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

It's Sunday night 7/18/2004 21:09:31 and this page is done. Merry 4th! We had an entire two hour radio program this fortnight, unlike last time. We got to all of the below topics tonight, and we also got through a bunch of the mail on this program. My, but I cut a dashing figure below, don't I?.

The WBAI LSB will meet next on Wednesday, July 7th, at 6:30 PM-9:30 PM at the Theater for the New City in the small theater at 10th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan. This meeting will include public comment and is wheelchair-accessible.

Here are some video clips from our June 23, LSB meeting.

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.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed. Both feeds were working at 10:51 PM last night.

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 this was the program on which we talked about the 35th annual Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans Pride March which happened on June 27.

This year was unusual because the organizers, Heritage of Pride (HOP), decided to honor “Early '70s Activists.” I got a couple of letters from HOP inviting me to be on a float. The male ex really wanted us to both do this so I said I would.

The instructions I got from the HOP folks were to get to 52nd St. & 5th Ave. at 9:00 AM! I'm usually not awake at that hour of that day, much less arriving someplace. Of course I got to the venue late. But my reading of the situation was correct, the HOP folks didn't care that I was a bit late because while I was late to get to the venue I was also very early for the event itself.

R. Paul Martin in his anti-fashion uniform.

On the right you can see me as I was on the float, although Pickles of the North took this after it was all over. One of the Gay Activists Alliance (G.A.A.) members named Fred had some of the lambda T-shirts left over from the 25th anniversary of G.A.A. which was held in 1994. The lambda was the official symbol of G.A.A. A member named Tom Doerr had brought up the idea of using the lower case Greek letter lambda because he said that it symbolized constant activity. I never was able to find out where Tom got that reference from. In any case, this was voted in as G.A.A.'s official symbol on April 16, 1970, and it was one of my first votes in the organization. The lambda became the international symbol of gay liberation in 1973, at an international meeting in Scotland. It has long since been supplanted by the pink triangle and now the rainbow flag. But it was the first symbol of the gay liberation movement. G.A.A. had T-shirts made up with the lambda on it along with patches and maybe some other textile related stuff. The lambda was on the G.A.A. banner which we took to all demonstrations and was on all of our literature.

As a part of my anti-fashion statement I'm not only wearing the lambda T-shirt, which Fred was kind enough to give me, over my regular shirt, but I'm also wearing glittery rainbow braces to hold my pants up and a large Sun hat to keep me from burning. I have my lovely green gas mask bag as well. I must say it's a good thing that Fred only had XL sized T-shirts. When I wore the lambda T-shirts in the '70s, I was a size small and nothing like that huge belly ever stuck out over my belt in those days. These days I can't even wear a belt. I was quite the sight, but I didn't get burned by the intense sunlight at all.

It was interesting to see some people I hadn't seen in decades. Some are in delicate physical condition, some of us are just older, fatter and have less hair than we had 30 plus years ago.

There were two floats, and one was definitely the “A” float while the other was decidedly the “B” float. Of course I was on the “B” float, to be expected since I argued with everybody so much back in those days. Gosh, some things never change.

I got to see the male ex a little bit, although he was on the “A” float. It should also be noted that the “A” float had a canopy over it and the people in delicate physical condition were on that one where they could be sheltered from the Sun, which was really exhibiting that close-to-the-Solstice intensity that can only occur in June. Some of the more politically conservative old members of the Gay Activists Alliance were on the “A” float and they were in fine health.

As it was, however, I liked being on the “B” float! I was wearing my huge Sun hat and had my SPF 50 sun block with me. I was just fine with the intense sunlight. And I got to see folks and had an unobstructed view of the entire march route.

I was told that the main person who set up this deal with HOP honoring early '70s activists was a G.A.A. member. And I noticed that the float population was dominated by old G.A.A. members. It was noted that not many people from the old Gay Liberation Front (G.L.F.) were there, and the number of Stonewall Veterans was lower than has been usual for the past several years as well.

