Web links related to the Back of the Book program of 12/28/98

Well you know I thought I was done tinkering with this Web page last year! But a listener pointed out a correction to something I'd said on the air, and which I'd put on the page, and so I just had to correct it. I also corrected a tiny technical flaw in this page which I'm sure that maybe 2% of you at most might have noticed. Yeah, I'm like that. I've also taken the opportunity to expand on what I'd previously written here a little. Do you prefer expanded comments on the Web pages I do for every program, or would you prefer that I just throw some links in and leave the blah blah blah for the radio program?

So now it's 1/1/99 08:08:31 and I hope I'm done with this page!

Some hours after the program I suddenly remembered what the “E” stands for in MPEG and JPEG. It's that slow left hemisphere again! You'll find out what it stands for when you go to the MP3 section below.

Also, I've been using some new software to write these Web pages which, it turns out, is rather buggy. If you find any errors (e.g. broken links, misspellings, a link that brings you to the wrong site, a page that can't be read or looks messed up, etc.) let me know about them!

I'm working on fixing some of the bugs in the site, healing broken links, shrinking some of the graphics so they load faster, etc. So the site should be even more useful in another week or so.

Y2K nuttiness is gaining momentum. I suppose it's better than having them burn witches or or form suicide cults. There are people forming neighborhood-sized groups to “deal with” the Y2K problem, and they're forming a coalition of these neighborhood groups into a larger group that they're calling “The Cassandra Project.” I'm sure there will be problems on January 1, 2000, but I'm also sure that these people are going overboard. Of course if you're selling survivalist condensed food this overreaction is money in the bank!

It's probably not as bad as the Y1K panic of the late 10th century! They didn't have computers, but in Europe they were really going nuts, and then they had to start using four digits to represent the year instead of just three.

As many regular listeners will know, I've been having my memory flag on me and I'm losing my sense of taste. I went to the doctor about this and I was sent to get an EEG, a CAT scan and an MRI exam. The CAT scan stands for Computed Axial Tomography, which acronym I blew on the air. What? You want a guy whose memory is falling apart to go on the air and get everything right? Here's technical information on EEG, CAT scans, an MRI tutorial and someMRI basics.

The EEG report said that my brain was slow on the left side. I think this meant that it reacted slowly. The report said that this might mean that there's a lesion on the left side of my brain. The CAT scan showed that some lobes of my brain are a bit large, and possibly inflamed, also my ventricles are larger than they ought to be. These conditions could also indicate pathologies. So they scheduled me for a sudden MRI, which got me all concerned, and had Pickles of the North quite worried. Luckily, no cancers, lesions, aneurysms, embolisms, amyloid plaques or strokes showed up on the MRI. The bottom line is that I'm lucky to just be abnormal! Of course regular listeners to Back of the Book have known that I have an abnormal brain for years. I definitely felt relieved after that visit with the neurologist. Of course he wants me to go through all of this again in another 8 to 12 months to make sure that nothing awful is developing in there.

A listener has pointed out that the ads I'm finding so annoying on TV are from The Gap. I especially dislike the The Gap's ad with the young woman who talks about being “a capitalist” and then wants things because she works hard for them because then she's “entitled”. She seems to have mistaken capitalism for living with mommy and daddy or going to grammar school where she got treated very nicely by her teachers. Maybe she's even mistaken capitalism for one of the various forced economies where you can indeed become “entitled” to something or other. Being entitled to something means that someone has determined that you ought to get it. Capitalism has no such supreme being of course. How many of we adults have known many people who have worked hard all their lives and then have not gotten the “nice house” to which this young woman thinks she'd be entitled, but who have actually gotten it in the neck? I know I've got a bunch of examples. The young woman actress in this commercial also doesn't want “to front” and say that everybody should be equal because she believes in this adolescent capitalism with the frosting on top. Sounds like a brief against equal rights for all to me. And I bet it gets converts to that philosophy among some young folks.

