Web links related to the Back of the Book program of April 29, 2002

It's Saturday afternoon 5/11/2002 16:19:20 and this page is done. It was a sad and wild fortnight. My mother died and I had to deal with everything related to that. So I was a little scattered from this. I covered the below topics, along with some stuff I haven't posted here, and I got through a bunch of mail on the program. Next program, tomorrow, we'll be pitching so I hope you pledge during the next program.

Here is the latest on the saga of Pacifica. I have updated that page with stuff about the recent meeting of the interim Pacifica National Board in Los Angeles, CA, along with a couple of other items.

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.

Agnes Martin
1922 - 2002

My mother died on Wednesday April 24, at 10:10 AM.

Regular listeners will know that my mother had been in an adult home and then a nursing home for some years. She'd had Alzheimer's Disease for quite a while. The Alzheimer's may have started more than twenty years ago. Her smoking habit contributed to her bad health later in life. She began smoking at about age 18. She smoked Chesterfield and Camel cigarettes, both unfiltered brands that delivered a lot of nicotine, tar and other byproducts of smoldering tobacco directly into the human body. She was one of those people who simply believed the ads in the late 1930s and early 1940s and thought that smoking was a safe thing to do.

My mother some years ago

My mother was born on a farm in Massachusetts in 1922. When her father died in the late '30s the Great Depression was still going on; the farm could not continue after his death and my grandmother couldn't support all of the children. My mother, along with a couple of siblings, was sent to a Catholic convent/orphanage where she stayed until she graduated high school.

The Catholic school scandals of today are nothing new. The convent was full of brutality from the nuns who ran it. My mother even had to have an operation on her knee because of the beatings she received at the hands of these very twisted sisters. They tried to avoid marking up a girl's face, so the nuns would take a wooden coat hanger, which in those days were a lot more substantial than anything available today, and strike the girls in back of their knees with them. It produced pain and could leave a girl limping for weeks, but it didn't leave any marks where anyone could readily see them. One nun was violently insane and was permanently locked in a room. My mother and her sister, who was also there, told stories of how the nuns would threaten to throw unruly girls into that nun's cell.

In any case, my mother met my father before he went off to World War II and they corresponded while he was overseas. After the war they were married and a couple of years later I showed up, courtesy of the stork.

My parents never liked my gay activism and we had a big break in February 1975. I didn't see them again until October 1992. By then my mother's Alzheimer's Disease had progressed to the point that she no longer knew who I was. My father's health was also compromised by cigarettes and he died in May 1997. My mother was declared incompetent and taken away to an adult home a month later.

They let my mother smoke in the adult home even after she'd had several episodes of being short of breath. By the time she was elderly, of course, my mother was hopelessly hooked on strong cigarettes. During one of her hospitalizations for shortness of breath my mother had a small heart attack, and after that she had to be on oxygen all the time. She was transferred to a nursing home.

In Alzheimer's Disease parts of the brain get destroyed. It's a progressive illness. After a while my mother refused to eat, which is something that happens with Alzheimer's patients. She also was getting more and more paranoid and thought that there were electronics in the food that was given to her. By December 2000, she was down to 69 pounds. At that time there were social workers preparing me for my mother's imminent death. She sure outlasted their predictions. We've had one trip to the hospital after another for my mother. She lost weight until she got to 57 pounds. They were able to get her weight up to 61 pounds recently, but on the night of April 18th she just went to sleep and never woke up. I'm told that everything was painless. She may have had a stroke. On the morning of April 19th she was rushed to the hospital and they found that she had intracranial bleeding. There was a great deal of blood in her brain. They were able to relieve the pressure on her brain, but she just never woke up.

The photograph of my mother on this page is from a trip she and my father took to Florida some years ago. She's holding a lion cub.

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 10:50 PM last night. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.

Google and Scientology are going at it again. Google is learning to use its access to the Internet and the defences allowed in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 to resist the efforts of the so called Church of Scientology to suppress its critics and their Web sites.

I've been talking for a while now about the two guys from ACT UP San Francisco who were held on high bail for 72 days. I've also taken a stand against those whom I refer to as AIDS cranks. One of these is named David Pasquarelli. He's issued a press release about his health. And some friends of his have issued an update.

