quidni pro quo

Random musings at random intervals. Erudition not guaranteed.

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Location: El Paso area, Texas, United States

I'm a 40-something Christian, conservative, pro-life, Constitutionalist, motorcycle-riding, pick-up truck driving, wife, mother, state employee, ham radio operator and part-time college student, enlisted in the Texas State Guard. Everything else is subject to revision without notice.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Post No Bills

Dear Business Owner / Entrepreneur,

I'm a firm believer in the Free Market. I applaud your desire to get your products and/or services recognized and desired by consumers. The greater the demand for what you provide, the more successful you will be; a great thing for the economy in general because as your business grows, so too does your ability to hire others, and to invest back into the general market. However, I must take issue with the way you chose to advertise your business to me. Yes, I do understand that there are consumers who don't mind this form of advertising, and others who shrug and tolerate it because they feel like they can't do anything about it. However,there are those like me who do mind, and who don't tolerate it.

I came out of WalMart this evening to find your ad for (insert your product or service here) on my truck.

The law here states that a person's personal vehicle is an extension of their domicile - in other words, personal and private property. Even police have to have permission (from the owner, or from a judge, if there's no immediate probable cause or legal violation) to do something with a person's vehicle, just as with a person's residence. Yes, WalMart may have given you permission to pass your flyers out in the parking lot - but WalMart does not own the vehicles parked there. Did you have permission from the owners themselves to use their vehicles for advertising? I certainly don't recall giving anyone permission to advertise on my truck. And parking in a public-access parking lot does not automatically give the parking lot owner the right to grant that permission on my behalf.

My truck is for transportation - it is not a mailbox. Windshield wipers are for maintaining visibility in bad weather, not for paper storage. Had I found your flyer in my mailbox at home, or posted on a bulletin board or in the newspaper, I would have looked on it a bit more favorably. Nor is my truck a trash bin - although that's where your advertisement wound up, and rather quickly. I also saw a number of your flyers littering the pavement, blown off by the wind or dumped by other drivers who didn't bother to dispose of them properly.

Yes, I know that this form of advertising is "cheap." A listing in the Yellow Pages will probably bring better returns, though - folks are less likely to toss the entire phone directory than they are a loose sheet of paper. Or, hire a couple teens to walk up and down the sidewalks on the weekend, with sandwich-board ads, if you don't want to pay for a newspaper or radio spot.

But be aware that, if I ever am in the market for what you provide, I will remember your name and look elsewhere to spend my money. If you don't respect something as simple as owners' property rights regarding their vehicles, and you don't care how much litter you leave behind, then how can I trust your business in anything else?


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, JMB!

And Thank You.

May your genius, and your legacy, never be forgotten.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thank you, Mr. W

He was a tall man, even with the slight stooping that came with age. Spare-framed, and craggy looking. I can't really describe him any other way - except the twinkle in his eyes, and the way he carried himself, proclaimed him to be younger on the inside than the white hair and crow's feet declared on the outside. And he had been awarded two Purple Hearts. I got curious.

Me: So, where did you serve, sir?
Him: I was on the last troop ship that was sunk by a German sub in the English Channel. Only a third of us survived.
Me: Wow... World War II.
Him: The second was when I served in Korea.
Me: My Dad served in Korea, and 'Nam.
Him: (grinning) The only reason I wasn't in Vietnam was because I'd already been ordered to Panama.

I definitely had to shake his hand before he left. Thank you for serving, Mr. W! May God bless you and your family.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Lord, help me and my family....

.... I'm dieting. Knowing my track record, I'm more likely to stick to it if I journal it than if I keep it secret. So.

I've been fussing about my weight for several years now, half-heartedly resigned to genetics that cause most of the women in my family to "bottom out" in their 40's. OK, not cause, per se, but that definitely make it easier to gain weight than to lose it. I don't look like I weigh as much as I do, since it's mostly from the waist down; easier to dress to hide it than it is to hide upper body weight gain. (full, below-the-knee skirts are a God-send!) I finally got tired of listening to myself whine, & going up one more size in jeans yet again. I'm going to "bite the bullet" as it were (I'd rather bite into a cheesy, crispy quesadilla) and see if I can actually do something about it.

My husband is perfectly happy with the way I look. But I'm not happy with the way I feel. My goal is to lose a minimum of 15 lbs, no more than 20. That doesn't sound like much, no, but I'm only 5'2" when I stand up straight, and I should weigh no more than 130. No less than 125, either. I don't go for the "runway model" look. (Not that I could ever be one, but that's a completely different topic....)

Y'see, in addition to dealing with fibromyalgia most of my life, I was hit by a car when I was 15 - it smacked me from behind & threw me over the hood onto my head in the median. (Yeah - landing on my head is probably what saved my life - densest bone I had at the time. You should have seen the dents I left in the pavement.) But it caused some degenerative damage to my lower spine that's showing up more as I get older. Any excess weight, even a couple pounds, equals more strain on my spine, & more tendency to flareups of the fibro. Which, really, doesn't do a lot towards making me easier to live with. Who needs to wait for PMS?

