Web links related to the Back of the Book program of May 12, 2003

Oh, good grief, it's Sunday evening 5/25/2003 19:17:12 and I'm only just getting this page finished. We're a little graphics heavy this time around, but I'm sure most modems can handle it. We talked about the below topics and some more on the program. We did some of the mail, and the E-mails are below. And this is just about the gloomiest May in years.

Here is the latest on the saga of Pacifica. The big meeting of the interim Pacifica National Board was held March 7-9, in Los Angeles, CA, to discuss and possibly even pass the new bylaws for the Pacifica Foundation. Well, it was a big flop, the various schemers sank the bylaws again. I'll be updating this link soon.

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 about 10:30 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.

I'm probably going to make Mozilla my default Web browser that I'll be mainly designing these Web pages for. It's very standards compliant so it shouldn't make much of a difference if you're using a different browser. It should be better than designing for Netscape 4.7x, which I'd been doing for quite some time.

I'm still having problems with my computer spontaneously re-booting itself. I am now thinking that it may be a physical problem with the computer itself. Since I spend so much time on the computer it's really a bother to have it malfunctioning like this.

The glorious Middle Third is here, but it's a gloomy one so far! I like the Middle Third of the year, the months of May, June, July and August, the best. But this year May has been so gloomy! I hope the rest of the Middle Third is a lot better than the first couple of weeks have been.

I did one of my blood sugar tests on the air again. Since I have diabetes now I have to do these tests on a regular basis, although I don't have to do them on the air. On this program by blood sugar was 87 milligrams per deciliter, which is just fine.

Of course we know that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is a bunch of thieves. They've gotten a judge to delay any kind of fare rollback of their 33.3% fare hikes for buses and subways owing to their having cooked the books. Now the MTA says they're at least going to give the proper change, which they haven't been bothering to do. Are we supposed to be grateful for not being cheated by these thieves even more?

Regular listeners will recall that I find horseshoe crabs fascinating. They used to cavort with the trilobites and eons later survived the dinosaurs. Part of how they accomplished all of this will be exhibited to anyone who cares to watch this month and next month on certain shores when the full Moon shines down on them.

Well, the great survivors probably did it again on Thursday, May 15th at Marine Park in Brooklyn. Pickles of the North and I wanted to attend this event, but it was raining and completely overcast before it so we didn't go. At around 9:00 PM (EDT), however, we saw the moon shining through the haze between a small break in the clouds. This was probably enough to trigger the horseshoe crabs' special moonlight receptors and they would have gone into a mating frenzy. So we missed it. We're hoping that the Parks Department will hold a similar event next month, we know that the horseshoe crabs will.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has finally lost one!

The RIAA sued Grokster and StreamCast Networks, which use the Morpheus peer-to-peer software, in an effort to put them out of business. The Morpheus software is used to trade music files, among many other things. But Judge Stephen Wilson of United States District Court found the peer-to-peer networks not guilty of copyright infringement. He said that they were no more guilty of copyright infringement than the companies that make VCRs.

The RIAA is also the bunch of villains who have effectively kept affordable digital recording from consumers in America. Everything you get now that will digitally record either costs a great deal of money, so only the RIAA members and some other large corporations can afford them, or else the technology is crippled by laws passed by the best Congress the RIAA's money can buy.

The RIAA says it's going to appeal this verdict, which probably means they're going to try to buy themselves a judge.

RIAA members, scared that they're not going to be able to buy enough judges, are also looking into ways of screwing up people's computers by sabotaging computers, networks and network connections, all in an effort to get back at anyone who might pirate their “intellectual property.” Of course the various Trojans, viruses and other nasty things they want to unleash on their potential customers are things which would get out into the general Internet. Experience has shown that such stuff cannot be contained. It will get out and infect a lot of innocent people's systems if the RIAA's members unleash their consultants.

Even using some of the malicious programs their contractors are concocting against real music pirates would be a violation of the law. It doesn't matter to the RIAA's big music companies though. They bought Congress Critter Howard L. Berman, (D) CA last year who introduced legislation that would exempt them from the laws against hacking! Of course the RIAA, it's pals and its bought legislators and judges call this “counter piracy.”

The RIAA claims it's losing $4.3 billion a year to piracy. I suspect this is a made up figure. On the other hand, the major record companies are busy ripping off the recording artists. So the idea that piracy hurts the artists isn't quite the case, it's the big record companies which are ripping off the artists. The big companies take all the money.

R. Paul with a majestic parachute jump in the background.

Pickles of the North did a report on some current events involving the world famous Coney Island Parachute Jump.

