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  1. I was just wandering through GA this afternoon and happened across this story - 'Thrift Shop Nation' by Geron Kees. A single long chapter of 29,000 words; I enjoyed it and thought it was just right for a Valentine's Day afternoon... Find it on GA here: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/geron-kees/thriftshopnation
  2. Hi Everyone, I expect you have all read CYSAQ at some time? I hope so anyway. If not then it is posted on Ted Louis' site: http://www.tedlouis.com/ IMHO it's an excellent story and I have found it posted in several places and even as a PDF download, although I can't remember where I found that! Wandering this evening I happened to return to Ted Louis' home page and saw the following listed amongst the recent story updates: "November 11, 2016 - Can You Spare A Quarter - Final Addendum by Tiger Paw" Addendum (written Nov 10, 2016) The story you have just read was finally completed in the spring of 2016. I regret now to have to let you know that 'Jamie' of the story died on November 6, 2016 of cancer in his stomach. He was two days short of 32 years old. The symptoms came on suddenly and without warning, and it was over before much could be done. To say that I and everyone else are shattered does not even begin to touch the matter. Any light in the world for me has gone out. Ironically this year had been his best. He had put behind him finally the lingering nightmares of his youth, and had even begun to try his hand at writing with impressive results in my own and the opinion of others. Sadly the couple of works he began were not completed as none of us knew what was coming. For those that might ask what else I have written or might write, the answer is that this is the only thing I have ever done, and now ... I shall never write again. 'Jamie' was the most wonderful, brightest, and beautiful soul I ever encountered. I was honoured beyond all measure by the title that he bestowed upon me and used until the last. "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again."
  3. I wasn't aware of that particular B-52 crash in North Carolina... but there have been many others. IMO the most famous (infamous?) being the 1966 Rota/Palomares mid-air collision incident in Almeria, Spain Three H-bombs fell on land and the conventional explosives in two of the warheads detonated resulting in widespread radioactive pollution which required a massive clean up including the destruction of vast areas of crops. IIRC one or more bombs went through all the interlocks bar one! Phew! The bigger headache was the 4th bomb which fell into the sea and could not be found. After an 80 day search it was eventually found by the Bathyscaphe 'Alvin' very deep indeed down at 2,500 feet hanging by it's parachute off the side of an underwater canyon. It's a nail-biting story because the Alvin crew only found it when they listened to what a local fisherman said and stopped looking where the USN insisted they keep looking. To cap it all the bomb was dropped during the first recovery attempt and temporarily lost again. Yet another well known 'Broken Arrow' incident was the B-52 crash near Thule Airbase in Greenland in 1968 requiring another big decontamination operation. If you're feeling brave Wikipedia has a long list of military nuclear accidents here. Pleasant dreams! :) Personally I'm more worried about Mr Trump getting his finger anywhere near the button.
  4. Sorry no joy! I'd have remembered that plot line and I've rambled fairly far and wide across the web in this genre. For amusement I scrolled leisurely through the 39 pages of recommendations on the now moribund 'QueersChOOL' site and drew a blank. (BTW - guess which story was QS' very first recomendation back on 18 Feb 2010? Good choice! But sadly the link now 404s. See for yourself@ http://queerschool.com/?page=39 and don't forget to scroll to bottom of the page!) QueersChOOL's accompanying pictures may not be to my particular taste, although admittedly some of the shots are good 'art' and there's nothing to frighten the horses, but it is a great collection of story recommendations and I'd love to see that site or a similar recommedation service still running today. Any volunteers? I also tried another useful search method which I saw suggested on a GA forum years ago. So I duly ran the search criteria site:nifty.org "Oklahoma" in Google - sadly no joy but what an amazing collection of c*** it turned up! Nifty really is all things to all men, women, boys, girls, inbetweens, slaves, animals, aliens, whatever. I suppose we should be grateful for our freedoms and no doubt we all have our pecadillos but obviously some people's pecadillos are somewhat further out on the taste, decency and weirdness spectrum than my own. Pehaps I'm just boring or lacking in imagination? Obviously you can utilise the same search methodology on any site crawled by Google e.g. searching GA for 'Oklahoma' would be site:gayauthors.org "Oklahoma" which did bring up that Dabeagle's story 'Su Cuy'gar!' does involve the play Oklahoma but not the female lead plot vehicle. (BTW - You can use CTRL + F in most browsers to search a webpage - e.g. finding 'Oklahoma' in long one page Su Cuy'gar! story.) Perhaps Cole's reader mis-remembered exactly which musical it was? A wild goose chase or maybe a Duck Duck Goose chase?
  5. Can anyone remember reading a well researched and well written novel based on the premise that the Manhattan Project fails? The Trinity test goes off as a damp squib and Truman is left with no option but to proceed with invasion of Japan - which is as ghastly and gruesome as everyone feared. My brain thinks it might have been written by James Clavell but I can't see it amongst his works. Sticks in my mind because of the interesting section on the Japanese plans to use gas warfare including nerve gas. Perhaps I just have a soft spot for the well writen alternative history - IMO the best being Robert Harris' quite excellent "Fatherland" with an honourable mention for Len Deighton's "SS-GB."
