Category Archives: Uncategorized

Yay, more intrusive government!

I had honestly thought that more people knew about this, but apparently I was wrong.

One of the many, many amendments to the laughably-named Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (three lies for the price of one!) is this little gator in the swamp which mandates “impaired driving safety equipment on all new vehicles”, such “equipment” preventing the vehicle from moving if it thinks the driver may be drunk.

I’m sure the current technology which has given us the flawless cell-phone, and computers which never brick themselves, will be equally fault-free in your vehicle; and of course Congress would never tread firmly upon people’s right to privacy.

As an aside, if you’re still giving money to MADD — why? They jumped the shark a long time ago, and these days are all about trampling people’s rights in the name of “safety”.

While the gloating MADD presser indicates that such mandated technology “could” be in your 2026 vehicle, you can bet a doughnut that it “will” be in the 2026 model year, unless Congress (hah!) shuts them down.

Yes, if you buy a 2026 model vehicle you’re going to have to prove to it that you’re not impaired before it’ll start, and to keep it rolling down the road.

In other words you’re going to have to prove you’re not guilty of impaired driving before any crime of impaired driving has occurred; and you’ll have to prove your innocence each and every time you start your vehicle.

Democrats (yes, I include MADD in that designation): Giving you what you voted for good, hard, and rough since … forever.



Bloody hell

The Nordstream posts are still collecting comments and spam even though they’re months old

Mostly spam, truth be told, although I did delete another drive-by insult today.


So, I spent this morning noodling around the “Discussion” setting, and found out that I can set WordPress to shut down commenting on posts that are older than a time limit set by me.

Although I hate to do it, I’ve decided that commenting on posts here that are older than a month just generates a lot more heat than light, so I’ve disabled the comment function on posts older than 30 days.

And can anyone tell me what marking comments as “Spam” actually does in WordPress? I’m marking up to 50 comments a day as “Spam”, and other than deleting those comments, I’m not sure what else happens, because it darned sure doesn’t seem to slow down the spammers at all.

Ah, well.

Sorry about the 30-day limit, guys, but enough is enough. I knew I was going to regret those two posts.


EDIT: Upon consultation with friends, I have increased the time limit for comments from 30 days to 90 days. I can always throttle it back if it remains a problem.


Mahgrebi Chicken Soup

Since I was blithering on about Aleppo pepper earlier, might as well toss out a recipe for y’all to try.

2 pounds of chicken thighs
1 Yellow onion
6 garlic cloves
2 carrots
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups of baby spinach (no chop!)
4 tablespoons fresh dill (chopped)
8 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
1 preserved lemon (rinsed, discard pulp)
1 fresh lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Dust your chicken thighs with salt and pepper, cut your onion into rings, and get four of your garlic cloves. Toss all of the above into a nice big stock-pot, cover with enough water, and set to simmering until the chicken is cooked. Call it a half-hour or so.

When the chicken is cooked fish it out. Be sure to get all of the chicken skin out of there, and pitch it. (Ick.)

In a frying pan, warm up some olive oil. While the olive oil is getting there, pull the bones out of your chicken and shred it up, slice your carrots real thin, and smash your last two (uncooked) garlic cloves.

Toss the minced garlic into the hot oil, stir it around and let it get all nice and nutty, then throw in your chicken. Stir some more, then add your carrots and the spices.

Stir, making sure that the spices cover everything — shouldn’t take very long — then dump everything in the frying pan back into the broth. Be sure you’ve rinsed the salt off of your preserved lemon, cut it into toothsome little chunks, and bung that in there, too.

Simmer that for about 20-30 minutes, cut off your heat, give it a good stir, then toss in the spinach, the dill, and the parsley, and stir gently.

Squeeze every bit of the juice from the fresh lemon into the soup, and serve with chunks of nice, crusty bread.

Voila! Mahgrebi Chicken Soup.


Ah, peppers

Seems every recipe site I look at has suddenly discovered Aleppo pepper. Goodness.

Aleppo pepper is actually a process. Halaby peppers are picked when properly ripe, cut into strips, de-seeded, and placed in the sun to almost dry.

