Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Morning The World Almost Ended

Saturday, February 20, 1971, around 9:30.  I was the mid-morning DJ on WGSA-AM, a very small market daylight station in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  It was far from my first morning on the air.  In fact, I had settled into a Saturday morning routine.  I was Program Director, not bad for a 25-year-old, even for a small market station.

It was two days before Washington’s Birthday (this was before President’s Day combined the Lincoln/Washington holidays), the commercial load was light, probably spots for a few Washington’s Birthday sales, a hardware store, a car dealership, and a few other things.  The newsguy had gone for his morning break…his next newscast would be at noon.  Because the commercial load was light, I’d pulled some longer records from the library so I could enjoy the music.

At 9:33 every Saturday morning, United Press International (UPI), sent out its test for its part of the Emergency Broadcast System.  It was always the same…a succession of ten rings of the bell, the teletype would print that it was a test, I’d log that it was received and when it was received.  Like checking the readings on the transmitter meters, it was routine.

The teletype bell could be heard in Master Control, but the room was sufficiently soundproofed and the ringing wouldn’t go out over the air.  As I said, I was playing several long songs.  Probably “MacArthur Park” with Richard Harris.  It was always good for when you had to go to the bathroom.  So was “Hey, Jude.”


There was a lot of time left on the record, so I decided to rip the UPI test off the machine and log it.  There was something different about the look of it.  It was the message that came in with the ten bells, but I realized it didn’t have the row of Xs at the top and bottom of the test.  And then I read it…

THIS IS AN EMERGENCY ACTION NOTIFICATION (EAN) DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT.  NORMAL BROADCASTING WILL CEASE IMMEDIATELY.  ALL STATIONS WILL BROADCAST EAN MESSAGE ONE PRECEDED BY THE ATTENTION SIGNAL, PER FCC RULES.  ONLY STATIONS HOLDING NDEA MAY STAY ON AIR IN ACCORD WITH THEIR STATE EBS PLAN.
BROADCAST EAN MESSAGE ONE.
MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR:  HATEFULNESS/HATEFULNESS

I logged it and hunted for the file in the newsguy’s desk that had the authenticator words.  “Hatefulness/Hatefulness.”  That’s what it said on the message and that’s what it said in the envelope in his UPI book in his desk.

Was the country under attack?  The message would not be sent unless the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) sent it.  I couldn’t believe it:  We were at war.  The world was about to come to an end.  So was the record.

I was the only person in the building.  I had to decide whether to read the announcement located in the plastic pocket at the front of the copy bin, whether to sign off and turn off the transmitter (which by FCC law I could not do), or whether this was maybe a mistake.  If I was playing “MacArthur Park,” the cake was about to melt in the rain.  Whether he’d ever have that recipe again seemed somewhat irrelevant.

ICBMs with multiple atomic warheads were flying toward the US.  How many would explode near us?  Philadelphia was within an hour’s drive to the southeast, so maybe the wind would blow away the fallout; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital, was also about an hour away, but to the west, from which the wind usually blows.  Washington, DC was south. 

“MacArthur Park” ends with a chorus singing “Oh, no!” about a dozen times.  And that was exactly what I was thinking.  “Oh, no.  What in the world am I going to do?”

The song ended and I turned on the microphone.  That was when I decided to delay announcing the approach of Armageddon.  As best as I could, I back-announced the record, gave a quick weather report (a good day for annihilation), started the next record and cued up the one after that.  I can’t not tell people that their lives will soon be ending, I thought, but…but…Nixon notwithstanding, we can’t be under attack.  I couldn’t remember any acts of provocation lately.

The station was an ABC News affiliate and I monitored it to hear if they were giving instructions or news stories about the launch and retaliation or tips on what to do in the event of nuclear disaster.  Network sounded normal.  I had to read a commercial and play one or two others.  I was a reasonably good voice actor at the time and managed to get through the commercial without stammering or panicking (“So go to Emerson’s Hardware now and get those weekend supplies… before we’re all blown up!”). 