Mr. Pasquarelli tells us that he is HIV positive and has developed opportunistic infections which show up when one's immune system is seriously suppressed by HIV. Given these facts it is safe to say that Mr. Pasquarelli has full blown AIDS. Mr. Pasquarelli has been saying for years that neither HIV nor AIDS exist. In his press release he blames the doctors who saved his life for making him ill. What a sad delusion he has. Now he's gone back to doctors for more of the treatments he's been telling everyone else to avoid. He's been talking the AIDS crank talk for years, but now that his life is in real peril he's not walking the walk. He's not the first AIDS crank to do a flip flop like this, and he won't be the last.

One hopes that Mr. Pasquarelli changes his mind permanently about HIV, AIDS and medications intended to help people with AIDS. By reversing his denial of reality he could help a lot of people, as opposed to hurting them as he's done in the past.

And of course we read some listener mail o the program. Here are the E-mails we got, starting with a previously skipped Fernando missive.

Subject: Rockwell At The Guggenheim
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2002 21:44:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

I have written to you before but I have been unable to do so for almost three weeks. I have been busy and I need money for spending. I have, however, continued to listen to your broadcasts and continue to enjoy them.

I wanted to share with you an interesting experience. Do you like Bruce Springsteen? On February 19, a guy I know and I went to the Guggenheim Museum. The Guggie was having a special exhibit on the works of Norman Rockwell and I am a big fan of the Early 20th Century American illustrators. I think Rockwell gets the shaft from the post-modernists. Do you agree with me? There is alot of snobbery and elitism going on there, and you can't find fault with the man's technical proficiency. I think the SoHo crowd resents this proficiency and are threatened because Rockwell's work outshines and is more well-known than there anything-goes paint splatters and pornography. Even though I am an artist, I regard Maplethorpe as a blasphemer who denigraded our entire craft and community.

The exhibit was well attended and was very large. The show extended to two floors. At one point, I went to take the stairs which are quite narrow. I stopped to allow a tour guide and the family he was guiding pass and get on ahead of me. I came face to face with the last member of the guide's party who was a short, fairly-grungy looking man. I said to myself, "That guy looks like a homely Bruce Springsteen." I didn't think anything more of it and I followed the group up the stairs onto another floor and the rest of the exhibit.

That was when a guy I know said to me if I saw Bruce Springsteen there. I looked back at the man I had been face to face with and upon closer examination, I realized that he was in fact THE REAL BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. I followed him and looked at him. He was there with his wife who is taller than he is and three children. Bruce is short. He is only a little bit taller than myself. I wanted to yell "Thunder Road" at him but I only looked at him. This guy practically handed a career to Courtney Cox. Where would she be without The Boss?

A few people seem to notice him but no one talked to him or went up to him so I felt to self-conscious to ask him to do "Badlands" for me. All I could do was look at him until I went to the bathroom. I am a fan of his work even though I disagree with his politics. He is very liberal but I think that may be due to an educational deficiency on his part. He is from New Jersey as am I.

On the way home, the bus driver demanded that I have exact change and he would not break a dollar for me. In order to keep the bus moving, he told me to sit down and get change from a passenger. When the bus stopped, however, I got off without paying at all. Thank you for your attention and I hope to write again in the future.

Fondly, Fernando Florham Park, NJ

So in Fernando's view this guy goes from “the last member of the guide's party who was a short, fairly-grungy looking man.” to someone Fernando stalks through the museum and then wants to ask for an impromptu performance from. Nice shot stealing the bus ride, Fernando.

Subject: Coke Bottles
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 17:57:51 -0400
From: fredmill
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R Paul:
On last nights program you said that today's plastic coke bottles have six feet. This is incorrect. They have five feet. Yours Sincerely,

I stand corrected, on two feet.

Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 23:20:52 +0000
From: reynaldo
To: rpm@glib.com

Just read your web-page for early April and I love reading your correspondence from other Back of the Book fans and stalwarts. First of all, I am very intrigued with Len Black Lotus's stated preference for "corpulent Irishmen". R. Paul, I too am a corpulent Irishman! Ah, Len, my love, let me press my fat lips against yours! Ah, rub my lovely belly, and everything else I have that is fat (no kidding!