Once they’re at the proper state, they’re chopped and combined with salt and olive oil; then placed back out to dry completely. The result is a lovely mild, tangy, complex little spice with an almost raisin-y overtone.

While it’s named for the city of Aleppo in Syria, honestly, most Aleppo pepper comes from Turkey these days; and this is a good thing, because the Turks tend to produce a more consistent product.

What you should look for in the spice shop are nice red flakes, with a soft texture and an oily sheen. Turn the bottle looking for seeds. If you see seeds in the pepper, don’t buy it — seeds make the spice bitter, and change the taste fairly significantly.

I use Aleppo pepper in a lot of places where the recipe calls for crushed pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, and I usually keep it in two forms: a jar of straight Aleppo pepper; and a blend of Aleppo and other mild chilies — usually the Uc Biber blend from Flatiron Pepper Company. (If you find the Uc Biber is to your liking, be advised that the oily Aleppo pepper plays merry hob with mechanical equipment, so Flatiron only does occasional limited runs of that particular blend.)

I’m pleased that this Middle Eastern staple is being discovered by cooks Stateside, and I wait with bated breath for the US to find other lovely Mid-East spices, like sumac.



We have met a whole lot of new people at Libertycon and Imaginarium, and since my mental squirrels were in full panic mode, I probably need to put up a FAQ.

Yes, this is Raconteur Press. We are publishing anthologies right now, and if you have a story that you think might fit one of our many, many open calls, send it here:

If you need to email our Editor-In-Chief:

Our In-House Graphic Expert and Designer:

And She Who Makes Sure We Wear Pants:

If you’d like to see what Your Humble Scribe looks like — and get a really good visual explanation of the phrase:

“My head is full of squirrels. They’re hyper-caffeinated and at a rave. As long as they’re all dancing to the same song, everything is ok, but sooner or later one of the sods loses his glow-stick and everything goes to hell”

— log-on to OldNFO’s YubTub channel at noon Central time on Tuesdays, and 1500 Central time on Thursdays. We’re live, we have no idea what we’re doing, and there may be rants.

We also have a General YubTub channel where the Three Moms of the Apocalypse do videos, and we’re uploading helpful videos for new authors.

On Facebook we have the Raconteur Press page, and the North Texas Troublemakers page. The NTTM page is a place of laughter and goofiness; as well as advice, announcements, and kudos. If you’re looking for stuffy professionalism, the Raconteur Press page is probably more your line.

We currently do have plans to publish novels, but that has been pushed out a year or so, due to the excitement over our anthos. If you have a novel you really want someone to look at, Hillbilly at Three Ravens Publishing is a friend of ours, and an all-around Good Dude. He’ll do right by you. 

We also met the guys at Jumpmaster Press while we were at Imaginarium, and I’m favourably impressed. 

If you’re looking to meet us in the paint, our last convention of 2023 will be P-CON, we may be frazzled, but we’ll be friendly. I promise.

We haven’t mapped out our con schedule for 2024 yet — outside of Libertycon — but when we do, we’ll post the schedule here.

I think that should cover most of the bases.


Pretty Postcards

Cedar, Middle Mom here, posting on behalf of the ‘Dawg…

The Imaginarium Convention is going on this weekend, and two of the Moms of the Apocalypse are in attendance. You know what that means! There’s an open Postcard Challenge.

Here’s how it’s done:

Email for your image, and keep in mind, only the best twenty stories make it into the books. This challenge will be ending after P-Con 2023, so you only have one more chance.

Seize the day! In very few words!

Actually, Yes.

I made a statement at LibertyCon which seems to be somewhat controversial, and a couple of folks have asked if I actually did say this thing.

Yup. Sure did.

So, let me go on record here so that anyone can find it: Raconteur Press encourages — nay, expects — our anthology authors to re-publish their short stories.

Let me explain. When we publish an anthology, we retain the rights to the stories in the anthology for a period of one year. After that year, the rights to that story revert to the author.

(Side note: we will continue to pay royalties on the anthologies to the individual authors after the one year period. As long as we can send at least a $10 payment to each author, we will do so.)

Since we will be launching about 26 anthologies in 2024, several of our authors will have enough stories to fill an anthology of their very own — and we encourage you to do so.

