Web links related to the Back of the Book program of July 22, 2002

It's Sunday, 8/4/2002 20:01:03 and this page is finished in time for people who are looking for the next program's page to see! Oh, we got the air conditioner, okay? I got to the topics below on the program as well as a bunch of the mail. Since I knew what piece of E-mail I was going to open up with I figured I'd break with tradition and post it here before the program. People could read along and see what I skipped over on the air. And of course I've now posted all of the other E-mail I read on the air. Don't let the different tenses of verbs below throw you, different parts of this page were written at different times.

Here is the latest on the saga of Pacifica. There was a big meeting of the interim Pacifica National Board in June in Berkeley, CA. I have a link to notes from a listener who was there.

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.

Here's the WBAI schedule. Don't blame me if it's not accurate, I didn't make it up I'm only relaying it.

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 9:56 PM last night. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.

Pickles of the North has prevailed and we got our air conditioner on the 100th anniversary of the invention of such beasts. Installing it became a 2 day adventure.

Some scientists have created a man-made polio virus. They made it “from scratch” to warn everyone that this was no longer science fiction. Great.

After an incident with an El Al aeroplane over the Ukraine on July 4, some folks are wondering about the tensions the whole world is under right now. Some natural phenomenon could trigger an exchange that might make, or destroy, history.

We experimented with posting the first piece of E-mail below before the program aired because I knew we'd get to it. No complaints so far! We also read some hard copy mail on the program, but as always only the E-mail will get posted.

Below, Fernando calls sellers of collectibles thieves and then recounts his adventures in switching price tags on comic books so that they'd be more affordable. And of course I redacted his E-mail on the air, since it's posted in full here you can see what I didn't read and you can probably tell why I didn't read it.

Subject: A Missive On Collectibles!
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 21:10:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R,

I am a collector of many different collectibles. All my life I have been buying many different things like old books, adult magazines, comic books and cameras. Now that the warm weather is here I will be hitting all of the collectibles shows and flea markets I can find in search of some real treasures. I am, however, disturbed at the soaring prices that the dealers are asking for these collectibles. They are sharks, R, and I can't stand it. I have over twenty old cameras including a few Brownie Hawkeyes and a Kodak.

When I was a kid, I used to go to this old book store to buy old comic books. The book store was owned by a young guy who walked with a limp and looked dirty. He, however, often left his old mother in charge of the store and, R, that was the best time to go. His mother was a crazy old broad who did not know what the Hell was going on. She wore her hair in curlers and had rotted teeth. Most of the time she was either watching TV or eating a chicken. While this filthy old bag was in her own world it was very easy to peel the price tag off of the old comics and switch an expensive price tag for a more affordable one. The old expensive comics wwere in plastic bags with the prices written on stickers stuck to them. I did this often and that old smelly nut was never wise to me. She was nice and she would joke around with the kids but she was a dirty loon and I couldn't stand her. To this day, I remain the proud owner of several old comics bought through this system. I once tried this at a different store and I was caught by a girl who worked there. She threw me out and told me never to go back. That girl was a real jerk and I was glad when, a few years ago, the store went out of business. Rest assured, Martin, I have matured and I no longer do this sort of thing. Looking at the prices dealers are charging for their goods, however, makes me wish there were kids out there who continued in my tradition. These snakes deserve it. Twenty dollars for a fifteen year old adult magazine is a damn crime.

R, I have a criticism about your show. I think it is very unprofessional of you to allow your girlfriend to comment on the air about your listeners especially when it is derogatory and the listener has contributed money. It looks bad, R. Paul. Casey Kasem never lets Jean Kasem go on the air during America's Top Forty to make fun of the long-distance dedication. Your show is better when you are solo and away from any negative influences. Please leave the girlfriend at home making you your lunch. Be more like Casey.

As for the accusation that I write to you out of a desire for attention, I am sorry but that does not hold water. While I am an ardent fan, and I mean no offense, no one I know listens to your show or would be willing to stay up so late just for a laugh. I always regarded our exchanges as a public conversation between two men with similar interests but with differing viewpoints. I hope, R, that this respect will be reciprocated. I have contributed money to your show. I believe I am owed.
Thank you,

Florham Park, NJ

Pickles of the North is a part of the program and is welcome to air her darts at Fernando's sexism.

