Back of the Book — July 25, 2020


This was our tenth pandemic episode of Back of the Book We covered all of the below topics. I am thinking that if there's anything more to be done on this Web page it will be very little. So this may be the final version of this Web page.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings?

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 WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to be held on August 12, 2020, it will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the four previous meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, July 8, 2019.

The technical difficulties were not as bad this time on a certain service that has privacy and security problems. Before the meeting I had put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

Some years ago the WBAI LSB voted to hold its regular meetings on the second Wednesday of every 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.

Here is WBAI's current Internet stream. We can no longer tell if the stream is working without testing every possible stream. Good luck.

WBAI is archiving the programs! WBAI has permanently switched to yet another new archive Web page! This one is more baffling than the previous one. For some time I was unable to post archive blurbs, then I could, and then I couldn't again. You can take a look at it and see if I've been able to post anything on it lately. There are still some limitations, but I am assured that I can plug in the archive blurbs that were lost in the latest upgrade.

This is a link to the latest version of the official WBAI archive. The archiving software appears to have been at least partially fixed. To get to the archive of this program you can use the usual method: you'll have to click on the drop-down menu, which says Display, and find Back of the Book on that menu. We're pretty early in the list, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Once you find the program name click GO and you'll see only this Back of the Book program. Management has fixed some problems that we'd been having with the archives.

For programs before March 23, 2019, we're all out of luck. The changes that took place once WBAI Management took control of the WBAI archives seems to have wiped out all access to anything before that date in March. You'll have to click on the same drop-down menu as above, which says Display, and find Specify Date, it's the second choice from the top. You are then given a little pop-up calendar and you can choose the date of the program there. Then click GO and you'll see a list of programs that aired on that date. For those previous programs you can get the audio, but nothing else, since I can't post anything to those pages anymore. Yeah, it looks like they'll have some alternating program's name prominently there, but if you have the right date it'll be our program. Good luck.

Since the General Manager has banned Sidney Smith from WBAI he's not alternating with us on the air. There is sometimes a pre-recorded program in the alternate week's time slot.

Bring Back Uncle Sidney!

Our friend, fellow WBAI producer and Saddle Pal Uncle Sidney Smith has been banned from WBAI by General Manager Berthold Reimers. The General Manager will not say why. He won't even tell Sidney why he's banned! This is grossly unfair to Sidney and constitutes abuse of Staff. Why did Berthold ban Sidney?

More to come.

Sars-cov-2 lounging about on the beach
It's Not Going Away in the Warm Weather

We talked about the current situation with the Sars-cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19. It's the end of July, we're having heat waves around the northern hemisphere and it's still here. So much for the warm weather destroying it. We reminded everyone that President Trump had said that it would be gone by April, when the weather got warmer. That was after he'd been calling it all a hoax.

Covid-19 cases in the whole world reached 15,897,180 on Friday, and deaths reached 641,019. In America the number of cases as of Thursday was 4,024,492 and the death toll was 143,868; so more than 11,000 people have died of Covid-19 in America since our last program. By the time this program airs on Saturday morning all of those figures will be thousands higher.

Two weeks ago we talked about Trump having to cancel a bund rally set for New Hampshire because of the big tropical storm that had rolled over New York City and was predicted to go through New England over the weekend. Well, it was a nice Saturday in New Hampshire two weeks ago. But now he's cancelled the Republican National Convention set for next month. He'd moved it to Florida because North Carolina had said No to large gatherings. Now he's had to bail on the entire convention, mostly owing to his pal the Republican Governor of Florida not wanting to take measures to keep the spread of the virus in check and so having it spread with little mitigation.

We talked about New York City entering phase 4 of the reopening strategy. We are not at all sure that this is something that's going to be sustainable.

We talked about Donnie Bonespur Trump trotting out what's become his personal militia, consisting of federal workers from various agencies, most of whom have no training in crowd control, to violate the Constitutional rights of protestors in Portland, Oregon. People with no real ID but holding weapons grabbing people off the street and shoving them into unmarked cars to be taken away for no discernable reason was something that we know happened in the Weimar Republic, but now it's happening in America. And Trump is bringing this act to Chicago, and he's threatened to bring it to New York City, although he seems to have put that off. If he brings these goons to New York City there may be some real violence.

So the President of the United States is serving as an impediment to the efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and he's acting in direct contravention of Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We must all remember that the Trump administration's behavior is not normal!