Even more annoying is a Levi Strauss & Co. bus shelter ad I've seen in Brooklyn that shows a young woman, wearing Levi's of course, holding up a sign that says, “I can't be prejudice I'm mulatto.” What?!?!? The young woman in the photograph has what we used to call an Afro haircut and a look on her face that doesn't make her seem too intelligent. And of course using “prejudice” instead of “prejudiced” just goes along with adding her to the racial stereotypes of the non-white dimwit who can't speak proper English which we've seen through the decades. It's located outside Midwood High School, on Bedford Ave., and I'm amazed that it's still there.

The MPEG (Motion Picture Experts' Group) audio layer 3, better known as MP3, is causing an uproar. MP3 is a standard for computer files that contain audio, and it's very compressed, which means that it allows the creation of audio files of unprecedented compactness. A half hour of audio takes up over 300 Mb on a CD, but only about 6+ Mb in the MP3 format. It's supposed to be used in the Rio player, but you can D/L MP3 files and play them on your computer. It is vastly easier to download 6 Mb than 300 Mb! Predictably, people have taken to putting music, radio shows and just about everything else of an audio nature on the Web and on USENET news groups free for downloading. This, of course, has the ever technophobic Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its maximum freak out mode. They have an entire section of their Web site devoted to their spin on “piracy” and specifically what they see as MP3's role in it. This has prompted one fellow to publish an “Open Letter to the RIAA” on his web site. Truly, a large scale battle is joined here.

  • You may want to look for some general information on MP3.
  • Microsoft, of all companies, makes a free player for MP3 files. You'll need to figure out which one you need from their recommendations.
  • The MP3 Box Web site provides links to many informational sites and sites which make MP3 files available.
  • Here's a site that allows you to search for what you want in pretty good detail.
  • Here's a site with freeware MP3 players. It's run by some right wing Christian guy. This link bypasses his explanation of why he has the one true religion!
  • A German company has some MP3 encoders and players, both freeware demos and software you can buy.
  • One guy has a really messed up Web page, but he also has an MP3 encoder he's giving away. I make no representations about this software because I haven't even tried it out yet. I'm letting you link directly to the file that you'll want to download, so as to avoid his severely miscoded Web page. Of course you'll have to decide for yourself if you want a program written by a guy who has munged up his Web page to a great degree.
  • Predictably, there's an MP3 Web Ring, which will probably grow and grow as time goes by and more people get on the bandwagon, so to speak.

With the above Web links about MP3, and the information you can get from the news groups above, you can certainly get started in experiencing this new cyber-audio phenomenon.

Hey! Workers at the Angelika Theater on Hudson St. in Manhattan found my male ex's wallet, with $150, credit cards, banks cards, ID, etc., in it and they returned it with all the money and everything else! I recommend the place!

A listener named Geo sent us an E-mail and suggested a Web page that we might all want to visit. Here's his E-mail.

Subject: R
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 15:15:14 -0500
From: Geo
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi R. What does the R stand for? Well you're nothing if not eclectic. I'm never bored when I listen to you, usually while cleaning up the slop in my darkroom. I think you've covered every topic from your sordid sex life to life in space. I never know what to expect and that's what I like about you. You're eccentric, you're unique, you're funny, you'll never make it in commercial radio. Commercial media is such a wasteland of plastic Ken & Barbie dolls and mindless titilation. They can spend hours on the blowjob in the White House but 35,000 children starve to death every day in this world and not a fucking minute about that. I'd like to recommend an interesting site if you're designing web sites: http://photo.net/. This guy's a BRAIN. See ya.

I've actually visited this site before, and it's quite interesting. I sure wish that someone had given me a huge Unix server with the equivalent of a T3 connection to the Internet to put what I wanted on!

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 fill out the form, and you'll be subscribed. Could open your eyes a little bit.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

Union bulletin #11

Free Pacifica Web site

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 1998, R. Paul Martin