Web links related to the Back of the Book program of March 19, 2011

It's Wednesday morning, March 7, 2012, 00:43, and this Web page is finished. I just added a tiny bit to round out one part and the rest I've left as it was. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Well, the world sure is blowing up in many directions right now, isn't it? Management is cracking down on the rule about programs ending five minutes early and playing carts until the next program comes on, so I'll only have 55 minutes tonight. I can't cover everything in 55 minutes, so I won't even try. And, yes, Pickles of the North is up at the North Pole this weekend. I'll try to get through as much stuff as possible, and there's some possibility that I might read some of the mail.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at a location to be announced.

At a previous meeting the WBAI LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

WBAI 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.

WBAI has an official Web stream of what's on the air at any time! You can go here and pick which type of stream you want! If this stream isn't working let me know. And you can see the status of the streams at any time by clicking here. The stream was working at 1:11 this morning. The station has a Flash stream here, make sure you enable Javascript so it can work for you.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to this program any time for the next couple of months. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful.

If you want to listen to any part of the WBAI archive click here to go right to the archives. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons. Or to see only the two shows in this time slot click here.

Back of the Book is one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

In the table on the archive Web page Back of the Book and Saturday Morning With the Radio On are both in the “Show” column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

In the Summer of 2009, there was a Pacifica National Board meeting held in New York. Here's the Web page I did about this PNB meeting and the amazing things that went on at it.

And the PNB has also met in Houston from Friday October 9th, through Sunday October 11th, 2009. The official audio archive of that meeting is here. It was not disrupted as the New York meeting was, although some of the same miscreants got out there to say stupid things.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Manhattan the weekend of October 1-3, 2010. The audio has been posted for the first day of the meeting, the second day of the meeting and the third day of the meeting.

Subject: [WBAI-LSB-PUBLIC] Announcement: Berthold Reimers appointed GM of WBAI

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:43:09 -0500

From: Mitchel Cohen

To: wbai-lsb-public@yahoogroups.com

I've just received word from Arlene Engleheart, Executive Director of Pacifica, that she's appointed Berthold Reimers as the General Manager of WBAI.

Mitchel Cohen
Chair, WBAI Local Station Board

We've Sort of Moved

Back of the Book has been moved to this time slot. We'll see how this move works.

The interim Program Director has issued notice of program changes. The evolving, relevant documents are below. We are hearing from other producers who have been told they are being moved to other time slots and having their time cut in half. One producer has been told he's off the air entirely and another producer has decided that he would rather resign than be treated in a way that he can't abide.

Some producers are lobbying heavily to retain their current time slots, and some have lobbied to get better time slots amid the chaos of this sudden program shakeup. One producer got moved, accepted it, and then got pushed out of the new time slot by another producer who had publicly quit and then successfully lobbied the interim Program Director, with the aid of four supporters, for a better time slot. The producer who got pushed out has quit WBAI.

We got a call on our answering machine from WBAI interim Program Director Tony Bates at 5:17 in the afternoon on November 1st. He said that the grid was changing and that Back of the Book would be affected. When I called back at 7:15 that evening I got his voice mail and the voice mail was full so I couldn't leave a message.

I called the interim Program Director about this again the next day. He told me that he was moving Back of the Book to 5:00 AM on Saturdays! And in this new time slot the program is only one hour long. Let's just say that we are not jumping for joy about this change in the program. It's quite a change for us, and for our listeners. And, yes, Uncle Sidney has moved his program Carrier Wave, or whatever he's calling it lately, to this same time slot and will continue alternating with us.

Here are the latest documents from Management about the programming shakeup:

Management's Original FormatsWeb Friendly Formats
First letter from WBAI ManagementFirst letter from WBAI Management
Second letter from WBAI ManagementSecond letter from WBAI Management
The new WBAI program gridThe new WBAI program grid
 The new WBAI program grid in HTML format
 Updated schedule as of 11/15/10
 Updated schedule as of 1/5/11

In the grid I do not know whose picture that is to the right of the data. Even now I don't know that these program changes are fully settled.

Of course I've had something to say about all of this. I sent this out as an E-mail on November 11th. If we don't get more listeners soon WBAI will cease to exist.

I'm very glad that we're on Daylight Saving time again. I like to see the Sun still up at 7:00 PM local time. In other good news, the Vernal Equinox will occur on Sunday, March 20, 2011, at 7:21 PM (ET), that's tomorrow evening. Oh, I am so looking forward to Spring. Click here to see the Seasons and sub-seasons for the near future, and past.

