The Albanian Mafia – it’s a real thing

A couple of years ago, my wife and I went down to Dallas-Fort Worth to buy some replacement chairs for our dining room table.  We were given the address of an “interesting” restaurant furniture shop, which seemed to be stocked largely with things that had fallen off the back of various and sundry trucks.  The proprietor, “Eddie”, was a very interesting person too:  an Albanian immigrant, who’d been in the USA for a couple of decades, but hadn’t lost anything of his Mediterranean background or his Albanian customs.  Miss D. was highly amused by the almost courtly way he treated her as

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Meeting an old friend for the first time

Last Saturday, Miss D. and I drove down to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to meet someone with whom I’ve had contact online for something like twenty years, but never actually met. Kim du Toit is well known in the blogosphere and shooting fraternity, and is also a writer.  He used to blog at The Other Side of Kim, but that went away some years ago.  To my great pleasure, he started blogging again a couple of years ago at his new online home, Splendid Isolation.  He’s recently remarried, after the death of his first wife, and his lady (also from South Africa) is settling down and

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Blogorado 2019, Day 5

Yesterday (Monday) saw the end of our gathering for this year.  Some folks had to leave on Sunday, due to work commitments, but the rest of us gathered for a final breakfast at the Obligatory Cow Reference before heading out in all directions.  I tackled their Western Omelet, which was as delicious as everything else on their menu.  Their breakfasts are a highlight of our get-togethers, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain about their quantity or quality. Miss D. and I headed south to Amarillo, where we met up with Alma Boykin and Old NFO for lunch.  As always, it was a

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Blogorado 2019, Day 4

Another fine, sunny day, with temperatures in the 70’s, much nicer than when we arrived!  We gathered for our usual breakfast at the Obligatory Cow Reference.  (To explain its name:  the restaurant isn’t actually called that, of course, but has a cow-related name.  Early in our Blogorado history, someone remarked that it was like an obligatory cow reference in a town that was, after all, founded towards the end of the great cattle drive period of Old West history.  The name stuck.)  I treated myself to their breakfast tacos and a short stack of flapjacks, which I couldn’t finish – they

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Blogorado 2019, Day 3

We kicked off Saturday, as usual, with breakfast at the Obligatory Cow Reference.  I renewed my acquaintance with their chicken-fried steak, topped with a generous helping of their spicy chili verde.  Accompanied by cottage fries and a couple of eggs, it was delicious. We headed out to the farm, where a couple of hours was spent preparing for the wedding celebration that afternoon.  Two of our long-term associates have decided to tie the knot, using another of our members to officiate.  FarmDad has welded together an entrance arch for the bride out of wheels from antique farm implements (which are apparently

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Blogorado 2019, Day 2

The cold snap left very cold temperatures in its wake.  When I got up yesterday (Friday) morning, the thermometer read a balmy 9 degrees Fahrenheit!  Needless to say, with that sort of cold, nobody did anything too strenuous on Friday.  We waited for the warmth to return.  We spent the day at the FarmFamily residence, eating, drinking and batting the breeze. Two of our number are getting married at this year’s Blogorado.  Farmdad has assembled a triumphal arch for them, with the aid of a number of old steel wagon wheels and his trusty welding torch.  It was moved into

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Blogorado 2019, Day 1

We had an interesting drive from North Texas to Colorado yesterday.  The massive Arctic weather front that dropped temperatures by over 60 degrees Fahrenheit in Colorado yesterday had moved well into Texas.  Miss D. and I ran into it just outside Chilicothe, where she took this amazing picture while I was driving.  It isn’t wide enough to tell the whole story.  (Clickit to biggit.) Those are four massive roll clouds in close formation, extending from one horizon to the other in an otherwise clear sky, as far as the eye could see. We were just under the first of them when she took that

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On the road again

Miss D. and I are headed for the Texas Panhandle, to spend time with our friend Alma Boykin and take in a little local culture at the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo.  (Yeeeeeee-haw!)  We’ll be back home tomorrow evening.  Please say a prayer for traveling mercies for us, if you’re so inclined. I’ve queued up a post for tomorrow morning.  For more reading matter, please visit the bloggers listed in my sidebar.  They do good work, too! Peter

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Another interesting read for SF geeks

Alma Boykin is no stranger to readers of these pages.  She’s a friend to Miss D. and I in meatspace as well as cyberspace, and we’ve enjoyed her books for years.  (We’ll be spending time with her this weekend.) Her latest novel in the “Colplatschki Chronicles” series is an interesting one.  “Fountains of Mercy” is the eighth in the series, but is actually a prequel to the other books.  It might appear at first to be a dystopian novel with science fiction overtones, but it’s far from the run-of-the-mill in both genres.  Alma makes things much more technically interesting, and given her

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When the drug wars turn hot, who do you call?

Why, John Cronin, of course, the protagonist in Jim Curtis’ “Grey Man” series of novels.  The latest in the series, a novella titled “The Grey Man – Down South“, has just been published. Jim’s a good friend in meatspace and cyberspace, so I had the privilege of beta-reading this novella for him.  It’s fast-paced and interesting.  What’s more, those who’ve “been there and done that” tell me that his descriptions of the seamier aspects of the war on drugs in South America are right on the money. The blurb reads: After too much action, too much peace gets on a man’s

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