Pickles of the North and I talked about our refrigerator again. The fresh food section of the refrigerator had started getting warm, up to about 60° F., a month or so ago. On advice of one listener we shut the refrigerator down for a day or so. Ice melted, when we restarted it the refrigerator behaved normally. But after a couple days the fresh food section was getting back up to 60° F. We tried the same thing again about a week or so later, leaving the refrigerator off for a little longer, and taking some of it apart to melt any ice sooner. The result was the same as the previous attempt. The listener said that we were just not leaving the refrigerator off for long enough, that we needed to make sure that all of the ice melted before we turned it back on. So this time we unplugged the refrigerator and left it off for 61½ hours during very hot days. The drip pans under the refrigerator was dry, so that must mean that there's no ice left anywhere in the damned thing to block the cold air from coming down into the fresh food section. Well, after about three or four days the fresh food section was back up to 60° F. We just have to face the fact that the fridge is shot. The freezer still works, after a fashion. That too may crap out if we leave the refrigerator on for long enough, but we figure we're done trying to get it to work. Something is no longer working in this frost free refrigerator. Having this happen during the pandemic, when we're already not able to get the food we usually eat and when Pickles of the North is trying to limit the amount of time she spends out of the house, is an extra burden.

It's mid-Summer! We entered mid-Summer this past Tuesday, July 1, at two minutes to eleven o'clock at night. The exact minute of mid-Summer will be on Thursday August 6, at 1:36 PM (ET). I have a chart of the seasons and sub-seasons on this site.

Oh, I like Summer. We used to be able to have all sorts of fun in the Summer time that we couldn't have at other times of the year. I recalled rolling down The Bowl in Prospect Park when I was a little kid. I sure got familiar with a lot of the Summery scents of grass and soil then. Last I saw you can't do that now because they have planted plants, maybe some form of tree, in the bowl. They must have done this deliberately. I wondered on the air if they were buying into the story of a kid getting killed by riding his sled down The Bowl and hitting a fence across from the bottom of it and getting killed. I remember my father and uncles talking about this. I have since started to think that it may well be an urban legend. In any event, Frederick Law Olmstead's beautiful Bowl in Prospect Park is ruined now. Thanks yuppies!

Pickles of the North did a piece on where the concept and phrase Xmas in July comes from. Of course any Xmas in July would really happen on July 25th, the date of this radio program. She traced it back to the 19th Century, and told a few things about it, including some personal experiences with it.

Mars_23_aug_2003_hubble (8K)
Mars

We talked about two of the three missions to the planet Mars scheduled for this month have gone off so far. The United Arab Emirates successfully launched their first interplanetary mission on July 20th, their nearly 3,000-pound spacecraft is in Earth orbit in preparation for a seven month journey to Mars. On July 23rd, the so-called People's Republic of China launched their Tianwen-1 spacecraft, which carries the country's very first Mars rover and orbiter. The NASA launch of the Mars rover Perseverance is scheduled for a July 30th, launch date. Perseverance will weigh a lot and will carry an experimental helicopter to Mars. This will be the first time that an aircraft has been flown on another planet. I remembered on the air about a small part of War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The dialogue was,

I believe they've built a flying-machine, and are learning to fly.
I stopped, on hands and knees, for we had come to the bushes.
Fly!
Yes, he said, fly.
I went on into a little bower, and sat down.
It is all over with humanity, I said. If they can do that they will simply go round the world.
He nodded.
And now we have invaded Mars, and we are going to learn how to fly there.

Comet Atlas fell apart, but apparently Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is visible in the evening skies. It shows up best an hour after sunset, and it should be roughly 30° high in the northwest. You may need some optical aid in seeing it, especially in light polluted cities, but binoculars of field glasses, as well as small amateur telescopes should make it quite visible. Unfortunately, Pickles of the North and I can't see it because we don't have any windows facing west and we are not risking our lives to go out and look for it amid the buildings. Comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp were a lot brighter. We didn't need any extra optics to see those. I think we'll have to miss this cometary apparition, however.

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 open list that no longer exists was the WBAI specific Goodlight Web based message board. It was sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as the bleepin' blue board, owing to the blue background that was used on its Web pages. This one had many people posting anonymously and there was also an ancillary WBAI people board that was just totally out of hand.

In June 2012, I ended up having to salvage the bleepin' blue board, and so I was the moderator on it for its last seven years, until it got too expensive.

Sometimes we used to 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 used to alternate with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

One formerly popular mailing list is the NewPacifica mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list has been moribund for a couple of years due to de facto censorship by the group owner. As of February 2019, it had 696 subscribers coast to coast, but postings on it had become very infrequent. During the WBAI Coup of 2019, traffic picked up on that board again, for a while.

Back in the day it sometimes also got a bit nasty. All sorts of things used to happen on that list and official announcements were 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.

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

A 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 © 2020, R. Paul Martin.