By now the time was approaching 10.  The newsguy didn’t do local news at 10, which was why he was out of the building, so I decided that if it were the end of the world, ABC could tell us.  Our format had us play music up to 10 seconds before the hour, then give a quick station ID and go to network.  The music was coming to an end when I heard bells on the teletype again.  I had to ignore that.  Music out…station ID and time check…ABC News.  I ran out of Master Control to the teletype and saw this:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR:HATEFULNESS/HATEFULNESS

CANCEL MESSAGE SENT AT 09:33EST  REPEAT CANCEL MESSAGE SENT AT 09:33EST

MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR:HATEFULNESS/HATEFULNESS

29 FEB 09:59EST

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It took about 30 minutes to tell us that they made an “Oops.”  I felt so relieved I almost cried until I saw the date…29 Feb.  This was 20 Feb.  Had the Russians taken over the teletype system as part of their insane mission?  I didn’t log it because I was running out of time.  I rushed back into Master Control, gave the weather, tried to say something pleasant (“…and the probability of nuclear attack today is 50 percent.”) 

When the commercial load permitted, we were to come out of the news with the weather and go right into a record, play a jingle, and go into the next record.  Toward the end of the second record, the UPI bell started ringing.  Whether I had enough time or not, I ran to the newsroom to see what they had to say:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR:IMPISH/IMPISH

CANCEL MESSAGE SENT AT 09:33EST  REPEAT CANCEL MESSAGE SENT AT 09:33EST

MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR:IMPISH/IMPISH

20 FEB 10:13EST

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Now the date was correct, the top and bottom rows of Xs were there, but the authenticator word had changed.  I ran back into the control room, started the next record, and ran back to the newsguy’s desk to check the authenticator.  “Impish/Impish” was next in line after “Hatefulness/Hatefulness.”  I clipped all three pieces of paper to the news log, entered times, and went back to MCR, where I stayed.  It was as good a place as any to incinerate.

Later in the 10 o’clock hour, the newsguy returned.  I could hear him shout, “What?”  And then I could hear him rushing to the control room.  He wanted an explanation.  I told him there was none to give, but I decided to stay on the air and, in fact, the Russians weren’t coming.  By that time, when he cleared the wire, a couple of stories had run explaining the oops and assuring us that everything was just fine.

Monday morning, this was on my desk:

IF THE UNITED STATES WERE BEING ATTACKED, THE EMERGENCY ACTION NOTIFICATION SYSTEM WOULD TELL YOU ABOUT IT.  THROUGH THAT SYSTEM, CIVIL DEFENSE ALERTS RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN A MATTER OF SECONDS.
            THOSE MESSAGES ARE SENT BY CIVIL DEFENSE OFFICIALS AT THE NORTH AMERICAN AIR DEFENSE COMMAND HEADQUARTERS NEAR COLORADO SPRINGS --- VIA THE TELETYPE CIRCUITS OF U-P-I AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS--- TO THOUSANDS OF RADIO STATIONS.
            AND --- LIKE ALL SYSTEMS ---THIS ONE MUST BE CHECKED OCCASIONALLY, SO CIVIL DEFENSE AUTHORITIES SCHEDULE TESTS TWICE A WEEK.
            ONE IS SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY MORNINGS---AND THIS MORNING’S TURNED INTO A TRAGIC MISTAKE THAT LEFT THE COUNTRY BREATHLESS.  A CIVIL DEFENSE TELETYPE OPERATOR SENT THE WRONG MESSAGE---A MESSAGE SAYING THERE WAS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY. . . AND THAT---BY ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT---ALL NORMAL BROADCASTING SHOULD CEASE IMMEDIATELY.
            IN MOST PLACES, IT DIDN’T.