Add allergies, specifically food allergies, on top of that. Many of the "healthy" foods recommended by docs are on my "sensitive to, or actually allergic to" list. In fact, if I were to eat only those foods that I absolutely know I'm not allergic or sensitive to, I'd be stuck eating rice, green beans, ice cream and strawberry shortcake for the rest of my life. Which would subsequently be rather short, I imagine.

I kid you not. I'm not allergic to eggs - but I do have sensitivities to poultry meat. Tomatoes, those wonderfully healthy, immune-system-boosting darlings of nutritional experts, will put me into anaphylaxis. You know how hard it is to find a good chile recipe that doesn't use tomato? (and green chile recipes are out, as my hubby can't eat them.) Wheat and rice, and dairy give me no problems. Carrots, on the other hand... well, as long as I don't "overdo" them I can eat a few now and then. Why can't I have allergies to sensible things? I wouldn't mind being allergic to liver....

(When they tested me some years ago, out of the 60+ most common allergens checked there were exactly 6 that I did not react to. Spectacularly. "Ma'am, it's been five minutes, how are you feeling ohmygodgetthedocinhereFAST!" I still chuckle when I remember the look on the intern's face when he saw my back. It would have been really funny if I hadn't felt so much like I needed to claw the skin off of my back while running, screaming, only half-dressed, down the hallway. I'm sure the interns really would have had some stories to tell, then. I understand they now have other ways of checking for allergies other than the fiendish "tine test.")

Add to that an almost insane craving for carbs, any kind of carbs (no, I'm not pre-diabetic - I just have a sweet tooth that has a mind of its own). While I really don't expect to go ballistic while awake, I can't guarantee that I won't go Rambo liberating the left-over tamales and bag of pretzels in the kitchen in my sleep....

So my guys have to deal with me if I don't lose weight, or they have to deal with me while I'm trying to lose weight.

Lord help us all.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Link

I've added a new link in the "Just for Fun" list: Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler.

This is just a sample of her artwork. The story takes place in Prohibition-era St. Louis, and with the exception of one small* detail, is pretty true to period. She's also got a good eye for detail - a Thompson will be recognizable as a Thompson, for example.

The story begins when the owner of an underground speakeasy is taken out by a rival, and his young widow Mitzi decides to carry on with the business. She's got several employees who remain faithful, as well as a new beau, and the groundwork is set for a series of shenanigans by all. The two characters in the picture above are Rocky, a jazz-player from the band (and also Mitzi's chief runner, for the time being) and Rocky's younger cousin Calvin, aka Freckle. Freckle wanted so badly to join the police force, but his ah.... enthusiasm... (ahem) on the firing range caused some problems.... Freckle's mom Nina is a real jewel. I hope she shows up frequently in the story.

It's still in the early stages of the story, but there's already a good deal of beautiful artwork up. Worth checking out, IMO.

* zoot suits.... check out the artist's comments in her FAQ

Friday, January 05, 2007


Of all the things I really like about my job, I especially enjoy helping the veterans who come to our office. If we’re not really busy, sometimes I’ll ask a question like, “Where did you serve?” and spend a happy minute or three listening to the answer. It startles some vets – as if they’re not accustomed to having a stranger be genuinely interested in them and their service. I’ve asked to shake their hand, as well – and it makes me feel good inside to see an elderly man, who may have shuffled in bent over a walker with an oxygen tank, walk a bit straighter on his way out because someone said “Thank you!”

Something I’ve noticed about veterans – it doesn’t matter if they’re younger or older, still active duty or long since retired, male or female, healthy or not – if they took any pride at all in their service, they walk with their shoulders as square as their health will allow. Even those who “did their four” years ago, and have been a civilian for many years since. Their spine may be bent from injury, or arthritis, or just plain old age, but their shoulders are still squared off, declaring their years of training and service. And it’s not quite the same posture you see in someone who works out a lot, but has never been in the military. I’m not sure how to properly describe it; it may be an attitude thing.

They’re also some of the most polite folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of helping. They listen when I show them the paperwork, they ask intelligent questions, and do their best to make sure they have what they need, in order to provide what I need, so that I can help them. It’s kinda odd sometimes, getting a deferential “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am” from folks who saw combat when I was still in frilly dresses and saddle shoes. (It also makes me feel a bit odd when the veteran is young enough to be my son or daughter... naw, I’m not getting older.)

I’ve made a game of it with myself, trying to identify which of my customers are vets by the way they walk and talk. I’m getting better at it, too.

A couple weeks ago, two young men (late twenties, early thirties, maybe) walked in. Only one of them needed assistance; the other was a friend along for the ride. Both of them were in jeans and sneakers, and while neither had long hair, their hair wasn't cut particularly short, either. While helping this young man, I asked for his ID. While looking down at the paperwork I was starting, I mentioned that his driver license would be better than his military ID as I didn’t want to use his SSN for ID purposes. He thanked me, tucked back the card he’d almost pulled out of his wallet, and pulled out his license instead, while his friend just looked at me with surprise. “How’d you know he was army?”

“Shoulders,” I answered.