Back of the Book — October 26, 2013

The WBAI Fall 'thon has been extended. So we are pitching again tonight. If you can pledge some amount of money, or become a BAI Buddy, please do so while we're on the air. We had a great show of support from our listeners the last time, if we can maintain the same level of support that will be a very good thing. And of curse we plan to do some radio program this morning. We just can't tell what we'll be able to fit in. Playing it by ear, radio.

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 some of that.

I have also posted a whole lot of the minutes of the Pacifica National Finance Committee. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB Treasurer.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to happen on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at Alwan-for-the-arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor, in downtown Manhattan.

This LSB meeting started 48 minutes late. The faction got there and had a majority at the start of the meeting. The Vice-Chair had resigned as Vice-Chair because she just didn't want to be harassed and treated badly by the faction operatives. As a result, I had to chair the meeting because I was the only LSB officer who was at the meeting who was also a voting member of the LSB.

So I chaired. The faction moved the agenda around to their liking, since they had a majority, and then they extended the meeting by a full hour, making the adjournment time 10:30 PM.

After some time more non-faction members came to the meeting and there was an 8 to 8 standoff. The faction then wasted a lot of time on one motion that was pretty much a duplicate of a motion passed about seven or eight years ago. And then they brought their big motion of the night. This one tried to force the interim Program Director to roll back all of the changes he's made so far and have him only make changes after big meetings with all the Staff and consultations and, basically, a lot of what gets called “process” but which is really just nonsense. Yes, the interim Program Director was brash and not very nice to some Staff about removing the programs they did from the air, but WBAI is in what is probably the biggest emergency of its existence, and if programming changes aren't made very soon there won't be a radio station here to have programs on. I didn't get to debate this motion because I had to chair the meeting. Faction operatives were obnoxious and disruptive, maybe in an effort to make some of the non-faction members leave. But that didn't work. In the end their motion failed by a tie vote, and as Chair I got to cast the vote that killed it. I would prefer that the interim Program Director be nicer towards Staff, but the priority here is to save WBAI.

At the 10:30 mark the faction tried to extend the meting time even more. They engage in a tactic called sitzkrieg, where they sit out their opponents. Once their opponents leave they will have a majority and they can pass almost anything they please. It didn't work this time.

So we had a meeting that was mostly a waste of time.

We did not get to a Treasurer's Report at this meeting. Here's a written Treasurer's Report I had posted the night before.

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 newly revamped Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Because WBAI was forced out of its studios by the flood waters' destruction of the building's electrical system we still have this alternate, temporary stream for the radio station! I do not know how long this emergency stream will be up for. If this stream isn't working let me know.

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. There is also another version of the archive here.

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.


It's mid-Autumn so it's time for the second shot at the WBAI Fall 'thon! We are pitching on this radio program! If you can do so please call 1-516-620-3602 during the radio program and pledge some amount of money to help keep Back of the Book on WBAI and help keep WBAI on the air.

If you want to pledge to the program via the Web it's best to do so while we're on the air, you need to go here and pick the amount you want to donate, then click on “Add to cart,” and then be sure to pick Back of the Book as the favorite show from the drop down menu. Otherwise your pledge won't be counted towards the program.


An appeal to our listeners. No, this one is not about money. If anyone has an air check of Uncle Sidney's program from October 19, 2013, please let me know. The archive crapped out during Sidney's program Saturday Morning With the Radio On last week, and his console check done in the studio died after 10 minutes. He'd really like to have a recording of that program. Please help out if you can. You can E-mail me if you have a recording of that program.

the commuter pigeon
The Commuter Pigeon

So we went to Coney Island yet again this past fortnight. Yeah, I find it hard to resist those Nathan's hot dogs, especially with the 99¢ coupon.

Well, we got there on the train, and as we were walking along the platform we saw a pigeon, which appeared to be very familiar with things and which we figure probably lives in that elevated subway station, walking into one of the train cars. Bold of the creature.

I wanted to get a photograph of it in the train, and as you can see I was able to do so.

It had appeared to want to leave when it saw me approaching. But the conductor had done that thing that they can do with the newer trains where he was able to automatically close all but one door on each car. So the pigeon was trying to get out of the car but I was there at the door fumbling with the camera. So it retreated back into the car.

I was able to get only one photograph of it, and this is that shot on the left, before the AA cells crapped out on me.

So Pickles of the North and I went down the platform a short ways and I got the dead AA cells swapped out for a couple of recharged ones. We hadn't paid attention to the pigeon or the train while this little operation was going on.

When I had the camera ready again we looked back and wondered if the pigeon had left the train. I thought it was a pretty funny thing to see a pigeon on the train.

We weren't even sure at that point which car it had been in. They then opened all of the doors on the train. We saw a woman going into the car which we thought the bird was in and wondered if she would get all upset at the pigeon being in there, as some people would.

Well, she never came out of the car, but then they played the announcement about the train leaving and they named the next stop. Then they played the “Stand clear of the Closing doors, please,” announcement and the two dongs that come after it. And just then the pigeon hopped right out of the car and onto the platform just as the doors began to close! Pickles and I thought it was the funniest thing. It behaved just as people do when rushing off a train.

I suspect that the pigeon has been in that train station for its entire life and I think that from that experience it knows what's going to happen when that particular announcement, and especially that ding-dong sound, gets played and it knew it was time to get stop foraging for what the slovenly bipeds had left on the train car's floor and exit rapidly. Oh, we are changing the environment of this planet in so many ways.

R. Paul and his furry friend
R. Paul Made a New Friend at Coney Island

So someone left this huge stuffed bear right at the place where the steps from Stillwell Ave. ascend up to the Boardwalk. Pickles of the North and I had gone in to the public lavatories there and when we came out this thing was where you see it. The bear hadn't been there minutes earlier. It attracted the attention of every family that strolled by with a small child. All of the toddlers wanted to cuddle the thing.

I didn't want to cuddle with the plush toy on steroids, and Pickles very sternly warned me not to come into contact with it at all. You never know where it's been, or whom it's been with. Reminds me of my sex life about 42 years ago.

Anyway, here's a photograph of my new, silent friend from Coney Island.

Avonte Oquendo leaflet
Avonte Oquendo Leaflet

We went up on the Steeplechase Pier again, and we saw this leaflet for the young boy who's now been missing for three weeks. Hope is slim for the poor kid, but maybe this won't turn out to be a tragedy.

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.

We like to stay interactive with our listeners. Here are the various options for you to get in touch with us.

You can also send me E-mail.

And now you can even reach me on Twitter Twitter logo

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 © 2013, R. Paul Martin.