Web links related to the Back of the Book program of March 4, 2002

It is now Monday morning 3/11/2002 03:58:26 and this page is finished. I got to some items on this program that I'd not been able to get to on the previous program. I also had some sad things to talk about because some people I knew had died in the previous fortnight. I did make a serious dent in the mail backlog and I think I went off on a couple of tangents. Below is the usual mixture of tenses because of parts of this page being written at different times. We all have to live with that. So this page is done, enjoy.

Here is the latest on the saga of Pacifica. I have the information there about the next meeting of the interim Pacifica National Board in Los Angeles, CA, along with details about the agenda.

Here's what I was saying about the WBAI part of the overall crisis in August. I seriously need to update this.

I'm very glad to note that at WBAI the gag rule is dead, for now.

As we move into the next phase of the Pacifica Crisis some listeners are more convinced than ever that only open elections will provide a long range cure for the Pacifica Crisis. Here's an election proposal.

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 about 8:05 PM last night. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.

We had a marathon program for the last show and I'd like to thank everyone who contributed as well as the folks who took the pledges: Bob, Mike, Marsha, Rat Girl of the West, Maxwell J. Schmid and of course Seth who did the job of Tally. I couldn't have done it without them. And we got $1,650 pledged.

On a previous program I was talking about the serious possibility of life on other planets, as opposed to the “alien abduction” sort of discussion. At that time I was talking about the probe that was going to be sent to the Jovian moon named Europa. Well, the bean counters at NASA, and that idiot George W. Bush, have cancelled the project!

I talk about science a lot, and so it's bothersome that some morons in Ohio are trying to force some stupid superstitious nonsense on the Ohio school system.

I talked a bit on the program about some old friends the news of whose deaths reached me in the fortnight before the program.

 Sylvia Rivera  was a new member of the militant Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) when I met her in the Spring of 1970.

Sylvia became famous that Spring when she was carrying the first ever petition for gay civil rights. This was called “The Greitzer Petition” because it asked the City Council person from Greenwich Village, Carol Greitzer, to introduce legislation that would provide for civil rights for gay people. In those days the word “gay” was considered to cover everyone. The balkanization and separatism hadn't set in yet.

Sylvia was a drag queen and could be quite flamboyant. While most of us hawked the petition through the streets of Greenwich Village Sylvia took the petition to Times Square and 42nd St. to get signatures. While she was getting signatures the police came along and told her to stop, and to get off 42nd St. But there was still someone signing the petition. The cops said to go. Sylvia insisted on having the person signing finish signing the petition. The cops arrested Sylvia.

This was quite a First Amendment case. Those of us in GAA thought that it would be obvious to anyone that getting signatures for a petition for redress of grievances, as it says in the Constitution, was exercising a fundamental right and should be protected, whether they were wearing a dress at the moment or not. But when we attempted to get the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) involved they refused to take the case, the lawyer saying, “We wouldn't touch this case with a stick.” The idea that a gay drag queen would or should have rights was a bit advanced for them then.

Luckily, a young, idealistic lawyer named Hal Weiner was there in the court room and was outraged at the violation of Sylvia's rights and also at the reaction of the ACLU lawyer. So he took the case and it got a lot of publicity.

I'd like to say that we fought the case and smashed the City's prosecution in court. Unfortunately, the case ended up petering out more than anything else. The arresting officers just never showed up in court. The City kept going to court, court dates went on getting set and then turning out to be exercises in no one from the prosecution's side showing up. Eventually it all got dismissed because of the delays. Obviously this was less problematic for the City government than a high profile First Amendment case would have been.

Around this time Sylvia was also one of the founders of a group called Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). The word “transvestite” in the group name varied from singular to plural and back again several times over the lifetime of the group.

Sylvia contracted AIDS a few years ago and when I last saw her she was very thin and looked ill, even though she was holding down a job and was able to do day to day things while still seeming as happy go lucky as ever. In the end I've read that it was liver cancer that took Sylvia from us.

I doubt that Sylvia would be accepted in most gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans groups today. Hell, I doubt that most of the membership of GAA would be accepted in most gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans groups today!

I also reminisced about  John Paul Hudson , who wrote under the name John Francis Hunter. He wrote The Gay Insider, among other books. He was also an actor and a gay activist. I knew John from GAA also.

The Vernal Equinox, when Spring arrives, will occur on Wednesday, March 20th, 2002, at 2:16 PM (EST).

On the program I read from a piece in the New York Times that says, “In navigating the world and deciding what is rewarding, humans are closer to zombies than sentient beings much of the time.

This article's thrust is in line with other brain research which says that we're all walking around in a waking dream for our entire lives. So when we think we're doing things for the reasons we state, we're frequently wrong. Ah, the delusions we inhabit.

And of course I did get to some of the mail on the program. We got through a number of snail mail messages, including some from Fernando about space aliens. Here are the E-mails we read on the air.

Subject: A Not-So-Happy New Year
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 16:50:47 -0800 (PST)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R,

Happy New Year!

Unfortunately, my New Year was not so happy.

