Back of the Book — April 14, 2012

It's Thursday afternoon, April 26, 2012, 14:10, and I've updated this Web page with a segment about the sinking of theTitanic and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, since we talked about the anniversaries of these events on this program. I'd previously updated this page with the location of the May 9th, LSB meeting, and I'd also added some mail that we'd read on this program, I'd also updated this Web page with a link to information about the planet Saturn being in opposition these nights, and I'd updated the page with more of the CAT scan images and a bunch more of me going on and on about my gizzarditis. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ We plan to get to the below stuff and more on this program. We are really going to try to get to the mail on this one, and I won't take so long going on about my “soft tissue masses.” More to come, check back for the updates.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated all of that.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, at the Local 1199 MLK Center, 310 West 43rd St. between 8th & 9th Aves. in Manhattan.

The April 11th, 2012, LSB meeting was cancelled.

There was an LSB meeting held on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, at the “Brooklyn Commons” 388 Atlantic Avenue, between Hoyt & Bond Streets in Brooklyn. This was our second LSB meeting this March. We again mostly heard from Management about how swimmingly things are going. We also elected members to the various PNB committees. Some “Occupy Wall Street” folks were at the meeting and left some rather revealing posters for us to see as we left the meeting at about quarter to one in the morning. The public session had ended at 9:46 PM. After the public session we'd had an executive session.

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 01:51 this morning. The station has a Flash stream here, make sure you enable Javascript so it can work for you.

New WBAI stream! WBAI has put up an experimental stream for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This is a brand new, experimental stream. So if you have one of those devices you might try the link out. And let us know how it works for you one way or the other. That way the folks implementing it can iron out any kinks in the system.

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.

the biggest soft tissue mass
CAT Scan Image № 1

On the last program I started to go on about the time we've been having of late with all sorts of tests and scans centered around a “soft tissue mass” that seems to be located in my lower right abdomen - maybe. The damned thing, or something, has been poking me in the gizzard for months.

We went for a CAT scan and as a result of that we got a call from a doctor who set up something called an Octreotide scan. Clearly the doctors' first thought was that I might have something related to Agent Orange poisoning. And Pickles and I wondered about that too.

This thing, or these things now, that I have in me are either benign or malignant. Even if they're all benign they could be a serious problem. So Pickles and I have both experienced a lot of stress over this.

We went to see a gastroenterology doctor this past week, and the pressure and the stress are still on. We asked the doctor about all of the tests. He said that as a result of the tests they absolutely do not know what these soft tissue masses are. He did suggest just waiting around and having another CAT scan in six months to see if any of the masses had grown significantly. We didn't think that was the best strategy.

Not knowing what the problem is, and there is obviously at least one problem, is something that's stressing us a lot. We don't know what to expect. Is every week we spend going to doctors time lost in a fight for my life?

I don't know if this is one or three more stms
CAT Scan Image № 2

We've spent months now getting tests to try to figure this thing out. Am I just being a hypochondriac or will the next week that passes with no one knowing that to do be the week too much, the one that makes any intervention too late? Am I just worrying needlessly over nothing? Should I just accept that something is poking me in the old gizzard and get used to it and try to ignore it?

This past fortnight I obtained copies of the CAT scan images, and I'm presenting the ones that seem relevant on this Web page. Of course I am not a radiologist, so I don't know much about what I'm looking at, but we have a printed text report and there are indications on the images about where things are and how big they are.

CAT Scan Image № 1 presents a view from above, with me on my back. You can see that a 36 mm soft tissue mass is indicated to the left of the center line of my body. To me this looks like it's just above my waist.

The other four CAT scan images are all with me on my back and the point of view is looking up from my feet.

Now I find CAT Scan Image № 2 a bit confusing. It's giving dimensions of A: 22.7 mm, B: 21.0 mm, and C: 9.4 mm.

5-5mm_stm (17K)
CAT Scan Image № 3

But in the written report we were able to get about the CAT scan it said that there was a soft tissue mass that was 36.0 mm by 22.7 mm by 21.0 mm. So is this a second soft tissue mass, three different soft tissue masses in one place or is this another view of the 36.0 mm by 22.7 mm by 21.0 mm mass that's been mislabeled as 9.4 mm by 22.7 mm by 21.0 mm?

I suspect that this might be a mislabeled notation. Its position is also left of center and the 36 mm by 22.7 mm by 21.0 mm mass is not visible in this scan.

Just to make things even more interesting it turns out that I've got a bunch of these soft tissue masses in my body.

The largest one isn't even in my lower right abdomen! And it looks like it's on the left side of my torso. I do have some growth on the lower right side that appears to be making itself known to me.

So CAT Scan Image № 3 shows a 5.5 mm mass. This one's somewhere on my right side. So maybe this is the thing that's been noticeably poking me in the gizzard. This is the smallest of the soft tissue masses that they've imaged.

8-2mm_stm (14K)
CAT Scan Image № 4

In CAT Scan Image № 4 we see another mass, and this one's also on the left side. I suspect that this one is lower down than the one on the left side that's imaged above with three dimensions, or which is three masses, or which may be mislabeled.

And is this showing something that's on the pelvis bone? Is that why I also got sent for a nuclear medicine bone scan after the CAT scan? I guess I'll need to try to pin down some doctors on this one, and the next one as well.

The bone scan did not reveal anything other than the arthritis I know only too well that I have.

9-4mm_stm (16K)
CAT Scan Image № 5

CAT Scan Image № 5 is also on the right side. It's 9.4 mm in its longest dimension. I suspect that this one is quite low down.

This item that got noted on the CAT scan also looks like it might be associated with the bone.

