Web links related to the Back of the Book program of December 8, 2003

It's Sunday afternoon 1/4/2004 16:14:33 and this page is finally done! All I really had to do was put in some of the final E-mails, but that took long enough. This page is done. So the interim Pacifica National Board did it again! But they got stopped by a lawyer who acquainted them with reality. We got to the below topics and also did a bunch of mail on this program.

Okay, the only thing that counts now is the fact that Pacifica is finally running elections! Find out more details regarding these elections here. These elections will determine what happens to the Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, and WBAI from now on.

Mr. Roger Manning from the listener group Coalition for a democratic Pacifica New York (CdPNY) attended and has posted his notes from the meetings, along with other documents on the group's Web site.

As of September 15, 2003, the Pacifica Foundation has new bylaws! More about that here.

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 10:34 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.

On this program we will again read a little bit from the book The Mistakes We Make which was published in 1898. More experimental radio stuff here.

On Sunday December 7, the lame duck interim Pacifica National Board held a meeting where they passed the following motion by a 6 to 3 margin: “The iPNB, pursuant to the authority granted to the board of directors in the bylaws to change the membership contribution amount from time to time, hereby sets the minimum membership contribution at $5 for purposes of this Delegate election only, effective retroactively as of the record date of November 21, 2003.”

Motion Passed 6 YES -- Barnstone, Brazon, Bryant, Byrd, Laforest, Robinson 3 NO - Cagan, Fertig, Spooner

This is all according to the draft minutes of this meeting rendered by iPNB Secretary Carol Spooner.

This is seen by many people as another attempt by these iPNB members to derail the elections which are already happening. Mr. Ted Friedman of WBAI's sister station KPFA's Local Advisory Board, writing as an individual and not as the LABa Chair, has written the following E-mail.

Subject: [NewPacifica] For shame!
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 15:59:26 EST
From: TdFriedman
To: radiofreepacifica@yahoogroups.com, NewPacifica@yahoogroups.com

Letter I just sent to the iPNB:

Dear iPNB members --

I have avoided strong language in communicating with you until now, but I just listened to the webcast of your meeting this morning in which you had the undisguised gall to attempt to sabotage the election process already underway by retroactively changing the definitions of members of the corporation.

I am so angered by this brazen effort to undermine our legitimate election process that I can no longer contain my feeling. This is one of the most shameful and craven dereliction of responsibility and trust I have witnessed.

Pacifica is facing an enormous financial crisis, and this vote will only cause further legal expenses that the corporation can ill afford, and will also cause great confusion and disorder. By this vote, you have discredited yourselves as officers of Pacifica.

I can only conclude your ham-handed, ill-informed and obstructionist vote is a last desperate attempt to prevent yourselves from being replaced in a fair democratic election.

For shame!

~ Ted Friedman
Vice Chair, KPFA LAB

Of course WBAI is in a serious financial crunch right now. So not only is this something that will screw up the elections but it's also going to have a negative impact on WBAI's attempt to dig itself out of the current crisis. Great going, iPNB.

UPDATE: I'm glad to report that the attorney that the iPNB consulted told them that they could not retroactively declare people voting members of Pacifica in this manner, and so this potential mess has been averted.

Some scientists say they have found a link between the mysterious dark energy that's accelerating the expansion of the universe and discrepancies between the fine structure constant long ago and the value of that same constant now. Well, this links some things together that I don't think anyone had thought of before.

Here's their paper


In other spacey news, what hit the International Space Station? NASA is asking the Pentagon to find out. We all know what it must be though, don't we?

The Mars Odyssey radiation experiment got hit with a bit more than it could chew!

Because I was able to place some bribes in strategic places the Winter Solstice will be hosted by the next Back of the Book program! That is, it will occur on December 22, 2003 at 2:04 AM (ET).

And we got through some of the mail on the program. We start with an E-mail from Seth, a regular listener, correspondent and contributor to the program. And in fact Seth did tally for our rogue pitching shift program on October 27th.

Subject: Do you need a phone volunteer for this Sunday?
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 18:10:55 EDT
From: Seth
To: rpm@glib.com

Let me know if you need a phone volunteer for this Sunday-Monday's show.

Thank you!


