Back of the Book — May 22, 2021


So we have the sad tale of R. Paul going to his cousin's viewing/wake. We also talked about this new UFO flap that may actually have national security implications. We also talked about the pandemic and ransomware attacks again. Microsoft is apparently hunting down some ransomware malefactors. We also talked about a huge chunk of ice that's now floating around in the ocean right next to Antarctica. I am hoping to get this Web page updated soon, so check back for those updates.

You can now listen to this program on the official WBAI Archive.

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 on this Web site. 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 Wednesday, June 9, 2021, it will probably be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 16 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

The LSB passed three motions regarding something I can't talk about on the air or even on this Web site, for now. But you'll hear about it on the air at some point, just not from me - until later. Have you visited the official Pacifica Web site lately? Ahem.

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. As of November 2020, Back of the Book airs weekly.

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?

The first official UAP vidro from the U.S. government.
What The Hell Is That Thing?

When I was a kid I was fascinated by things like flying saucers. After a while I learned that they were to be called UFOs, Unidentified Flying Objects. I used to listen to Long John Nebel on the radio, and watched his short-lived TV show on WOR Channel 9 in the '50s. I found a lot of the tales told on Long John Nebel's shows very interesting. Sometimes, however, the people talking about UFOs and similar, unusual topics said things which even I, as a young kid who was intrigued by all of this stuff that I had never heard before, was skeptical about.

At one point when I was a kid I found one of the most publicized books on UFOs, it might have been Flying Saucers Are Real by Major Donald Keyhoe, in a pile on a table in a used bookstore in downtown Brooklyn. I saved up my allowance money for days to get that book. When I had enough money I went down to the bookstore again and was lucky enough to dig the book out of the pile again and I bought it. I read that book from cover to cover and I read it more than once. I believed every word of it. I found some other books on the topic of UFOs in used bookstores and I grabbed them when I could. I also found some magazine articles on UFOs. I never wanted to spend money on an old magazine, but for a reason I couldn't understand none of those particular magazines were available in the Brooklyn Public Library, so I ended up reading a number of UFO articles of varied worth in magazines in the used bookstores. Most of the bookstore proprietors didn't seem to care.

Perhaps the most striking photograph of a purported UFO was in one of the books and it showed a relatively clear photograph of a circular object with what the caption termed the flying saucer's landing gear which were three globular projections coming out of the bottom of the saucer. Many years later I learned that this was actually a photograph of a device used to feed chickens. It had been turned upside down for the photograph and somehow suspended so that the caption could say that it was displaying its landing gear.

A UFO drawing.

Well, fast forward to recent days. I'm not a young grammar school kid anymore, I'm an old man. I figured that all of the UFO stuff was variously frauds, hoaxes or delusions from people who had psychological problems. But then, a couple of years ago, the United Stated Government released some videos from high performance military jet aircraft showing them pursuing some odd looking objects. The jets couldn't catch the objects. They couldn't identify them either. These were real videos, released by the military, not some hoked up thing that was pretty obviously a fraud or hoax. My impression from watching one of these videos was that the object of interest might actually be an artifact of a glitch in the highly sophisticated radar systems that had recently been put into the American jet aircraft. And this past week 60 Minutes had a piece on about the Pentagon taking these videos seriously. The basic concern here is that if there was something other than an illusion caused by malfunctioning equipment then some other nation-state, probably Russia or the so-called People's Republic of China, must have built these very high performance aircraft that can out-fly the best American fighter jets. That's a good reason to be concerned.

Right now what these things in the videos are is an open question. I don't think anyone is seriously considering that they're alien spacecraft, but foreign aircraft using breakthrough technology, as well as aerial phenomena that have not been seen before, or at least not well understood, along with my idea that the radar equipment might be malfunctioning, are still all ideas in play with these things. I wonder what Long John Nebel wold have made of these latest developments?

A subway sign I had never seen before.
Sign of the Times

Pickles of the North and I got out of the apartment this past week, and I rode the subway for the first time since March 7, 2020. Unfortunately, it wasn't a trip for fun. My Cousin Betty died and we went to her viewing/wake.

We met my other cousin, who is the sister of my late cousin Betty, and Pickles and I talked with her for an hour or so. And then a guy came in to the room and asked my cousin if she'd like him to say some prayers. She agreed to that. I wonder how much she had to pay for this guy's Hail Marys and some other ordinary prayers? Anyway, I left when I knew that he was going to start the silly praying ritual. The guy asked me as I left, Are you not staying for the prayers, sir? I just said, Oh, no, and kept on walking. It was a good time to go to the men's room. Pickles, who stayed because she has more tolerance for these types of shenanigans, told me that the guy, who seems to have been an employee of the funeral parlor and not even a sky pilot, was pissed off that I'd walked out before his prayers had started.

Pickles and I skipped going to the actual burial because we were told that it was going to be the big religious ceremony of the day. A couple of other family members joined my cousin for that. My surviving cousin is in a wheelchair and can't move around well. I was told by the other family members that the entire thing consisted some religious ritual done outside the car my cousin was in with the window rolled down, and that it lasted about three minutes.

Well, it was sad that someone I've basically known all my life, she was eight months younger than I, had passed away, and that it was this event that was the reason for my first ride on the subway in more than 14 months and my getting out into a sunny day for the first time in so long.

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.

There used to be a number of mailing lists related to Pacifica and WBAI. Unfortunately, they were all located on Yahoo! Groups. When Yahoo! Groups was totally shut down in December 2020, all of those mailing lists ceased to exist. One year earlier their file sections and archives of E-mails, had been excised leaving only the ability to send E-mails back and forth among the members. Now it's all gone. Older Back of the Book program Web pages tell a little more about those lists.

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

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