Subject: Re:
Date: Sat, 8 Jun 2002 20:36:13 -0400
From: rich
To: rpm@glib.com

hey R ..............i remember you once spoke of a woman who taped the show on a half speed tape recorder , i went to JandR music world but they didnt seem to have any idea what i was talking about ,is this some sort of antique.or is this a regular recorder that you modify .......sinse some of the programs i listen to have been bumped to latenight i know ill need a device like this . the guys on 'nuff said' 'spoke of the vcr to radio set up but were not specific. any thoughts on this? will be listening.

Yes, a company used to sell a recorder that recorded on regular audio cassettes at one quarter speed. More than one Back of the Book listener has used this machine. They've stopped making the original machine that did this, but they have a new quarter speed cassette recorder and they have a small player for it too. So folks who want to get one of these, and walk around in the daylight listening to me fumfer about over and over again on rewind, can do so again.

Subject: Get the lead out + tube bulbs = WTC
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 18:25:34 +0900
From: Alan
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi R. Paul (date is 2002 June 09)

i have heard an interview on wbai about a guy who investigated how many forescent light bulbs in both twin towers, after many months he was told about 50,000. He also checked the light bulb companies and found that each long (maybe 6 foot) tube bulb has from 3mg to 8mb (micro or milli grams) of mercury. that show was around June 2 or so.

if you ever seen a long tube bulb fall and brake, many people would say, watch out for the white power, do not bread it, it is poision.

then on around June 7 or so, might of been on the PC Computer Radio Show, one guy said that there is 6lb. of lead in each monitor. The CRT (heavy glass babies), not the current LCDs that are becoming the standard.

i think most people who worked in the WTC had one CRT or one LCD, some had more than one. so we can guess that there were also 50,000 CRTs that got burned or broken.

the air around the WTC and maybe in Brooklyn too, for a few months must of had lots of lead and mercury in it. so, why did the news and other people, not sure, but you know who you are, told people in 2001, December, come out and go shopping, even in downtown Mahattan, be a real (North) American and buy stuff.

also mamny people said, back then, let's get back to normal, go out and don't let the smoke of the WTC bother you.


As I reported in October 2001, when I was able to get back into WBAI after a previous General Manager kept the station broadcasting out of a secret location, one issue was “The Smell.” The remains of the World Trade Center burned for about four months after the attacks. Most of the thousands who were killed in the buildings were cremated by this fire, and it smelled that way. There was also a whole lot of burning plastic and other office stuff. On top of that, lower Manhattan also had a thick coating of dust from the Twin Towers' collapse. This dust was full of pulverized concrete, with lots of silicates, very fine asbestos particles and various other things that we'll probably never know about mixed in. So breathing that stuff in was not good for any of us.

As for the fluorescent lamps, however, Alan repeats some obsolete wisdom.

Powdered beryllium salts used to be used to coat the insides of fluorescent lamps. However, owing to the problem that some people are very susceptible to Berylliosis its use in those lamps was stopped in 1951. We can be certain that no beryllium salt coated lamps we installed in the World Trade Center. If such lamps had been in use then we would really have had more of a disaster because Berylliosis is a nasty disease.

As for the lead and other heavy elements, they would have precipitated out of the air pretty rapidly, although it was a hazard for those who were on the spot on September 11th.

Subject: A good man
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 20:31:36 -0400
From: Bill in Manhattan
To: rpm@glib.com

I suppose you may be planning to say a few words about the late Stephen Jay Gould. I'm sure that a lot of your listeners may have formed some impression, my own is fairly positive but I want to be a little careful because my own knowledge in the sciences is marginal at best ... I do like it when people talk about their special areas of knowledge and there was an extremely entertaining program on PBS entitled “A Glorious Accident” which featured interviews with Gould and others. I guess I'm really asking your opinion on how good you think that particular program was. Finally, a few months ago I saw a story on a recent series of photographs taken by the Hubbell telescope ... just great to look at ... and the story said that the camera was pointed to area in space so far away, that it was as if the focus of the shot was the size of two grains of sand held out at arm's distance. If I got that right, it's a sobering thought for the likes of me, as much as I do like my slurp of brandy before bedtime. Well, here's to the late Prof. Gould, he started out in snails I believe but he crossed the finish line in good style, as good teachers usually do.