Most people have seen most of the classic, naked eye planets, even if they don't know that they have. However, most people have not seen the planet Mercury. That's because as the planet closest to the Sun Mercury has a very short time when it's glow is not overwhelmed by our local star.

This month, and the next several days, will provide folks with the best opportunity of 2011, to see Mercury.

And later on today we'll be having The Lenten Moon, that's the Full Moon that occurs before the Vernal Equinox. And the Moon will reach perigee, be closest to the Earth, an hour after the Lenten Moon. This will be the closest perigee of 2011. So this Full Moon is going to be brighter than most. I've been out tonight and I can say that the almost Full Moon is pretty bright, even hours before this Full Moon at lunar perigee happens.

The Lenten Moon will be full at 2:10 PM (ET) today. It will reach lunar perigee at 3:10 PM (ET). So those of us in New York will not get the full impact of it, but the dark Winter nights before and after the event will still be brighter than usual.

Other names for this Full Moon are: the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sugar Moon, Sap Moon, Chaste Moon or Death Moon. Some fun to end Winter with, eh?

We plan to talk about the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear reactor crisis in Japan. I'll try not to repeat stuff everyone else has been saying about it.

If we have time I may be able to get to talking about the popular revolts in the various countries around the world, including Libya, where things are changing rapidly.

In Libya it's especially bizarre, which is to be expected from that nation's nutcase dictator Moamar Khadaffi. One day he sayd he's going to kill all of the rebels in the country and go after them with, “No mercy, no pity.” The next day he says he's having a unilateral cease fire. Yeah, he's nuts, all right. The unilateral cease fire didn't work, by the way. The sooner he's gone the better.

The New York Times has announced that as of March 28th, they are going to start charging for access again. And they're going to charge rather a lot. That's a drag.

Our bathroom without a sink and with a big hole in the floor
No sink, Big Hole

It all started with the bathtub draining slowly. Then the bathtub took forever to drain. Then it was close to not draining at all, and we had to bail it out with a bucket after a shower.

So we called the Super. Easy fix. He opened up the old fashioned drain dingus that stands up in the bathroom and shoved his electric snake down it. We don't have any electrical outlets in our bathroom, so I have to run an extension cord from the power strip that feeds Pickles of the North's computer.

The Super stuck his snake down that drain pipe and turned it on. We got the usual electric motor noises for a few seconds, then he fed more of the snake down the pipe. There was a whole lot of noise. That snake was obviously banging around against the interior of the pipes, and doing so with a lot of energy. So the Super indicates to me that this is all right (English is not a language we can communicate in) and keeps on with the loud clanking. He puts some water into the bathtub and looks for it to drain. It doesn't.

He resumes the clanking snake efforts and the water does not drain. He keeps it up, and the loud noise suddenly stops. The Super's snake has broken!

Well, he can't let this stop him. The Super now brings out this two liter bottle of something that is supposed to clear drains, it says, "For professional use only!" on the side of the bottle. I am able to see the word "sulphuric acid" on the bottle as well. Oh good. The Super puts a little of this down the drain and it bubbles ominously. The standing water in the bathtub is still standing and this sulphuric acid based drain cleaner is just turning it yellow. He pours some more in, another bubbling and a cloud of vapor rises from the drain. The water isn't moving. Finally he empties the entire two liters into the drain. The stink from this has me flashing back to my days in the chem labs of high school and college. The water is unaffected.

Right then he gets a phone call from his wife. Mrs. Super is calling him to say that water is leaking into the apartment below us. Mere seconds later the guy from the apartment below us is knocking on the door. I've never seen him before. I let him know the Super was up here and was handling it.

the large hole in our bathroom floor
This is Where the Drain Pipe Used To Be

Yep, the snake has broken the 80 year old pipe.

So the Super goes to remove his snake, and he can't. The damned thing is stuck. After some muscle from him and some advice from me it finally comes out. He leaves and tells me that he'll call another Super of some other building to come over and deal with it the next day. When, no one can tell. Meanwhile we can't use either the bathtub or sink in the bathroom.

The next day the other Super comes over. He works at a completely different building. He masquerades as a plumber for other Supers and landlords. He does not have a plumbing license.

The faux plumber has a few more words of English than our Super has, but communication is not that enhanced. He looks at the situation, removes our crappy little sink that a previous super had installed rather than replace a worn washer, and gets down on his knees and starts attacking the floor with a hammer and chisel.