  6. For a tech head like me there was another important anniversary last month - the first ever atomic bomb was detonated on 16 July 1945 - so this year is the 70th anniversary - 'The Gadget' was a copy of the 'Fat Man' implosion bomb later dropped on Nagasaki (the first bomb 'Little Boy' dropped on Hiroshima was a much simpler gun type fission bomb that was pretty much guaranteed to work - fire two large sub-critical lumps of uranium together hard and they will go bang!). The Trinity test site is now part of the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico - see Wikipedia's excellent Trinity Test article and stacks more online - Trinity site open day experiences are even on Trip Advisor! If you want a very readable and truly fascinating scientific, technical and even philosophical history of the birth of nuclear weapons then you need to find a copy of Richard Rhodes magnum opus "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" - unsurprisingly he won the Pulitzer Prize: "Praised both by historians and former Los Alamos weapon scientists, the book is considered a general authority on early nuclear weapons history, as well as the development of modern physics in general, during the first half of the 20th century. Nobel Laureate I. I. Rabi, one of the prime participants in the dawn of the atomic age, called it "an epic worthy of Milton. Nowhere else have I seen the whole story put down with such elegance and gusto and in such revealing detail and simple language which carries the reader through wonderful and profound scientific discoveries and their application." Personally I think dropping the bombs on Japan was the right thing to do. Millions of lives were probably saved. I agree with many of historical reasons cited above, particularly the likely enormous casualty rate on both sides after the ghastly fighting to take Okinawa - but a personal reason will suffice. Frankly I'm lucky to be here - my father was sunk twice by the Japanese just before the fall of Singapore - the second time he fortunately decided to swim for the shore as his ship foundered, had he been picked out of the water by the IJN he would have been handed over to the IJA forces being landed on the east coast of Malaya - those ratings who were "rescued" by the IJN were shot (murdered) a few days later when retreating British forces ambushed the overconfident Japanese and inflicted serious casualties on them. The Japanese army response was to machine gun all their POW later that day, including the naval ratings "rescued" from my father's ship. Brainwashed or not the Japanese were a callous, unforgiving enemy and if I had been an Allied serviceman training for the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands I would have lauded Harry Truman and the thousands of people who brought the Manhattan Project to fruition in the very nick of time.
  7. Good point... and if you listen to the final few minutes of that BBC doc "How Gay Became OK" you will hear well known UK radical LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell expressing his concerns along exactly those lines - what happens when social attitudes plateau? Job done? "Danger with equality agenda is that once you win it the movement collapses e.g. Black Civil Rights, Woman's Movement..."
  8. Definitely not US politics but very on topic in wider meaning of Chris' title "Changes in the Gay World" is BBC Radio 4 documentary which was transmitted last week entitled "How Gay Became OK" - here's the programme précis: "Why have British attitudes towards homosexuality changed so far and so fast? Less than 50 years ago, sex between men was a criminal act. Now they can marry. It's not just the law that has changed: we have. Surveys suggest that public opinion about homosexuality has undergone a dramatic shift over the same period. Jo Fidgen asks what drives this kind of change in collective attitudes." IMO it's another great listen from R4's Analysis team and is available both as an MP3 Podcast (26MB) from the link above and the usual time limited (30 days I think) "Listen Again" audio-player feature common across most BBC Radio output nowadays. More of a shock to me (naive, old fashioned, just old, more moralistic than hedonistic, plain scared?) was the trailer which ran immediately after the programme for an upcoming edition of BBC R4's Report programme "Chemsex" be broadcast tomorrow - a small part of the promo reads: "Crystal Meth, GHB/GBL and Mephedrone form what some health workers call an 'un-holy trinity' of drugs that together can heighten arousal and strip away inhibitions. They've become increasingly popular on London's gay scene, and the effects can see some users taking part in weekend-long sex parties, involving multiple partners..." So sad, sounds just awful - the worst excesses of bathhouse culture reinvented for the smartphone age?
  9. This Be The Verse - Philip Larkin They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another’s throats. Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can, And don’t have any kids yourself. Not sure if this is the place for a published poet's work - and a famous one at that. Recently I had the sad occasion to meet a young teen whose life wasn't all sunshine and roses essentially because he was the lesser loved of two sibblings. His sense of self worth and self confidence was already pretty shot, he expected to fail at everything, and acted accordingly. Larkin's first verse says it all.
  10. I came across "Little Man" yesterday on GA. Read it at one sitting - only 11 chapters, c.60,000 words all in. I enjoyed it. Plot is very contained focussing almost exclusively on the relationships between the 3 main characters. I suppose you could say it is a stereotypical gay college boy gets the jock fantasy - but still nicely done IMO. AFAICS the author has only written one other "straight" piece (that's "straight" as in "not Sci-Fi" - a genre I don't boldly go near very often). His short story "A Sense of Family" is fine too - but - well - er - um - a bit short for my tastes - some great characters get created - and then - BANG - it's all done and dusted unsatisfyingly soon.