"In most places, it didn’t”…including Ephrata, Pennsylvania. It continued:

AND---WHILE THAT’S A GOOD THING IN THIS CASE---IT HAS LED TO SOME CAUSE FOR ALARM OVER THE ENTIRE EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM.
            THE BROADCASTERS SHOULD HAVE STOPPED THEIR NORMAL PROGRAMMING IMMEDIATELY (GARBLE) HUNDRED OUT OF SEVERAL THOUSAND DID.
            IF IT HAD BEEN AN AUTHENTIC EMERGENCY, THAT WOULD HAVE CAUSED TROUBLE.
            BUT THERE IS AN EXPLANATION.
            TODAY, THERE WAS CHAOS IN VIRTUALLY EVERY NEWSROOM ACROSS AMERICA.  NO ONE HAD EVER SEEN AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY AUTHENTICATOR BEFORE.  SOME STATIONS WENT OFF THE AIR IMMEDIATELY---OTHERS DIDN’T.
            THERE WERE SEVERAL REASONS.
            IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE MESSAGE ITSELF WAS INCOMPLETE.
IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ENDED WITH A ROW OF “X”’S AND 10 BELLS.  IT WASN’T.
            IN THE SECOND PLACE, U-P-I AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WERE QUICK TO ADVISE BROADCASTERS WITH BULLETINS THAT THE REPORT WAS ERRONEOUS.
BUT MOST CAUSE FOR CONCERN COMES FROM THE THIRD REASON.  THERE WAS A DISCREPANCY OVER WHICH AUTHENTICATOR WORD WAS THE PROPER ONE.  AUTHENTICATOR WORDS CHANGE DAILYS AND BROADCASTERS HAVE LISTS GIVING THE WORDS.   THE WORD TRANSMITTED WITH TODAY’S MESSAGE WAS “HATEFULNESS.”  IT WAS THE WORD ON MOST LISTS.  BUT SOME BROADCASTERS COULDN’T FIND THAT WORD ON THEIR LISTS. . .AND HUNDREDS NEVER RECEIVED THE TRANSMISSION.
            ALSO COMPLICATING THE PROBLEM WAS THAT THE MESSAGE CAME AT THE USUAL TEST TIME. . .AND MANY BROADCASTERS IGNORED IT, THINKING IT WAS THE TEST.
            ALL THIS HAS CAUSED SPECULATION THAT THE ENTIRE NOTIFICATION SYSTEM SHOULD BE OVERHAULED.
-0-

            AMONG THE COMMENTS BY THE BROADCASTERS WERE THESE:
            THIS CONFUSION SHOWS “THE WHOLE DARN (SYSTEM) WON’T WORK.  THEY COULD HAVE BEEN DROPPING H-BOMBS ON US.”
            AN EL PASO, TEXAS, STATION SERVING 300,000 LISTENERS NEVER RECEIVED ANY MESSAGE---EITHER THE EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION OR THE CANCELLATION.  “WHAT IF IT HAD BEEN THE REAL THING?” A NEWSMAN THERE WONDERED.
            ANOTHER NEWSMAN SAID:  “THIS OUGHT TO BE EXPOSED.  THE SIMPLE FACT IS, MOST PERSONNEL SIMPLY DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO IN THESE CASES.”
SAID ANOTHER, “IT’S A GREAT WAY TO SEE WHO’S ON THE BALL.”
            BUT---WHATEVER THE RESULT---THE INVESTIGATIONS AFTER INVESTIGATIONS ARE SCHEDULED AND MANY OBSERVERS SAY IT COULD RESULT IN CHANGING THE CURRENT SYSTEM. . .STAGGERING TEST TIMES. . . AND, POSSIBLY, FORCING BROADCASTERS TO COMPLY MORE THAN THEY DID TODAY.
            -0-
            THIS WHOLE STREAM OF CRITICISM COMES FROM THE MISTAKE OF ONE MAN---A MAN NAMED W-S EBERHARDT.  IT WAS EBERHARDT WHO PUT THE WRONG TELETYPE TAPE INTO HIS TRANSMITTER AND SENT IT TO THOUSANDS OF THE NATION’S BROADCAST STATIONS.
            ONE CIVIL DEFENSE SPOKESMAN CALLED IT “A SIMPLE HUMAN ERROR.”
            BUT SIMPLICITY IS HARDLY THE WORD.
            WHEREEVER [SIC] WORD OF THE ALERT MESSAGE WAS BROADCAST, PEOPLE PANICKED.  POLICE AND RADIO STATIONS RECEIVED THOUSANDS OF CALLS FROM PEOPLE WONDERING WHAT THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WAS.
            AND IT WAS NOT UNTIL ABOUT 45 MINUTES AFTER THE ALERT STARTED THAT TICIL [SIC] DEFENSE OFFICIALS CANCELLED IT. 
            FOR NEWSMEN---AND THE PEOPLE THEY GIVE THE NEWS TO---IT WAS A FRIGHTENING EXPERIENCE.
            IT MADE THIS DAY’S TWO AUTHENTICATOR WORDS “HATEFULNESS” AND “IMPISH” STAND OUT IN THE MINDS OF MANY.
            AND---IN THE WORDS OF ONE VIRGINIA BROADCASTER---“(WE’RE CONSIDERING BILLING NORAD FOR THREE SETS OF UNDERWEAR.)  THE REAL BAD PART WAS WHEN WE OPENED THE ENVELOPE AND THE WORDS MATCHED.”
            -0-
ANDREW MCGILL – UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL 2/20