On the “A” float they had Frank Kameny, an activist from long before Stonewall. On the float I was on we had Randy Wicker, who carried a sign saying he'd been an activist since 1958, and Dick Leitsch who used to be the leader of the Mattachine Society, the premier “homophile” group of the pre-Stonewall movement. Wicker gained fame by being the first out gay person to go on broadcast media and use his own name and say that he was glad to be homosexual. He also became the first gay person ever to openly produce a gay radio program. Both of these breakthrough feats occurred on WBAI, by the way. We also had Bob Kohler of G.L.F. on the float. It was interesting that we were all able to just hang out there with each other.

About 34 years ago Leitsch and the Mattachine Society were saying that G.A.A. and G.L.F. were dangerous organizations that were going to really cause problems with this gay liberation insanity. G.A.A. was denouncing the Mattachine Society's preferences toward back room deals with politicians, which the politicians always reneged on. G.L.F. wanted to have The Revolution today, as opposed to tomorrow, and not everyone was pleased with everyone else. We had giant ideological and tactical disputes, but here we were sitting around on this float in the 21st Century not killing each other. One Stonewall veteran discussed with Dick Leitsch the impromptu meetings that had been held the day after and two days after the Stonewall riots themselves. Interesting to hear them talking about what they were doing while this big, iconic event was actually still going on.

I wasn't at the Stonewall, I was thousands of miles away at the time. But I did get to the Gay Activist Alliance meeting of March 26, 1970. That's when I came a gay activist. Back in those days it was commonplace to have folks around who had been at the Stonewall on the night of the raid. Years later some people would try to claim to have been there who weren't really there. They frequently got called on their deceptions by one Ed Murphy, who had been the bouncer at The Stonewall on the night of the raid. The Stonewall Inn, to give it it's full name, had been a Mafia run bar, as were just about all gay bars in New York City in 1969, and Mr. Murphy was the unapologetic employee of the Mafiosi who ran the Stonewall. His gruff demeanor and good memory tended to keep spurious claims of having been at the Stonewall that night to a minimum. Mr. Murphy passed away some years ago and the population of the Stonewall veterans exploded. Given the percentage of gay men from that era who have survived it's rather obvious that the Stonewall couldn't have held the number of people claiming to be Stonewall veterans. There's not a lot of vetting going on about this anymore.

Our float had valid Stonewall veterans on it though. One of the folks on our float was someone whom I know was at the Stonewall because he'd talked about it back in 1970, and because the other folks who are documented as having been there acknowledge his presence at the event. He was actually one of the rioters outside. I won't give his current name, but we used to know him as Ruth Smith. He was a really flamboyant street transvestite back in those days. On this 35th anniversary float he and I talked about our diabetes and remembered old pals and were generally glad that we'd both survived to this date.

I have to say that a float at the front of the march moves a hell of a lot faster than marchers way back in the line of the march. We left right at noon, and the float moved down to about 40th Street in around 15 minutes. When marching it usually takes about an hour and a half of marching to get to that point. In fact the entire event only lasted about two and a quarter hours for our float. Loads and loads of people lined the march route, waving to us. Interestingly, the bigots' counter demonstration, which has been confined to one side street for decades and which has been shrinking for years, wasn't even there this year! Maybe the bigots got lives.

Unfortunately, the route of the march got changed a little bit at the very end. Pickles of the North was waiting with her camera at what the police and HOP officials had said was the place on Christopher St. where the floats would turn off. But at the last minute they changed their minds and turned the float off a block early! Pickles was trapped by the crowd and the police barriers and couldn't get up to where we did turn. She'd so wanted a photograph of me on that float! It's probably the only time I'll ever be on a float in the march.

So this was a unique Pride March for me. And I got to see old pals, and old opponents, again. I hope that if such a thing is done again there's more outreach and more old farts get contacted to show up for an old farts' contingent. There are a lot more people I'd like to see again.

We'll talk a little bit tonight about probes at both Mars and Saturn. Now this is the 21st Century!