  11. Thank you - loved the story - bittersweet ending seems a little harsh on Saulius' otherwise personable character perhaps? Hmm - I didn't know Lithuania (and the other Baltic States as well) had such a problem with culturally entrenched homophobia Re: Saulius' comment "You have to understand, Lithuania is a Catholic country, gays aren't supposed to exist. Homophobia is normal." Trying to put a positive spin on this I suppose Lithuanian society hasn't been out of the Soviet/Russian deep freeze very long and they only acceded to the EU in May 2004 so perhaps one shouldn't be hyper critical? Other very Catholic countries have made surprisingly radical changes in short timescales e.g. Ireland. Interesting Wikipedia article "LGBT Rights in Lithuania" and a lot more online especially regarding the controversial 2009 "Protection of Minors" law which does sound an appallingly retrograde step - see Huffington Post and much else. PS. My curiosity about the very particular bridge descibed and pictured as "a steel through truss to bridge the gap." was sated by Wikipedia's comprehensive article on Truss bridges! It would seem that even the classic US "Covered bridges" (the eponymous Bridges of Madison County) are actually "wooden through truss bridges" in engineering terms. Learn something new every day!
  12. I'd never heard of IDAHOT before this morning - apparently 17 May is International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia? At first I couldn't believe this GCHQ story when it was mentioned during a review of UK Sunday newspapers on the BBC but it seems to be true e.g. Mail on Sunday (hardly a bastion of tolerance) and the same picture is on GCHQ's own website at: http://www.gchq.gov.uk/press_and_media/news_and_features/Pages/rainbow-celebration-to-mark-IDAHOT-day.aspx GCHQ is the UK equivalent to the NSA and it is the direct successor to the WWII era code-breaking station at Bletchly Park where Alan Turing famously broke the U-Boat Enigma Code and quite possibly saved the Allies from losing the Battle of the Atlantic if not the whole damn war. (IMHO Robert Harris' novel "Enigma" and the film of the book are both good value if you don't fancy tackling more heavy-weight code-breaking histories) Post-war Turing was of course equally famously arrested, persecuted and "treated" for being a gay man. His suicide combined with his unique contributions to winning WWII and to Computer Science have made him into a modern-day gay icon - and belatedly led to his receiving a Royal Pardon in 2013 - none of which helped him much when it counted in 1952! I had thought of adding this to Cole's "Irony? An English sense of humour?" topic and the irony aspect also relates directly to Nigel Gordon's topic "Petition for Pardon" after the (very) pothumous pardon was granted to Alan Turing as if he was the only gay man ever persucuted by our society and the UK State!
  13. Even living in the land of the wild Haggis it isn't something I would want to eat every day, although as it happens my local award winning Fish & Chip shop does a very nice line in "Haggis Bites," if you don't fancy fish with your chips. Deep fried of course, the're delicious, and No, they don't do deep fried Mars Bars. My recommendation would be "don't knock it 'till you've tried it." - as with several goumet foods it's one of those things that it's best not to think too much about before or whilst eating - e.g. some wonderful cheeses smell like s*** but actually taste sublime, squid, shellfish and Foie Gras spring to mind too, and then there's that the expensive Kopi Luwak coffee that's been round the block so to speak. If you can get to a properly done Burns Night supper with good haggis, neaps & tatties, and a few drams of decent whisky to wash it all down with then IMHO it's not to be missed. Once a year is probably enough. Of course you also need someone who can recite Burn's "Address to a Haggis" in the proper dialect.
  14. ...and Americans don't do irony? How about just a few US Military favourites - and if these don't show the finest grasp of irony, dissimulation and feigned ignorance, whatever - then my very English sense of irony must be failing? "Collatoral Damage" (missing the target and killing someone else by accident), Operation Iraqi Freedom (well that one worked brilliantly!), The Patriot Act (can blanket state surveillance really be patriotic in the Land of the Free? BTW - did you know the Act has a "bacronym" too), Blue on Blue & Friendly Fire (you'll be feeling very blue if it happens to you and it certainly isn't friendly), The War on Terrorism (and you declare war on an "ism" how precisely?), the list goes on...
  15. I was happily wrapped up in this new Seattle based story and then... it just stopped... damn and blast! Duh! - hadn't noticed it was flagged as "In Progress" with Chapter 10 posted today... and things were just getting interesting! Makes a change to have a lead character who isn't poster boy handsome or a gym bunny hunk. I will be looking forward to new chapters. The author, Mark C.'s synopsis goes like this: Ben, a 28 year old computer professional, is looking for love and the guy he wants to wake up to for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, that guy is still to be found and Ben has had so many strike outs it seems as if he will sit out love in his life. Then a new face at work brings hope. But will Ben's bad luck hold true, or will this time Ben win the brass ring in life? Direct link into One Day Maybe story page or find Mark C's listing on the Castle Roland site's Library page. PS. Hadn't come across the phrase "win the brass ring in life" before - however Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary have - so must be just me?
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