I am a young single man who is unmarried. I am thirty-two years old. On Sunday nights, I go to a pub here in New Jersey that has a “Singles' Night” on Sundays. I go with friends. For the past year, I have noticed a tall blonde woman that I liked very much. Recently, I have seen her with a much younger man and I was discouraged because I thought she had settled on him as her boyfriend instead of me. Luckily though, it turned out that he was only her twenty-year-old son.

The Sunday before New Year's Eve. I was desperate because I wanted a date for New Year's Eve. Then I saw one of my friends dancing with the blonde that I wanted. I was erudite! What really upset me was that SHE went and asked HIM to dance and they were slow-dancing! To make things worse, she later asked him to dance again and then she invited him to her house for New Year's Eve! He went there, R, and had a very “Happy” New Year's Eve (if you can read between the lines!) I am very jealous, R. Paul. I spent my own New Year's Eve alone in my room thinking about how my friend would be making out with that chick like I wanted to. I also watched cable television.

Please understand that I wish my friend happiness, but I also recognize that he is a zero with no personality. I am being objective in this evaluation. He is thirty years old and only recently has learned how to drive. He is also addicted to strip joints. I am galled that he has beat me out for this girl and that she actually went after HIM! And not ME! How can I get her away from him, R? He is a deadbeat and a real jerk. I wish him the worst.

I'm sorry for unloading like this, but this is therapeutic for me and I disbelieve in therapists. I can't talk to my friends about this because I don't trust them and my mother's hearing is shot. Thank you.

Florham Park, NJ

Ah, well, Fernando's his usual self. Next we have a missive from a listener who says she's the 20th Back of the Book listener! And considering that she is from British Columbia, which Pickles of the North confirmed on the air is way off in Canada, she may also be one of the farthest listeners, and was probably the most distant contributor during the last marathon.

Subject: listener #20
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002 00:08:14 -0800
From: Judy
To: rpm@glib.com

hello r. paul,

i am judy of the north, huddled over my ice-covered keyboard, after another enchanted evening with you and pickles.

please tell me what your theme music is.

happy and healthy new year.


My intro is Barracuda by Heart, the music I play just before baring it all and reading the mail is The Stripper by David Rose, and the outtro is Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty.

And Judy's Web site is interesting too. Some of her work reminds me of what my first girlfriend The Evil Morelab used to do.

Next we have North American Shirley dropping a hint about my diet and how it affects the tiny fragment of brain I have lodged in my skull.

Subject: Eat Your Peas!
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 18:32:37 EST
From: North American Shirley
To: rpm@glib.com

Elderly individuals who consume a healthy diet may be less likely to experience cognitive deficits as they age, study findings suggest. http://neurology.medscape.com/46650.rhtml?srcmp=neur-010402

.. and ps; seriously, folks, you are a bright spot in my life, R. Paul Martin


Oh, gosh, I'm blushing. But I'm certainly glad that she likes the program.

Subject: Internet Listener
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002 21:06:36 -0300
To: rpm@glib.com

Hello, RPaul.

Last program you mentioned a 'nineteenth listener'.

I've been listening to you for the last 3 months online since I live in South America and that's the only way I can get it. I think I'm you 19th listener...

I have a question for you: Why is the show at 1 AM (3 AM herE) on a SUNDAY/MONDAY NIGHT EVERY 2 WEEKS?? Maybe that's why you only have 19 listeners.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and that I really like your show, specially when you talk about child molesting.

As is obvious there are a number of people vying for being the 19th or 20th listener to Back of the Book. This listener is from another continent! One of the things that the Internet connections have done is give some of us who are on in really bad times slots listeners in places on the globe where we're on in pretty good time slots! But for Taka here I'm apparently on at an even worse hour. Oh well.

I'm certain that the late hour and alternating nature of the program's time slot are a part of the reason why we have so few listeners. Yeah, but they're good listeners, they really listen!

I'm not sure I know what Taka means about child molesting through.

Next, we have an E-mail from Sharon, the wicked witch of the east (side) where she talks about George W. Bush, who is not President, and his amazing adventures as his alter ego “Pretzel Boy.”

Subject: Pretzident Bush
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 03:31:01 EST
From: Sharon, the wicked witch of the east (side)
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

I finally got to hear your whole show thanks to the holiday tomorrow. I think there's a simple explanation for the pretzel incident: Baby Dork wanted to prove he could win something without the help of his brother, his brother's mistress, and five corrupt judges: a Darwin Award. As you know, these are presented annually (and posthumously) to idiots who have improved the human gene pool by taking themselves out of it in creative ways. Choking to death on a pretzel in the middle of the White House under the highest possible security conditions would certainly be good for an Honorable Mention. ( By the way, hereditary rulers should always have nicknames, like the Duvaliers in Haiti and the Kims in North Korea, so I think of the Bushes as Poppy Dork and Baby Dork.)