On the program I read an editorial from the May issue of Scientific American . The title of the editorial is Bush-League Lysenkoism and it compares George W. Bush's interference in scientific research to that of Stalin's favorite fraud Trofim Denisovich Lysenko [1898-1976] who was responsible for a lot of people starving to death.

We got to a little bit of mail on this program, too. Here are the E-mails that we read on the air.

Subject: Is this “appropriate” for your on-air mail bag?
Date: Sat, 8 May 2004 00:28:37 -0300
To: rpm@glib.com

Considering all the “Angry Young Man” mail that I've sent in the past 'X' weeks, who do have to “shtupp” at WBAI to get a show (almost like yours), or should I fughgeddabowdit?!? Awaiting your answer,

Jeez, Zig-Man I don't think there's any radio program worth having to do that with people at WBAI! You could always try the WBAI Program Council though.

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 01:50:50 -0300
To: rpm@glib.com

According to "The Old Farmers Almanac (2004),"[http://www.almanac.com/] the Full Moons remaining for the year are:
3 June @ 00:20*
2 July @ 07:09*
31 July @ 14:05*
29 August @ 22:22*
28 September @ 09:09*
27 October @ 23:07*
26 November @ 15:07
26 December @ 10:06
((*=EDT) All times local to Boston, Mass.)
Hope these help you out.
All my best,
PS- I hope you like my new pic!

Regular listener and correspondent ZIG-MAN sends us a picture of himself with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. Gotta watch that smoking business, ZIG-MAN!

And, finally, we have this from Bubbles.

Subject: Your May 10 Show
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 10:47:26 -0400
From: bubbles
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R Paul,

The page for the show has been “404 - not found” since Sunday night for some reason.

As far as the problems you mentioned in getting a package delivered, would you mind sharing with the listeners (or just me) the ZIP code of your Post Office? Mine is 11218 and I've had the same sort of problems for over a decade. Since I worked nights I would be home for the alleged deliveries had they actually been attempted; instead, all I got were a bunch of pink notices. Discussing it with the carrier supervisor about three years ago, I was told that for residential deliveries in “certain neighborhoods” they don't bother to attempt the first delivery: they just make out the form and give it to the carrier. If you want the package actually delivered you can call and make arrangements to be home for it, or, preferably, you can go to the Post Office, wait on line, and pick it up yourself, which is certainly easier and cheaper for them than for you. The idea is that most people work or go to school days and the Post Office doesn't want to waste its Parcel Post drivers' time attempting deliveries when nobody's home, so they send out those bogus notices just to inform you that there's a package.

(Incidentally, under some circumstances they make those forms out in advance. Have you ever received one on the 10th of the month claiming they'd attempted delivery on the 12th? I have. Generally with certified mail. It seems they don't trust anyone but the regular carriers with such “accountable” items, so if you don't have a regular carrier, or the carrier is on leave, they won't deliver it at all, no matter how many times you call them. All you get is another pink form.)

I've had a fair number of packages go missing too. Some were returned prematurely to the senders, some just disappeared, and some (which may be what happened in your case) the Post Office claimed were left with a neighbor. Have you checked with your neighbors?

I hope they find your package. I avoid having packages sent to me through the Post Office because of problems like these, and try to stick with FedEx or UPS if at all possible.

The page was working, and still is; you can get a “404” from any of several sources. Sometimes there's some Internet “weather” between you and the server, sometimes there can be a temporary problem with the server, or with your ISP or computer. The important thing is to completely refresh your browser window when you try to look at the page again. Most browsers read a page once and then store that reading for the rest of the session. So you're liable to just keep getting the same “404” warning loaded up again and again because that's what the browser saw the first time it loaded that page, and it keeps loading that as the page. If you refresh your browser you make it actually load whatever data it's currently able to get from the page you've accessed. So if the “404” was temporary you'll get the real page if you refresh the browser.

Yeah, I've gotten most of those experience with the Post Office. They just don't want to deliver packages, although after that incident, and my use of my Post Office Box, there haven't been any more problems like that. They're usually good for weeks after something like that happens.

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

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Back to my home page.

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