The News Director, who never worked weekends, said I did the right thing as far procedure was concerned, and that I was right that the FCC prohibited me from turning off the transmitter.  He also liked that I monitored ABC.  He and the Station Manager didn’t completely congratulate me, but the Sales Manager perked up when I told the Station Manager that I didn’t drop any commercials.  That seemed to appease them.

This recollection came about when one day I just happened to remember The Morning the World Almost Ended.  I researched it a bit and found an article by Jesus Diaz on gizmodo.com.  Posted July 5, 2012 and titled This Message from NORAD Announced Global Nuclear War—In 1971.  The UPI messages were supplied by Mike Anderson, who was working that morning at KTEM in Temple, TX. 

It’s fun to think back on it now.  Living through it?  Not so much.





















Saturday, May 20, 2017

It's Not Brawny, But...

The Food Bank I go to also offers one non-food item.  It could be the little travel-size tube of toothpaste, mouthwash, or shampoo, or regular-size soap or toilet paper.  It is a welcome, if limited, service.  There is a church-sponsored program that supplies an alleged month's worth of non-food items, but I've turned down their services because they are a coalition of fundamentalist churches.  It may be a matter of cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I refuse to be a statistic to make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside while they continue to treat my tribe like shit.

Among the Food Bank volunteers are a husband and wife team whom I always hope are on duty.  She is very pretty and fun; he is friendly and, more importantly, he is physically my "type."  Well, one of them:  Probably in his 50s, salt and pepper hair (not particularly short), salt and pepper beard, and cute as a button.  They quite clearly are still in love, and I think they like helping other people, whether they see that as a human or religious duty or they want to give back to the community.  I'm always happy when they're there.

Last time, I asked for a roll of paper towels.  He brought out a roll and said, "Well, it's not Brawny, but..." and his voice kind of trailed off.  We both had a chuckle at this Brand X, utterly generic, probably dollar store variety of paper towels, and we moved on to choice of meat.

As I walked home, a couple of things hit me.  How we trust and prefer brand names to lesser-known products.  We prefer to believe the tag line (such as "the quicker picker upper") to trying something else.  And I thought, "Maybe it won't pick up everything on the first pass, but it feels soft and it will absorb...and it's free."

Also, most of my professional life, I would have remarked the same as Mr. Handsome Volunteer Guy.  We were far from wealthy, but Jack and I were comfortable and we would go with the name brand items.  There is, after all, a certain cache when "preferred" brands are visible.  However, as money became scarce, the items on sale were considered more seriously than before.  Then it became a necessity to look for maybe the almost-lowest-priced items.  By the time I considered suicide, the dollar store was the first stop.

It's interesting to look back, if only to appreciate where I am now.  If I remember correctly (and, anymore, that's not a given), my highest income was nearly $50,000, before taxes and other deductions.  I was there, I think, for two years.  The job changed and I was paid less; I was laid off and was offered less when I was re-hired.  Between my pension and Social Security, my income is a tad more than $23,000.  That's usually over the cut-off point for any kind of social service consideration.  I am very well aware and quite thankful that I am above poverty level, but between payments for this, that, and the other thing, I rarely have anything I can spend...you know, "mad money."