Once you’ve got eight or ten short stories under your belt — and the one-year rights retention period is over — gather them into a book of your own and publish them.

Now, read this part carefully: Yes, we fully realize that you’ll be getting paid twice. Once for our anthology, and again for your own collection: GOOD. GET PAID.

So, now it’s in writing.

Raconteur Press.

What is your solution?

In response to my post about student debt, I hear a lot of people muttering, “But, LawDog, what is your solution to the student debt crisis?”

I’m glad you asked.

First the “student debt crisis” is the creation and bastard child of the Federal Government. It is, point of fact, squarely and fully the fault of Washington DC that this “crisis” exists in the first place.

Given that the Federal Laws and programs that created this whole mess are still in effect, any “solution” to said mess has got to start with eliminating those laws and programs. Period. It makes absolutely zero sense to attempt to fix a problem without directly addressing what created the problem to begin with.

So, any solution needs to start with the publicly admitting their responsibility for mare’s nest; and fixing the laws and programs that created it to begin with.

Second, it is manifestly unfair for the taxpayer to be on the hook for debt that taxpayer never signed onto in the first place. I didn’t sign a contract to pay for a useless degree in Gender Studies, why the hell should my hard-earned tax money go to pay for it?

However, while it is the fault of the Federal Government, some fault should be heaped upon the shoulders of greedy universities and colleges. They saw an opportunity in the feckless and unwise laws and programs of the Federal Government for those institutions to — quite frankly — make some extra money. These institutions took that extra money, and in return produced useless degrees, and students incapable of earning enough to pay their loans back.

So, it’s time for the penalty for producing graduates unable to earn a living to start hurting. The job of colleges and universities is to produce graduates capable of integrating into, and becoming productive members of society; if you simply can’t do that, there should be repercussions.

Colleges and universities have endowments — to the total of $854.11 billion (with a ‘B’) as of 2021.

If you graduate from Oberlin College and the degree you got from them can’t earn you enough to pay your student loans back, then I think Oberlin College (endowments:   1.201 Billion dollars) was grossly negligent in your education; and should pay the default on your student loans.

Your BA in Gender Studies from Columbia University (endowments: 13.28 Billion dollars) useless for getting you a job for anything more than barista?  Why did they take your student loans in exchange for a degree any reasonable man would understand to be useless? Time for them to pay for that negligence.

This will have multiple effects. The first of which is that people with no skin in the game — the American taxpayer — don’t get their tax dollars ravaged. 

The second is that colleges and universities faced with the prospect of having to be financially responsible will start throttling back tuition amounts which are quite frankly at exorbitant, extortionate, and outrageous levels.

Third, but by no means last, this will induce the universities and colleges to stop accepting loans for stupid degrees. Heart set on a BSc in Sub-Saharan Underwater Basket-Weaving? Sure, but you have to pay your own money for it. STEM degree? Bring your student loan money! 

Now let’s have the national debate on the student loan crisis.


Hypocrisy, thy name is “Democrat”

On the heels of the decision by the Supreme Court that loans you took freely and voluntarily should not be foisted off on your neighbours to pay, we learn of former New York State Senatrix on the Democrat ticket Alessandra Biaggi.

Apparently Ms. Biaggi graduated from law school with six digits in student loan debt — debt she desperately wants you and me to pay for rather than herself paying a debt she took intentionally and knowingly.

As immoral and — quite frankly — nauseating as this is, we further learn that Ms Biaggi and her husband purchased a seven-figure house in 2022.

Let that one sink in. She has $206,000 left of her student loans. She purchased a home for $1,137,500 — and she’s whinging because the SCOTUS told her she can’t foist her $206,000 worth of student loans off onto the taxpayer.

We also note that her previous residence was worth $691,006 — well, we should say “is”, because she apparently still owns that condo as well as her new ranch in Bedford.

Now, I realise that this probably isn’t the typical student with debt. It is, however, typical of the mindset that feels that someone else should have to pay for the debt you contracted for.

And it is annoying. It is your debt, not mine. You had a contract to read before you intentionally and knowingly assumed the debt — the fact that you either didn’t read the contract, or you forgot about it in no way foists the liability for that debt onto me.

This “student debt crisis” that Democrats think I should pay for irks me to no end.