We are going to go see some surgeons about all of this on Tuesday. In preparation for this surgical consult I was asked to go get a chromogranin test, which is a simple blood test. We don't know if this will tell anyone anything, but I suppose it's worth a try. From what I've read it is not necessarily a definitive test. So after the surgeons look at it they may know no more than we all do now.

My primary care physician at the V.A. Hospital suggested that the surgeons might want to perform a biopsy to really find out what these various lumps are.

I suppose that a biopsy would be definitive, but there's the problem of where the soft tissue masses are. The report says that they are in back of the intestine. And from these CAT scan images it looks like some of them are really embedded deep inside me. I don't know that a simple biopsy where they stick a needle in and remove some tissue to examine is possible with most of these soft tissue masses.

We were told that the results of the Octreotide scan didn't show anything. But we don't seem to be able to get the images from that scan. We only have a written report. And what exactly was it that they were scanning for during the last 31 minutes of that procedure? I saw some damned thing showing up again and again as the large, doughnut-shaped machine rotated around my body a few degrees every 30 seconds or so. It would pause and detect and then would move a few more degrees and start over again. It sure seemed like it was detecting something. What was that white blob that I kept seeing appear on the screen from every angle that was scanned?

We have no reason to believe that these soft tissue masses are all the same thing. They might all be related, but they might each be caused by separate things, and if one is either benign or malignant the doesn't mean that any of the others are the same. So we have a bounty of medical mysteries before us still. And did I mention that it's all damned stressful?

We should know more by the next program. I will do my best to let folks know what the hell's going on with these things. Yeah, free-form live radio's like that.

RMS Titanic leaving Belfast Harbor
RMS Titanic Leaving Belfast Harbor For Her Sea Trials

Of course there's been a huge amount of publicity given to tomorrow's 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.

Since there's so much information about the ship, it's passengers and it's fate being broadcast at this point we didn't see any reason to say much about it. Entire documentaries, including one quite good one on PBS that Pickles of the North and I watched the other night, are being devoted to the ship and her fate. There's no way we could add anything meaningful to that.

So we acknowledged the tragedy and the anniversary and we left it at that.

Abrham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

This program aired on the 147th anniversary of another tragedy, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It's too bad that this anniversary is so much overshadowed, at least this year, by the attention given to the sinking of RMS Titanic. But then no motion picture studios have just released a 3D retread of a 14 year old box office success about Abraham Lincoln. That's probably for the good, since I think that the Hollywood studios would screw up a biographical movie about the 16th President, and they'd probably do so in a truly disgusting way.

Lincoln's assassination 147 years ago tonight affected all of America when it happened. One of those deeply affected was the poet Walt Whitman. Here's one of the poems Whitman wrote relating to the assassination of the man whom many historians consider to be the greatest President America ever had.

O Captain! My Captain!

  O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
  The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
  The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
  While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
      But O heart! heart! heart!
       O the bleeding drops of red,
         Where on the deck my Captain lies,
           Fallen cold and dead.

  O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
  Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
  For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
  For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
      Here Captain! dear father!
       This arm beneath your head!
         It is some dream that on the deck,
           You've fallen cold and dead.

  My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
  My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
  The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
  From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
       Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
         But I with mournful tread,
           Walk the deck my Captain lies,
             Fallen cold and dead.

The planet Saturn is pretty visible these nights. Don't worry if you can't see it when it gets to opposition on April 15th, Saturn will be showing up very well for a number nights for the rest of this month.

We Got Mail!


We actually got all caught up with our mail on this program! So if you send us some mail we should get to it pretty promptly. You can send it all to me at If you don't want us to read it on the air just say so at the top and we will read it, but we won't read it on the air.

We read some mail on this program that had links that we thought we'd include on this Web page. Our first missive is from our pal Seth and it relates to an event honoring Harry Hay, a pioneer in gay activism.

Subject: Radically Gay: The Life & Visionary Legacy of Harry Hay
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2012 20:13:34 -0500 (EST)
From: seth

Interesting conference, it sounds like, coming up.

= = = = =

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Romesburg
To: clgbth-list
Sent: Fri, Jan 13, 2012 11:26 am
Subject: [clgbth-list] CFP: Radically Gay: The Life & Visionary Legacy of Harry Hay


Radically Gay: The Life & Visionary Legacy of Harry Hay

September 27-30, 2012, New York City

In celebration of the centennial of the birth of LGBT pioneer Harry Hay,
CLAGS (the Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies at CUNY) and the Harry Hay
Centennial Committee invite proposals for a broad-reaching conference
exploring key facets of LGBT life and their evolution over the last six

I once did an interview with Harry Hay, which I aired on Back of the Book. I should look for that old tape and see about running it this September, assuming we're still doing a radio program by this September.

And then we got a real rarity, an E-mail from The Evil Morelab. We always end the program with an admonition about the Dormouse. Well, here's a video of a dormouse that's hibernating.

Subject: Snoring dormouse is so adorable your head will explode
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2012 13:02:06 -0500
From: The Evil Morelab

Freedom Tower in the fog
The “Freedom Tower” Under Construction

After the last program we wandered around in the fog for a bit. No, not in a fog, in the fog. It was not a mental state.

Here's a photograph I took of the “Freedom Tower” that's being erected on the World Trade Center site. It was all disappearing in the clouds and fog here that morning.

violets_20120412 (25K)
Spring Violets

In a rather scraggly yard in Brooklyn we still found some violets blossoming in the warm Spring we've been having.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even though the gag rule was lifted in 2002. 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.

One popular list the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list is sometimes lively and as of mid-2011, has 687 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 Saturday Morning With the Radio On 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

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2012, R. Paul Martin.