Back of the Book — March 26, 2022

So here's the Web page for this radio program. We covered the below topics and more on the air. Right now I'm falling asleep again. I figure that I'll really try hard to get this Web page updates in the near term, 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? 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 on this Web site. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB Treasurer.

The next WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday March 30, 2022, but it will be in executive session. The next WBAI LSB meeting that you can listen to and maybe even participate in will be held on Wednesday April 13, 2022, at 7 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. This meeting will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 34 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Some people were still demanding that elections be done over because their candidates lost. I insisted that the results of the election to fill a seat on a committee that rarely if ever meets be revealed to the LSB. And with a little bit of difficulty that was done. The people complaining lost again. This time it was a clear victory, no tie-breaker was needed.

Before the March 9, 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, so we have the following schedule:

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?

SARS-CoV-2 virus
Deaths Going Back Up!

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site COVID-19 cases in the whole world reached 478,160,775 on Friday, and global deaths reached 6,112,880. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 79,911,690 and the death toll in America was 976,467, so 5,913 people have died of COVID-19 in America since our last program one week ago. This week's death rate is higher than last week's. I don't know if that means that the surge or whatever from the BA.2 sub-variant of the omicron variant is hitting us now. The pandemic is not over.

By the time this program airs on Saturday morning all of those figures we quoted will be higher of course. This was all mostly preventable.

The United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a report that new COVID-19 infections continue to rise across England, Wales and Scotland, as the new BA.2 omicron variant shows that the pandemic is not over. In Scotland an estimated 9% of the population had COVID-19 in the week ending March 19. This is an all-time high, up from 7.1% the previous week, according to ONS figures. This is the highest figure since October 2020. Meanwhile in England, the rate of people who tested positive for COVID went from 4.9% to 6.4%, while in Wales it went from 4.1% last week to 6.4% this week. Yeah, not over.

Daffodil behind a rusty fence
Spring Flowers Arriving!

This was our first program after the Vernal Equinox which occurred last Sunday morning at 11:33 AM (ET). So we celebrated the new season as we always do, with a certain song from The Beatles.

At some point the weather will get warmer and actually stay that was for a while. But the sunsets are already getting late enough that some of us are feeling better about them.

Long ago farmers considered that there were really only two seasons, Winter and Summer. The farmer's Summer season went from the Vernal Equinox to the Autumnal Equinox. That's why they could consider the Summer Solstice t be mid-Summer. Well, we differentiate the seasons a bit more than the old farmers did. So we'll enjoy Spring before Summer actually gets there, and then we'll enjoy that, too.

An animated GIF file
An Animated GIF File

Stephen Wilhite has died. He was the inventor of the GIF graphics file format in 1987. The idea behind the file format was to compress images so that they would move along the modems of the day at a faster rate. Back then some people still used acoustic 110 baud modems, I had a blazingly fast 300 baud modem then. At 300 baud when I downloaded a text file I could read the entire file as it went through the modem's buffer, which the software I was using to get on-line allowed me to see. Yes, my reading speed was faster than my download speed. I can't say that today. Mr. Wilhite worked at CompuServe, which was the first big social media platform. You had to dial directly into it. You attached a modem to your computer, usually by a RS-232-C cable and you were on-line. Since you were just using the ordinary phone line to connect to someplace this meant that for the entire time you were on-line you were tying up the regular phone line, something that neither my male ex nor Pickles of the North liked. So the GIF files (the letters GIF stand for Graphics Interchange Format) really helped what was called multimedia presentations in those days. This was years before Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. There was a little controversy after a while caused by some people, mostly younger ones, insisting that the letter G always had to be pronounced as a hard G. I was working with some folks in 1989, including fellow WBAI producer Jim Freund, and we wanted to settle this dispute. So we called up CompuServe and spoke to the folks who'd created the GIF format. They confirmed that GIF was pronounced as jiff. Despite whatever the hard G people claimed the people who invented the format got to say how it was pronounced.

We really don't have modems as such anymore, even though they're called that, and there are a hell of a lot of image formats these days. I'm glad to say that I'm no longer bound to 300 baud for a connection speed.

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.

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

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