Subject: Stephen Jay Gould R.I.P.
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 13:16:39 -0400
From: Bill in Manhattan
To: rpm@glib.com

Oh I'm sorry, I kept that nice and short and then forgot to add my name at the end. No big deal, but I did enjoy that PBS show with Gould and the others -- I especially liked his comment to the effect that he thought Rupert Sheldrake totally wrong but he once had him on exhibit in his class. I would also like to thump my chest and say that I gave ten dollars during the last fund drive -- and I am inclined to think that I may do so again. You realize, of course, I gave ten times that amount to the RNC on behalf of the election of Ronald Reagan. If you get money out of me, that's something, you've worked for it. And I am being perfectly serious when I say that what I as a conservative derive from the station is a closer understanding and loyalty to my friends who differ from me in their thinking. I think this is pretty damned important in life. Ye gods, when I was out in California last year I was talking to my family about the station and one night I had a nightmare in which I had my own show on BAI (the Tory Hour, no doubt) -- but the dream wasn't very detailed and in real life I've never spent one minute trying to persuade other people how to vote. If worse comes to worse, and our beloved FBI goes and hauls the entire membership into the clink, I'll be the one screaming, "But, officer, this is all a mistake!" The hell of it is, they do have better things to do. And here's hoping that they really will be better for the criticism. Best wishes, Bill in Manhattan.

Unfortunately I didn't see that PBS program. Gould was a good guy though, in my opinion. He definitely fought the good fight against the forces of superstition that want to take science out of the classroom.

Thanks for contributing, and I'm glad you like the program. I invite everyone to listen.

Subject: Happy Summer!
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 16:21:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Susan Not From Long Island
To: rpm@glib.com

No, I haven't bought a lap top. I'm hanging out in VA listening to the iPNB meeting over the net. I say eh...we'll see. Things have been and hopefully won't get worse.

Better a day late than never. No secret code I'm just talking about how it's now the second day of summer.

Take Care,


P.S. I can't even imagine why you would want to read this on the air, but it's your show. Even with the unofficial name change.

Yes, I covered the interim Pacifica National Board meeting on a previous program. And as I said, I am not optimistic about Pacifica or WBAI these days. The name change Susan referred to above is the listing of this program on the first “program grid” issued by Management in June, where the program was listed as “Back of the Bus.” A slip to be sure, but Freudian?

These next two, I think, are actually from the listener who signs himself as “Mr. Charm.”

Subject: mail
Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 14:36:57 -0400
From: "Mary"
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear Boy:
We love your show for a variety of reasons- you being first and foremost. However, we also love mail- it is a primary and not an ancillary aspect of Back of the Book (yes, you are the host, but a show like yours is, in a way, symbiotic- your listeners, in a way, shape your show), so please don't ignore mail. Please don't develpo a new “missive jam!” Please don't repeat that debacle!
Love to you both.

Subject: my mistake!!
Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 20:51:58 -0400
From: "Mary"
To: rpm@glib.com

O one!
Truly, the primary reason for your show is what you decide- missives are indeed ancillary-but they are important!! We adore your fan-mail. My earlier e-mail was - what, incorrect as to category- morphology??? Also, please have Pickel's web-site address easily posted on your web-site- I am interested in her views. Do I sound demanding? Sorry, I am just an avid fan.
Again, I am

I will continue to make the reading of the mail a part of the program, as I always have. And I do not want to get into another mail backlog! The previous mail backlog was more bothersome for me than it was for you.

Subject: Eclipse
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 03:58:16 -0400
From: steve
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi R. Paul,
I was just about to tell my niece about the penumbral eclipse that you mentioned for this afternoon. I went to this site for details: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2002Jun24N.gif I really don't understand most of the data but, the world map clearly shows disappointing prospects for us U.S. viewers.
I hope you may find this site useful.
All bestest,
PS: There are very few things better than ice cold Nestlé's Quick :-P Yum

D'oh! Steve was right and I did blow that lunar eclipse timing. It was not visible to folks in the WBAI listening area. Thanks to Steve for correcting that.

As for Nestlé's Quik, I'm drinking a quart of it right now! Yum indeed!

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