Our first photograph is one Pickles of the North took of me as evening approached one Autumn with the dormant but still assembled Parachute Jump in the background.

At the time of this program the Parachute Jump has been largely dismantled, supposedly for repairs and maintenance. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz says it's going to be reassembled, but he also says that it may be restored as a working ride. They're going to study the idea while it's in pieces.

This is crazy, the Parachute Jump is never going to be a ride again! The insurance premiums would be astounding. It was all right as a ride decades ago, but in those days people weren't suing each other for next to nothing. And the ride could result in the occasional bump or discomfort.

I can just imagine the scene when the fat kids who sued McDonald's because they were fat get onto the Parachute Jump ride, probably with their lawyers right next to them since there are two seats per parachute. They'd probably pig out on some of the fast junk food that's available in Coney Island from every greasy franchise operation in the world and puke when they got to the top of the ride. And then they'd sue the operators of the ride and the city for dropping them! And then there'd be the lawsuits from the people they'd puked on.

The World Famous Parachute Jump as it has beenThe current condition of the Parachute Jump

I'm sure others would sue for the bouncing they'd get at the bottom of the ride. “Oh! My back!” would become the new mantra for the wanna be rich. Others would claim to have dropped expensive jewelry or money at the top of the ride and others will demand compensation for hats, etc. that got blown off on the way down.

After a short while lawyers would get tired of just standing around at the ride's exit waiting for business and they'd rent office space right at the base of the Parachute Jump. As a sideline they'd probably sell shares in the office space to suckers as part of a Real Estate Investment Trust.

More influential lawyers would get the city to establish a special Parachute Jump Court right on the Coney Island Boardwalk, so the judges can enjoy a nice view of the water as they take their bribes.

On the left we have a photograph taken of the Parachute Jump in 2002, when it was still fully assembled. On the right is a photograph of the mostly dismantled Parachute Jump as it was a couple of weeks before our program.

The Parachute Jump was originally a part of the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadow, Queens. In 1940, after the World's Fair fell apart as a result of poor planning, Great Depression economics and World War II, the Parachute Jump was moved to its present location on the Boardwalk at Coney Island. It's been a landmark there ever since, showing the location of Coney Island from afar not only to we Brooklynites but even to those approaching New York City from the Atlantic Ocean.

We have a good news update on this story. After the program, Pickles of the North went to Coney Island again and she reports that the Parachute Jump is partly reassembled, so it looks like it won't just be demolished after all. We're certainly hoping that this decades old monument will survive all of this maintenance and improvement.

And we got to some of the mail on this program. We read some snail mail letters, and we present here the E-mail that we read on the air. We begin with the second half of an E-mail we started on the previous program.

Subject: Hello & some remarks
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 03:52:04 -0800
From: Simon
To: rpm@glib.com

<The first half of this E-mail was read on the previous program>

But enough about that.

Coming to Saddam Hussein, I find it sad that you think the US has the right to clean up his regime because he is a nasty guy. I wish if that was the case; that the US would clean up every nasty government all over the world. I wish they would have done something about the military Junta that ran my birth country between 1967 and 1974. I don't know how many Americans know the feeling of the rumbling of tanks on city streets, which one feels in one's house or apartment. Or the breaking up of a card game asan illegal assembly. Or the sudden arrest of people for no apparent reason. That's a dictatorship and Americans don't know how it feels. That's why perhaps the Patriot Act is going over so well in the US. I have heard you being alarmed at these developements in our new security state. Yet this relatively quick reduction of democracy is what America has brought to other people around the world since its becoming a world power. Now , since 9/11 there is an excuse for every kind of restriction. You know the details...The building up of Saddam, or al Qaida as a world power is a necessary fiction to allow for this internal tightening in the US and, I inform you, every where else. Because the US is influencing countries everywhere, even ones that are nominally ant American.

Perhaps you grew up with a sense of America as a country which beat the bad guys and brought good things to the lives of everyone. I grew up, a little later, with a sense of America exercising gun-boat diplomacy right accross from the beach where I would swim as a kid. With the aforementioned tank rumblings, with my father being asked why he is carrying a communist newspaper when he was holding the equivalent of the New York Times...And that was really nothing. Just atmosphere. Others got exiled, lost parents, children , got tortured, died, all in the American effort to not allow my country to become communist. Not that it would have been any better, we saw what happened to them as well.