Once marriage equality became legal in 2015, Jack and I decided against getting married because we would both take a hit on our Social Security incomes.  That's normal, that's why an unmarried grandma lives with that man...they would, essentially, be punished by the government for being married, so they live together.  Jack's Social Security was for his disability; somehow, it was assumed he could survive on $500 a month...and $16 worth of food stamps.  That's $6000 a year for someone the government acknowledged could not work.  I did not enter into consideration because we were "just roommates."

I challenge anyone in government to live on $500 a month.  It is unimaginable to me, although I know that many people have to.  And some of those people have kids.  "Well, they should be able to make ends meet with this." Seriously?  Is that being humanitarian or socialist?  Or is it more like "I've got mine; fuck you"?

I spent the last hour reviewing different English translations of the Bible story of The Good Samaritan, Luke 10: 25-37*.  Except for a few word differences, the moral is the same. Who is your neighbor, the one whom you are supposed to show love and compassion toward?  Oddly, not the person who shares your religious or political beliefs.  Some of us think life is like that.

My life is not what it was.  My husband died, I'm retired, I'll be 71 in a couple of months, I am "making do" the best I know how.  This doesn't matter to the husband and wife team who work at the Food Bank.  They are probably Republicans, because the majority in the area are, and they may well have voted for #45, since he won by a large margin here. They may well be of the popular religion, but I consider them worthy of the uppercase C for Christian.  If they are Christian, they are trying to follow the namesake.  From my viewpoint, that's pretty refreshing.

*The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 And the next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Saturday, May 6, 2017

USA: The New Banana Republic

Welcome to the new normal, which is thoroughly abnormal.  The US congress will do nothing about censorship by internet providers for two reasons:
1) The companies in question are private companies and can make up their own rules about service; 
2) Congress passed a bill that allows internet providers to sell the information they gather.

I really don't like living in the US anymore.  I was never an "America -- love it or leave it" kind of guy.  We had statements written by our founders, though, that I felt were worth fighting for and worth working on to improve the country.  "All (people) are created equal."  "We, the people" rather than "Some of us" or "Those with the most money."  "Equal justice under law."  "Freedom of religion" which also means "freedom from religion."  "The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  I used to think that everyone mattered, which was why I was a demonstrator for civil rights in the '60s.  I am white, but it was important to me that we all be able to live equally, that we all could drink from the same water fountain and go to the same schools.  I never thought I'd feel the same about being gay, but now that's come up again...it's all right to discriminate against LGBT people if serving us goes against their "deeply held religious beliefs."  That is to say, "fundamentalist 'christian' beliefs."  I really do wish the Church of Scaffies were real and active in the US so I could discriminate against the fundamentalists because of my deeply held religious beliefs.

Do you know how much it hurts me to hope that those helping the persecuted gay Chechens don't try to seek asylum in the US?  What happened to "Give me your...huddled masses yearning to breathe free"?  They would be turned away at customs, probably after a long and emotionally painful detainment.  They are, after all, the three things Those in Charge hate:  homosexual, brown, and Muslim (by default, if not actually).  Any one of those labels are now valid to challenge one seeking sanctuary; all three?  Enjoy your flight back. And if they were granted asylum, some of the good citizens around them would probably make life hell for them.  We are a country whose leaders currently seek to cut off federal funds to cities that declare themselves "sanctuary cities."  The "golden door" referred to on the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty has been shut and locked.

Corporations bowing to religious pressure is not new and I see no reason for that to change. The US isn't supposed to be a religion-based country but it is. The government is supposed be "of the people, by the people, for the people" and it clearly is not.  I'm appalled and disgusted by how low the US has crashed in the last few months.  The prospect that it will sink even deeper is probable. I'm 70.  In just a few months, I have given up hope that the country will return to its senses, that the ideals will again become possible and working toward those ideals will be honorable, and that civility and compromise will return to public discourse.  It would be so nice if we were once again "we, the people" as opposed to "us and them" ("them" said with a sneer), but I think that corner has been turned.