You brought up the great disappearing anthrax panic. I was just reading an article in the Hartford Courant about samples of anthrax, Ebola and other goodies which went “missing” from Ft. Detrick in 1992. It seems like whoever got away with them decided to use Sept. 11 as a cover for some domestic terror. I never thought it was one of those “evildoers” we can't seem to catch up with. Why would Saddam Hussein, say, bother with such small quantities? And why would he take the trouble to address all the envelopes to Democrats?

Anyway, a great Fernando-free show. Happy new year and reason's greetings to you and Pickles.

Sharon, the wicked witch of the east (side)

Subject: Webcast
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 00:43:34 -0800
From: Studio51
To: rpm@glib.com

Hey R. Paul, I haven't listened to you since I moved to San Francisco. Just now I had a sudden urge to listen and found the webcast and everything, but we're using recycled time out here so it's TOO LATE. Do you have a saved streaming copy around or is there just the live one?


Another long distance Internet listener! Unfortunately, neither WBAI nor I have an archival copy of the program ready for streaming. MP3 files of the program that sound good are too big to fit within my web site, and ones that will fit are of too poor sounding an audio quality for me to want them up. Some day, however, we may figure it out.

In January the “gag rule” was lifted and I spoke on the air very freely about my analysis of what's been going on at WBAI and within Pacifica. Here's a listener who appreciated what I said.

Subject: wbai
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 09:33:31 EST
From: AriadneBP
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,
Your analysis of the WBAI situation was excellent. I hope the jubilant ex-fired and banned will pay attention.
My concern is that the jolly solidarity will interfere with the station's ability to achieve a consistently high level of programming. I feel programming was spotty before the coup and then got worse. Some people could not even do rudimentary responsibilities like showing up or being on time (pardon the expression).
As an aside, may I say I am glad that CR now seems to be out of time. Like his idol, Miles Davis, CR seemed most comfortable when his back (or his backside) was facing the audience.
Anyway, I don't think it would be mean to ask individuals to prepare for their programs and not be excessively absent. I would like to see at least some kind of program guide or at least more of a daily rundown than MM gave when she said her program would be followed by “some music.”
There are many thorny job issues and financial problems ahead - I am just asking for some attention to what goes out on the air.
B. from Plainfield

Subject: Nellybelle
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 12:54:26 -0500
From: Bill
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul, I tuned in the other night when you were talking about old shows and I'd like to let you know that Pat Buttram was one of Gene Autry's sidekicks. (His voice would go up and down in falsetto.) It was Pat Brady who drove Nellybelle.

Now, see if you can remember the gal on BAI who sang along with her records on air. She used to play Stand By Your Man and I Like 'Em Big and Stupid. Do you know what she is doing today?

An intermittent listener when I can't sleep,

I'm not sure who that was. Could it have been our old friend Lynn Samuels? She seems to be doing okay these days.

Subject: The closest thing to Right
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 02:46:15 EST
From: Tony from Brooklyn
To: rpm@glib.com

Greetings R.

I have been listening to your show for some time now. But you show this week, (1/22/02) has given me a new level of respect for you, and here is the reason why.

The recent battles of WBAI has been interesting at best but I always knew that in a dispute like this, you rarely get the truth from either side. Some people said I should believe the so called “dissidents,” but why? Simply because they say so?

I needed more proof than that.
There were people I respected on both sides of this battle.

Some that I still have respect for, (such as Amy Goodman, who had my respect ever since her interview with then President Bill Clinton). Some of them I don't anymore. (in particular ______ ______ who tonight acted like a sniveling bitch of a man on his show _________ night/________ morning).

But enough of this stuff about the other personalities.
Your comments this week on your show were more along the point of how I have felt thru this whole thing.
The most important thing here is the radio station.
Most of the other media outlets in this city turns out nothing but bullshit. There is a lot of programers and programs on WBAI that I don't like, but there is also a lot that I do like.
I find WBAI to be mind expanding. I mean who would ever believe a black man from East New York Brooklyn would listen to a show called “Moorish Orthodox Crusade.”
If the people that are in charge now worry about vengeance instead of taking care to restore this station ot it's former stature then, they've become no better than the “Tyrants” they have replaced.
I thank you for this weeks show, where you broke it down to what is most likely the closest to the truth that most listeners will hear. The closest think to right, in a cyclone of stupidity.
Take care of yourself!!

P.S. Tell Pickles I liked the Star Trek Museum also. She has good tastes.

Tony from Brooklyn

There are a lot of issues that we can't talk about on the air at WBAI. But there is an Internet list called “Free Pacifica!” which you can subscribe to, and these issues are discussed there. If you subscribe to it you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

If you want to subscribe to the “Free Pacifica!” list just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. Could open your eyes a little bit.

The above list has occasionally produced a high volume of E-mail because of the attention that these issues have drawn. If you would prefer to subscribe to a low volume list that only provides announcements of events related to these issues then subscribe to the FreePac mailing list.

Another 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. With that warning in mind, you can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too, although you'll have to deal with Yahoo! to do so.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. This one has a great many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary board that's just totally out of hand.

The “Goodlight” Web based message board has expanded to cover all Pacifica stations.

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

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Back to my home page.

The contents of this Web page and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 2002, R. Paul Martin