Great clouds of dust, some left over from The Great Depression, billow up and one whiff of that and I'm feeling ill. What an old, moldy, semi-damp stench. I go around trying to get air to flow out the bathroom window. If that stench gets into the apartment Pickles of the North is not going to be able to breathe. Opening the apartment door and the bathroom window works, she is spared the worst of it.

So this unlicensed plumber hammers a big hole in the floor and rips out the piping. He shows me where the Super's snake had burst through the lead pipe. Yes, it's a lead pipe. He talks about how many decades it's been since they banned lead pipes, but this is only a drain pipe. I started thinking about how much tap water I drink, and I'm glad that years ago Pickles of the North insisted that we use one of those jugs with a water filter in it for drinking water.

After a while he takes the remains of the pipes he's removed and leaves to go get replacement parts. That's when I took the photographs on this page. He comes back, hooks up the pipes and says he's done. I ask him about the clog. He runs some water in the tub, it just sits there. So he goes and gets the Super's electric snake.

The actual snake has been replaced, so it works this time. Our unlicensed plumber sticks this snake down into his newly installed drain pipes and turns it on. It doesn't make the awful clanking noise that the other one had. He shoves a bunch of it down the pipe and then pulls it up. There's a tiny bubble of air that comes up through the drain, but the water is still standing. So he really goes at it. He feeds a lot of that snake down the pipe, all the while keeping the electric motor on and rotating the snake. After quite a while he starts to push and pull the snake up and down. He can feel something interacting with the snake. He pulls the snake up out of the drain. He has fed between 20 and 30 feet of it down the pipe. He runs some water in the tub, and we get a small vortex of air over the new drain. The water exits the tub. Victory!

He says the Super will fix the rest of it. So we're left with that bit hole and no sink for the rest of the day. I can't stand the stink of that hole. It has the effect of making me feel as if my hands are full of the dust and dirt that initially came out of it. So I spend the day repeatedly washing my hands in the kitchen sink.

The Super comes in late that night and says he can fix it all in two days. Oh, I am not pleased. He comes up later on with a bucket of concrete mix and says he'll do it right now. Well, this is good. So he sweeps all of the detritus, including the packaging for the new pipes, into the hole and starts piling on the concrete, which he mixes in a bucket he puts in the bathtub. The first thing using that bathtub is that bucket.

When he goes to put our sink back he discovers that the shims that were used to keep the thing, which is mostly plastic and oriented strand board, from falling over were among the stuff that got swept into that hole. So he has to make some new shims out of whatever little pieces of scrap wood he happens to have with him, hitting them with a hammer to break them against the bathroom floor. After he hooks up the sink he tests it to see if it's leaking. He discovers that the hot water tap is now not turning off, so he replaces the washer. After that it's all right.

So he leaves, telling us to wait at least two hours before we use the bathroom sink or the bathtub, and we do indeed wait. After that we are so glad to be able to wash and shower.

All this from a slow drain.

chess board set up
The Source of a Certain Addiction

Oh, I've started to look at chess again. I used to play chess, a lot. I haven't played a rated game of chess is over 33 years.

So I guess it was kind of odd that when one of the on-line discount places offered the computer chess program Fritz 12 for only $11.99 with free shipping I went for it.

Since I got it I haven't used Fritz 12 for much at all. In fact it's a pretty user hostile piece of software. I may figure it out once day.

But I am, here and there, looking at some games. I've been look at some chess games from the London 1922, tournament. And, yes, that means that the tournament was played in London, England in the year 1922. I have a bunch of old tournament books lying about from the days when I was an avid chess player.

One thing I did get Fritz 12 to do was to tell me why a move I thought was good was not played in one game from that 1922, tournament. Turns out I had not seen a reply that would have been devastating. That may be what I'll use Fritz 12 for, letting me know why things are the way they are in certain chess positions. I will most likely never play against this program because it's just way too strong and all I'd do would be to get clobbered without even seeing checkmate coming.

The problem is, I really don't have the time for chess. So I guess I'll just go over the occasional game and enjoy it. A chess game can be like a short story, or a novelette. There's frequently a bunch of drama involved and some bright ideas show up occasionally.

Oh, one other thing I've found I can do with Fritz 12: I can get it to export a graphic diagram of a chess position. I've got one of those posted here.

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. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Carrier Wave alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

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

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

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 © 2011, R. Paul Martin.