We've gone from "All (people) are created equal" to the ultimate rule in George 
Orwell's Animal Farm:  "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

The country is not what it was.  The country is certainly not what it could be. The country is in no way what it should be, if it still had ideals.

Friday, April 14, 2017

US Response To Chechen Gay Torture: Nothing

I saw this today:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/they-called-us-animals-chechens-prison-beatings-electric-shocks-anti-gay-purge

My response to the website that posted it:

I’ve known about this for a couple of weeks, no thanks to US news.  They’ve been avoiding it like crazy.  However, news of the increasing horror and brutality has been reported on a US LGBTI blog called joemygod.
One of my more disgusting reactions has been “Don’t even try to send any of these men to the US.”  In the first place, with all of the stupid ideology in place, they probably wouldn’t make it through customs. Our “president” has made it all right to go back to hating gays…not that it ever went away completely, but it died down after the marriage equality ruling. And we are overly suspicious of foreigners.
We have a gigantic statue on an island just outside New York.  It’s this big woman in a robe, points of freedom jutting out from her head.  In one hand she’s holding a tablet inscribed with the date of our Declaration of Independence; in the other she holds a torch, lighting the way to a new, better land.  As one person described it, “The torch represents enlightenment and the plaque represents knowledge,” both of which seem to be in short supply in the US these days.
The Statue of Liberty was seen as a welcoming, “you’re safe now” symbol to immigrants and, equally important, to refugees fleeing terror in their own countries.  Inscribed at the base: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse from your teeming shores.  Send these, the hopeless, tempest-tossed to me.  I raise my lamp beside the golden door.”  How quaint.  Before “President” #45 was sworn in on January 20, 2017, one could actually believe that.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate saying that I would discourage any of the LGBTI Chechens to seek asylum in the US…not because I’m anti-refugee or anti-gay (I’m gay), but because they would face humiliation trying to enter the country and then would be denied admission...and if any of them did manage to get in, they would face endless discrimination.
I am horrified by how low the US has sunk in only 3 months.  Both the Chechen terror and the US lack of response are very distressing to me.  
The country is not what it was.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Such A Week...

...and it's only Wednesday.

I have had my first porn story published by a new friend and fellow Blogger blogger;
I have had my first porn story re-printed on a private, very specific site;
I have had my first experience with cyber sex as a result of my first porn story.

I'm sorry.  I find this remarkable.

My last blog expressed a fascination with nut tapping, nut shots, ball busting, that sort of thing.  It wasn't that I objected, but I was concerned about what middle school and younger guys were doing to themselves (by having it done to them, not necessarily knowing their nuts were about to punched) and others (by landing one to others, usually without warning).

I'm pleased to say I remain concerned and I've pretty much got over it.  I said at the time that it really didn't bother me when it came to adults or college-age guys or even high school young guys because there's an unspoken informed consent given, apparently, by virtue of being male and alive.  Pain management and tolerance is part of growing up; getting whacked in the balls and not barfing your brains out is what separates the guys who can take it and those who are unprepared.

After I wrote that, I googled more about ballbusting on porn sites.  I included wrestling in the search, low blows, ball crushing, bdsm, that sort of thing.  It dawned on me (after 70 years) that it's OK.  Both guys know what's going on and then they go to it.  Really.  Why not?  Balls aren't just for making babies and neither are dicks.

When I need to work something through, I often write about it.  I'd been toying with an idea of a young guy who was picked on and bullied throughout his school life...until he saw nut punch videos on YouTube.  After a few uses of his new knowledge, the bullying stopped.  The writing blossomed from there.  One of the google searches took me to a site about late-teen and 20-something guys.  I read a couple of the stories.  By the time I'd read "The Ballbusting Olympics," I was pretty sure I'd found a site to my liking.  Plus, it was writing...imagination required.

Once I'd got over myself, I did more looking around and discovered a private site for men who get off on busting balls (buster), having them busted (bustee), or both (mutual).  If you are gay, you know what it's like when you discover that you are not the only gay person in the world, that there are others of all ages and sizes and temperament and interests.  Through this portal (and I don't feel at liberty to name it), I discovered what I already knew, that there really are men who get off on ballbusting.  It's not a 100% gay thing, but the site itself is more gay than straight, a minority within a minority.  I am grateful I was accepted.