Anywho, I was also tickled to read a missive from that young whippersnapper Fernando relating a New Year's Eve showing of 'AN AMERICAN FAMILY". Amusing because it is so true, although frankly I am shocked that this airing occurred SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO (OH MY GOD NO)! The ever-charming Fernando is, as everybody knows, 32 years old, and he says that at that time he was 15 (and tho' I'm not into kids, doubtless very comely). Well, just do the math. Dear goodness, at the time i guess I was still in my twenties. At any rate, that night, being alone, as usual, I wrapped myself around a great Aussie red and watched that show, which was a blast for me because I remembered its first go-round on PBS around '72 or '73. At that time, it was like looking at ancient history, but at that time it was only eh, mebbe 13 yrs old. And I was amazed at the little tacked-on 'WHERE ARE THEY 'documentary at the END. gEE, iTHOUGHT, Mr. and Mrs. Loud are still alive! Anyway, time marches on, me little Fernando. Ah, me little Fernando. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

By the by, your web-site promised a link to an April Fool's jest, but I could not link up to it-what was the subject matter?


That April Fool's joke is accessible via a link in an E-mail.

Subject: N.A. SHIRLEY
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 21:48:27 -0400
From: Mary
To: rpm@glib.com


Thanks, and I'm sure the other listeners thank you also.

Next we have someone who finds a way to link some of the words we use together.

Subject: dog spelled backwards
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 22:10:59 -0400
From: Daniel
To: rpm@glib.com

Hey R Paul!

Here's a cute cartoon that made me think of you: http://www.grimmy.com/images/2002/MGG033102.gif



Subject: Antarctica
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 07:40:18 -0400
From: rich
To: rpm@glib.com

dear R

i remember a couple of shows aback you went into a discussion on the breaking up of the ice shelf in the North Pole, shortly after this i got into an argument at work a co-worker was telling me if this continues the earth could flip upside down such that the north pole would be down where the south pole is and vice versa . I said nonsense R , my point was this,.. the Earth is hurtling through space where there is no up and down,when we look at a map of the globe ,yes,some countries are at the top and some at the bottom but this is just to be practical. Well, my friend at work would not give in ,he showed me a magazine containing advertisments for many books that prooved him right,one book called POLESHIFT claims that it will scientifically show how this will happen.Another ad claims that this was predicted in a book called 'The collected works of Edger Gayse world renowned seer' so R what are your thoughts on this. will be listening.

Actually, I was talking about the breakup of an ice shelf in Antarctica, South Pole, not North. In any case, there is no, absolutely no, way that the ice melting would be able to “flip” the Earth over and reverse its poles.

There are a variety of reasons why this won't happen, One big one is angular momentum. The Earth is rotating once a day, that's an angular velocity of about 15° per hour. The Earth masses out at about 6 · 1025 Kg. The Earth's angular momentum is about 7.1 x 1033 kg m2 s-1. What this means is that the Earth can be considered to be like a gigantic gyroscope. If you've ever tried to turn a gyroscope end for end while it's spinning you've noticed that it resists this maneuver. That resistance is related to its angular momentum. So turning the Earth “upside down” as relates to its poles would require an enormous application of force! Whatever else the melting ice might do it's not going to apply this much force to the Earth.

It should be pointed out that the Moon and the Sun also help to keep the Earth locked in its present orientation.

Antarctica, by the way, was once tropical, as evidenced by fossils found there. Add to that the fact that plate tectonics has moved the continents of this planet around all over the place over geological time and you can see that much larger forces have not “flipped” the poles in the past.

As for the magazine he showed you with ads for wacky books, anyone can write wacky books and advertise them. This is why scientists have peer reviewed journals for their publications, it separates them from the stuff that anyone can publish. If publishing a book was proof of whatever one said in the book we'd all be in quite a quandary, given the number of books that contradict each other.

Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was an old crazy guy whom I first heard about on long John Nebel's radio program when I was a kid. He seemed very exciting when I was in the 9 to 11 age range. However, Cayce's prediction regarding a “Doomsday” can be examined by anyone. He said that, “The Earth changes will start in the final years before the new Millennium, and the sea will cover the western part of our nation.” Last time I looked, California, Oregon and Washington were still there.

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

Back to the Back of the Book page

Back to my home page.

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