Perhaps I am running a bit long, and I have bored you. To sum up, Saddam will nor be replaced by anybody better, because the main concern of the US is not democracy for Iraqis, Kurds, Turks or anybody else (now it seems , not even Americans!). The war is about resources (oil?) and personal gain (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al). Should anybody who is not a blood relation of the above participate in this war? For what benefit? Maybe a $15,000 tax break on an SUV for one's business? Perhaps.

I hope I have not become annoying. Be well, and I hope your show keeps going. There is little in the world of radio like it.

Take care


I never said “the US has the right to clean up [Saddam Hussein's] regime.” As for the US going about doing so to every other nation state in the world, you may yet get your wish!

I said I was ambivalent about the war. I don't like it, but I wondered if it could prevent Pickles of the North, me and lots of our listeners getting killed by some bunch of idiots intent on murdering infidels so they can get into their version of Heaven.

We've seen since the end of the major part of the war in Iraq that the Hussein regime did in fact make wholesale murder a daily policy. I can't feel bad about that having been stopped. Of course who knows how long it will be before another regime comes in and does the same thing? I said back in March that I was concerned that no one seemed to be looking ahead to who might take over Iraq after the Ba'ath Party was gone.

As for Al Quaida, et al., I do not think they're fictional. We have a large, empty space a few blocks west of WBAI's studios to remind us of the reality of that organization. There don't seem to be any simple issues in this overall war scenario.

I'm glad Simon hopes we keep on broadcasting, I'll do my best to hang in there.

Our next correspondent clears up the mystery of where the diabetes testing supplies came from a couple of months ago. Also, my condolences to him for his loss.

In the next part he is actually talking about one of the fill in programs Uncle Sidney, Pickles of the North and I did a couple of months ago after Back of the Book was over. Uncle Sidney read a story about a brouhaha in Crown Heights where a guy who runs a fish market claimed that a fish that was being cut up to become canned gefilte fish had spoken in Hebrew predicting The End of the World. I, of course, considered this another manifestation of superstitious nonsense.

Subject: Those Superstitious Fishes
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 14:08:09 EST
From: Black Lotus
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul --

In Re: Back of the Book's March 17th show -- and Sidney's save of No Mo Radio...

MEDS IN THE MAILBOX -- I'm glad to know you could use the lancets. My mother, also a diabetic, passed away in February. Uncle Ken Gale was paying a condolence call to my family, and when my sister asked, “What'll we do with all of Mom's diabetes paraphernalia?” both Ken and I blurted out -- “We'll give it to R. Paul!”

THOSE SUPERSTITIOUS FISHES -- I never much fancied gefilte fish. The prospect of opening a jar and having the carp instruct us (in Hebrew!) to start praying is pretty frightening. Can we get a second opinion from the whitefish and the pike? (Or from the Redi-Jell broth and the boiled carrot?) Larry Josephson was on WBAI earlier on Sunday, alluding to the talking carp, and said John Cleese has optioned a new movie script, “A Fish Called Moishe.”

Next we'll have cows chatting us up in the slaughterhouses, telling us to go vegan and chant Hare Krishna...

FRONTIER GYNOCOLOGIST, AT YOUR CERVIX -- Gary Null is nervous enough that 'BAI has cut his show on Wednesdays, R. Paul. He'll freak if you start giving medical advice to fellow broadcasters on your show. Bernard, turn your head and cough! On “The Pacifica Proctologist,” R. Paul Martin discovers where a number of 'BAI radio personalities have misplaced their heads. Nurse Pickles, prepare the stirrups -- we're going in!

(I'm alluding to the Saddlepals, of course.) If Uncle Sidney is going to ride into town wearing his sherbet-pink bridesmaid's gown, he's gonna have to ride side-saddle. I'm appalled at the notion that you and Pickles are considering getting hitched (Whoa, Nelly!) -- but I'd love to see the wedding party photos!

WHEN BOTULISM RULED THE EARTH -- I dug out my old Geology textbook. What was that period before oxygen polluted the atmosphere -- the Gooeyzoic?

Take time to listen to the fish,

-- Len/ Black Lotus

Next we got a couple of suggestions regarding my wiped out bookmarks problem on my browser.

Subject: Browser suggestion
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 21:26:27 -0800
From: "Will"
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

Sorry to hear that Mozilla wiped out your bookmarks. You might want to try the Opera browser: http://www.opera.com It keeps all its bookmarks in a single file, formatted as plain text. This makes it simple to back up, or read with a text editor. The free version of Opera does contain ad-ware, but it's fairly innocuous security-wise, and you can just block it with your firewall (if ya so please).