I'd also fairly much finished my story...it was about 85 pages in length, god knows how many words, but it also got me off while writing it.  I wrote to the man whose blog it is and asked if maybe he could critique like maybe the first chapter or two.  We connected immediately.  He found a new (well, you know) writer and I found an outlet.  I had to make some cuts and changes, which is one of the neat things about having an editor:  you've been very close to what you've written, whereas your editor is reading it for the first time and sees the holes and the problems and the good stuff.

Although ballbusting has been a fantasy all my life, I never have been able to pursue it as a reality.  Now that I'm...um...of a certain age, I don't see myself launching a new period of sexual adventures.  For me.  What you do is your business.  But suddenly I am in touch with a man who is interested in my writing, my ideas, and even though I don't have any experience with what I'm writing about, I've kind of figured it out and, hell, it's fiction.  And thanks to the other site, I'm also connecting with other men, most of whom don't mind if I ask what I think are fairly stupid questions.  I feel welcomed.

We did some collaborating and it made its debut Monday, February 20, 2017.  I share it with you and caution you that this is not for those who are offended by gay sex and sexual exploration.  We started with a cast description.  Again, unapologetic male nudity and sexual aggression may happen.  You've been warned.

http://ballbustingboys.blogspot.com/2017/02/my-life-as-nut-cracker-cast-of.html

and then Part One

http://ballbustingboys.blogspot.com/2017/02/my-life-as-nutcracker-part-1-i-learn-to.html

It was difficult to wait until Monday morning to see it.  Jack had many books of poetry printed and he described waiting for publication day like being pregnant because each book was his child. I had a wall featuring framed rejection letters for my novels and music. It was very much like a kid waiting for her/his birthday to see what s/he gets for presents. Yet I hadn't anticipated the rush of seeing it...there...for all the world to read.

Later Monday night, one of the site admins at the private site re-published it, cast of characters and Part One.  At first I was incredibly excited, but then I started worrying about Alex.  We had the agreement that he would be posting it.  Turns out, he was delighted.  More exposure for me, more exposure for ballbustingboys.blogspot.com, and he's a member of the private site, too, so no problem.  He still gets to publish first and the private site may or may not continue.

It's been well-received.  There have been comments on both sites and I couldn't be happier.  I've made some friends at the members-only site and this morning someone wanted to chat.  Cool.  I had some writing to do, but it wasn't pressing.  He wanted me to bust his balls in a cyber kind of way.  Well, I panicked.  His profile said that he liked to be busted and listed a couple of things he liked.  I discovered his profile while we were getting serious.  He knew that I had no actual experience with any of this, but he ignored that and kept on.  OK.  I had written some pretty explicit ball bustings in that first part and I guess he thought that was good enough.

Big difference:  When I'm writing, I write a couple of drafts before I'm done.  I have time to sit around and think, "Ooh...this would be painful" and put it into the computer.  When I come back to it, I may have a better idea and re-write.  Suddenly I was with somebody with real experience who wanted me to bust his balls in real time.  No edits.  No re-writes.  Get this guy off.  Now.  I've seen videos and have read a lot, so I started out kind of slowly and got rougher depending on what he had to say...and I have to admire him for doing what I was telling him to do and also keep up the dialogue.  I was a wreck at first, but he seemed happy.  When I got rougher, my hands started shaking.  I felt like he was depending on me.  And it worked.  I don't intend to open a sideline business, but, looking back on it, it was a fascinating experience.  Instant moment to moment creative writing.  I couldn't help but take some pride in that, too.

I am finishing a story for the private website.  The characters are older, not "boys," and I'm curious to see where this may lead.  I have a small backlog of ballbusting stories that I've already raided for ideas and may spruce them up for the guys.  I also want to get inspired to write more for my publisher.  As I said, now that I've got over myself and have accepted a major part of me, I want to get on with it.

Published, re-published, and getting a guy off all in the first three days of my new "career." I could get used to this really easily.