show a dip in your numbers for those twenty minutes. I used to donate a good deal of money to your show but I can no longer do so since you insist on ignoring significant patrons such as myself. Try to get a dime out of those homeless bums who write mad nonsense to you. They probably have to shoplift batteries from the Woolworths to listen to you on their transistors. Read me, R. This is all I ask of you, Paul. Is THIS short enough for you?

Florham Park, NJ

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.