Subject: Greenwich Observatory
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 18:32:55 EDT
From: Seth
To: rpm@glib.com

On your website, I saw the picture of Fred at the 0 degree meridian, and you mention the “defunct” Greenwich Observatory. What happened? It was a world-renown institution--How could they give it up??

Also, do you remember "Zero Zero Island"? It was an island located supposedly at the intersection of the 0 degree latitude and 0 degreee longditute lines--the headquarters of that early 60's cartoon hero, Colonel Bleep.

Respectfully yours,

I did a program about the Greenwich Observatory closing some years ago. They have since renamed it the Royal Observatory Greenwich and it's still open to tourists and operates mostly as a museum.

As for Colonel Bleep, I remember him well! Even though I was a little bit old for it this was a cartoon that I found somewhat fascinating, in concept if not in execution. It actually started in 1956, and I was surprised to learn recently that it was in color! I only had black & white TV sets to watch back in those days. Seth is a lot younger than I, but Colonel Bleep continued as a segment on various TV programs well into his youth.

Subject: East River Bridgecrossing
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 04:41:19 EDT
From: Tim
To: rpm@glib.com

You mentioned walking the Brooklyn Bridge recently and are thinking of crossing Williamsburg. You may also walk across the Manhatten Bridge on its restored path on the south side. When work is done there will be sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. George Washington Bridge has a walkway .. The bridge to Riis Park at the south end of Flatbush Avenue has a sidewalk .The mayor favors adding one on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

I have indeed walked across the George Washington Bridge, and walked most of the way across the Marine Parkway Bridge one foggy day back in about 1967, or so. As I got to the Queens end of the bridge I saw a cop in some sort of booth. I thought that maybe this was a toll booth or something and that I might be charged for walking the bridge, I also didn't really want to be attracting police attention just then, so I turned around and walked back. Ah, youth.

Subject: Yahoo! News Story - Solar Storm Barrels Toward Earth
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 15:05:28 PDT
From: Yahoo!News
To: rpm@glib.com

(Bill in Manhattan) has sent you a news article. (Email address has not been verified.)

Personal message:

Well, R. Paul Martin, just what do you have to say for yourself. Does this story have anything to do with your recent medical procedure? I certainly hope not! It all reminds me of the day I got the results of my own colonoscopy. I looked at those lovely color photographs and said, Where have I seen that before, those lovely rose-hued tunnels sure remind me of something. And then it hit me. The vents of the big island of Hawaii! I too have been one of the great explorers, along with Captain Cook and Pat Boone. You see I went down into a volcanoe -- and while it was erupting! the trick, of course, is to pick the right vent, because otherwise you are cooked, indeed. But the volcanoe had many, many inactive vents, all overgrown with vegetation since the cooling off period. You just walk along like youre inside a cave, no stooping required, nothing to it -- meanwhile the lava was running down to the sea from the hot vents, adding to the size of the island. That was a memorable day in my life, I can tell. And somehow we remember our colonoscopies, too, painless but good to have done. Best wishes, Bill in Manhattan.

No, my colonoscopy did not cause the corononal mass ejection that happened in October! However, mine was far from painless.

Subject: OK to read on air
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 21:59:01 -0500 (EST)
From: Ken
To: rpm@glib.com

Hey R Paul -- you mentioned your parents having a set of 3 “Unicorn” almanacs from the early 50's---funny, my parents also owned 3 of these almanacs, in fact I believe it was the same 3 years you mentioned. I always thought it was odd to have those 3 years, and no others, though I never asked where they came from. They were in our bookcase, alongside my father's complete set of Funk & Wagnals Encyclopedias. Did your parents also have a F&W set? If so, maybe that would explain the almanacs!

Ken, from Washington Heights

What Ken is talking about is The Unicorn Book of 1953 which I've been quoting from occasionally. I've also read from the same company's book for the year 1952. No, my parents never had a Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia. What happened was that my parents got snookered into playing some game, for “big money.” I think it was some sort of puzzle game and they had to send in answers on a monthly basis, along with a fee, of course. I don't know if subscribing to these publications by Unicorn Books, Inc. was mandatory or if the suckers were just allowed to believe that they'd get an edge if they subscribed. in any case, we have them for the years 1952, 1953 and 1954. So you still have another year's worth of this stuff to live through, assuming we can stay on the air for all of 2004.