Happy middle third!

Bill from Avenue J

Subject: bookmarks
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 12:05:36 -0500
From: Bill From Jamaica
To: rpm@glib.com

R. Paul, I thought I lost my bookmarks (and e-mail) when I was forced to upgrade my Netscape browser when my web provider Verizon changed its system.

I didn't. Only the path was changed. See if your old Mozilla bookmarks are still in a file on your hard drive. If they are go into the Mozilla program and update the path.

This is one reason I don't upgrade unless forced to.

One other point. If your bookmark or e-mail files are large, they can be placed in any directory on the hd. Just remember to change the path. (You can also move most cache files.)

Hope this helps. Regards to POTN.

Jamaica, NY

Next we have a tip regarding yet another problem I ran into with “upgrading” software on the computer.

Subject: I like the program
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 23:05:38 -0400
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear [R. Paul]:I hope your program is on for many more years,I also Would like to give you a tip for the nero buring rom. Its not compatible with older soft ware or some operarting sytems.Also If you What to Get a new tape Recorder Or some thing like that try e-bay Amzon.com.

e-maile me.at:___________________. PS: if you dont what to upgrade your browser try installing another vertion on a difrrent drive.

Yeah, I'm leery of E-bay and other auction sites, although I may try to buy an ISA network card for a low cost in the next fortnight to fix yet another computer problem I'm having. I need to get data off some really ancient hard drives, and using the home network would be the best way to do it, if I can get a cheap card for the old clunkers.

Next we have a cell phone user who's messages appear to be getting truncated by his carrier.

Subject: anti-war celebs
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 01:52:41 -0800

R. Paul, the 3-16-03 NY Post recently cast celebrities against war in the pergorative; my own e-mail to them follows...

Subject: antiwar celebs.
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 01:55:17 -0800

How about an article about holders of USA debt; aka the benificiaries of the Feder'l Rsrv.; call it exhibit A Pro-War Celebs

Keith thinks I'm a big war monger. Oh well, people are allowed to hold their opinions of me, no matter what they are. I did not advocate killing and murder with ease. But again, Keith is free to hold that opinion. I was talking about the murder of captured American prisoners of war, and I told about how that sort of thing is viewed and how it's traditionally dealt with. As for pulling the trigger, I'd have no problem blowing away Osama Bin Laden or any of his gang. No problem at all.

Subject: war talk.
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 15:21:03 -0500
From: keith
To: rpm@glib.com

evidently, you do airchecks. so listen to yourself last night. kind of like a common war monger. i have on question for you. you advocate killing and murder with some ease. beyond any practical considerations as regards your being there, are you so inclined to pull the triggers you would have others pull?
keith roach

Next we have a missive from a regular listener and correspondent regarding some stuff I did on a program where I talked about war propaganda and disinformation.

Subject: Axis Sally...
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 00:40:00 EST
From: Sharon, the Wicked Witch of the East (Side)
To: rpm@glib.com

...gave me a good laugh. There's just something about hearing those racial slurs in her cultivated Eleanor Roosevelt-type accent that's totally ludicrous. Obviously the Nazis had no idea what kind of propaganda would work on non-Germans. Do you know what happened to her after the war?

Quite by accident I just started to read Barbara Tuchman's “The Proud Tower,” about the years leading up to World War I. One chapter deals with the origins of the American Empire almost exactly a century ago, when we set out to “liberate” the Cubans and Filipinos from their cruel Spanish masters. At the same time, of course, we had to liberate the Hawaiians from, well, themselves (we already had a Naval coaling station at Pearl Harbor in 1895, but we had to take the whole island group). At least back then, imperialists like Theodore Roosevelt were more honest about their intentions than the pirates running the present war. And of course, the first World War was followed by a worldwide influenza epidemic that killed millions. I hope history isn't about to repeat itself. People went about the streets with surgical masks on, just like the ones being worn by people in China. It didn't seem to help.

Take care, stay well, eat right, enjoy the spring, and best regards to Ms. Ofthenorth.

Sharon, the Wicked Witch of the East (Side)

In 1898, Hawaii was going to be grabbed by either the USA or the Japanese Empire. The Americans grabbed it then, subsequently the Japanese have bought most of the coastline.

Ms. Mildred Gillars, who was better known as Axis Sally, was arrested in 1947, and charged with 10 counts of treason. She was found guilty on one count and sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, an enormous sum in those days. She was paroled in 1961, and became a teacher. She died in 1988.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to 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 are copyright © 2003, R. Paul Martin.