A listener who sends us small text messages from a cell phone has something to say about travails of the headmaster of a pricey prep school who got busted for soliciting young boys on line and having kiddie porn on his computer..

Subject: ''wrong head''master
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 11:25:31 -0800
From: ______________
To: rpm@glib.com

Recent fall of a prestigious GOTHAM ''head'' Master; for the stupid pitfall of internet chat room sexual predation.

Subject: Re: Thanks again!
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 19:47:19 EST
From: Seth
To: rpm@glib.com

In a message dated 10/28/03 7:22:05 AM, rpm@glib.com writes:

It was great--as always!--to see you and P.O.T.N.

By-the-way, I've heard you say nice things about Jean Shepherd--Just how much of a fan of him are you?


I used to listen to Jean Shepherd from when I was a kid. I first saw him on a short lived TV show he had on WOR in New York. His show preceded Long John Nebel's TV show on WOR and I really liked Nebel's show; it appealed to my almost-adolescent fascination with UFOs and stuff like that. Yeah, a young kid was very liable to have a lot of hokum mixed in with the science in those days. I wonder if that's different now? Always lots of hokum around and it takes a bit of experience to be able to cut through the BS and find the real science. That experience is frequently lacking when you're just a kid.

So, yes, I used to listen to Jean Shepherd up until the early '70s. our own Maxwell J. Schmid hosts a program on WBAI named Mass Backwards where he plays some old Jean Shepherd programs every week.

Subject: Big Timing
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003 01:10:06 -0500
From: Lazaro
To: rpm@glib.com

From childhood Americans are taught to admire bigness for itself.

The bigness binge continues throughout life, always on the assumption that quantity provides quality: the length of a book – regardless of what it has to say, the square footage of a building – even if it’s half vacant, the record breaking budget – no matter how much waste is involved, the amount of a prize – ignoring the odds of winning it, the rate of acquisitions – so what if profits are falling, the size of a sex organ – never mind if it’s hot or cold, the extent of an empire – without questioning what purpose it serves.

---from The BS Factor by Arthur Herzog


[I don't have clearance to put this copyrighted poem up here, so folks will have to look it up for themselves.]

---from the Pop-Up Biggest Book


Next we have a raft of small E-mails from cell phone users. I'm presenting them out of order so that we have all of the text messages from the same cell phone user in each segment here.

Subject: goblins
Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2003 06:28:17 -0800
From: ______________
To: rpm@glib.com

Did the goblins getcha? I hope this ''e'' finds you in glee. Ask not for whom the pipe tokes; it tokes for thee. Clarence

Subject: Emanuel Goldspan Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2003 05:09:15 -0800
From: ______________
To: rpm@glib.com

1984, the movie- recast

Subject: the prez strategy
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 05:42:38 -0800
From: ______________
To: rpm@glib.com

It's obvious to me our president is a really strong Pomander.

Subject: A#1 characterization
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 06:44:33 -0800
From: ______________
To: rpm@glib.com

Of DUBYA's gambit~the vapid ''clang pop'' deoderizer mentioned in ''Villainy Victorious #9'' p.197 by L.Ron Hubbard

Subject: fuel cell
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 17:29:43 -0800
From: ______________
To: rpm@glib.com

I'm convinced that it will take citizens who pay their mortgages with fuel cells to turn this war for oil drama around.

Subject: Dick Cheney
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 04:59:17 -0800
From: ______________
To: rpm@glib.com

Now here's a man with his whole palm on the button eh? Re: NEWSWEEK, November 17th '03.

And here are some text messages from Zigman.

Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 18:31:01 -0800
To: rpm@glib.com

R Paul & Ms Pickles, VERY(x1000) sorry I wasn't able 2 pledge during the lst drive! How mch did U2 raise? If U cn, jst snd $ amnt 2 my fone. ZIGMAN

Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 14:38:05 -0800
To: rpm@glib.com

R.Paul, PLEASE don't 4get: 25th anniv'ry of Jonest'n (18 Nov) & Harvey Milk (26 Nov) tragedies. I'm SURE U'll make note on NEXT program. --ZIG-MAN

Well, we raised $1,015 on that rogue pitching shift, and I didn't do anything around any of those tragedies you mentioned. Oh well, I guess I can't do all tragedy all the time radio.

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

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.