23 March 2018

410 Gone

It is with a heavy heart that I must report the passing of The Flibbertigibbet's owner, Leta Hall.
An obituary ran in the Washington Post.  Her father is compiling an e-book of her posts from this blog.  Her Facebook page will remain up, converted to memorial status.
We miss her more each day.

23 November 2016

Shorter line

At the grocery store earlier this evening and the ladies room was down to one stall. The very nice maintenance guy offered to let us use the men's room, an offer I promptly took him up on. He guarded the door until I was done and there was one man waiting to use the facility, looking very annoyed at having to *wait* for *a bathroom.* I said "thank you!" and thought #CheckYourPrivilege.

11 November 2016

Meanwhile in America

I wear my freedom rings to say that I stand with my LGBTQ family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. I stand with them and want them to have all of the rights, privileges, and safety that I do.
I wear a safety pin on those rings to tell any woman of any religion, color, or nationality that I am a safe person to approach if they feel unsafe.
I attend a church that defies the idea that 11:00 Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.
This election changes none of those things, it only underscores my need for them.
To all my friends, liberal, conservative, and all others, I ask that we look to our best selves and our highest ideals, to listen to each other, and to encourage love and respect for all.
The future bends toward justice but we need to help prepare the way by how we treat each other.

05 February 2015

I made a math joke

Oh, God, what's become of me.

An email exchange between me and one of the contracting staff:

Me:  Remind [project manager] that typing in the names of the folks up the chain [into the form I'm processing before he sends it to me] makes me think that they’re already seen / approved the [form] which will bite me one day.  And then I’ll be looking for revenge.

Contracts Administrator:  Yes, I’ll remind [project manager] (again) not to fill in names.   I think he is trying to be helpful, sigh.

Me:  Yeah.  Tell him that he’s being (helpful)

09 July 2014

This is your pilot speaking

I've been researching twin engine aircraft for work recently and my favorite part about that is reading aviator-written descriptions of planes, handling, and the trade-offs with a second engine.  And my favorite part of aviator-written descriptions?  Their fondness for off-hand understatement.

For example, these are from AVSIM Commercial FSX Aircraft Review's* description of the Cessna Skymaster.  And, again, the first one is my favorite.  The last is my second favorite.

It has two of everything to maintain and replace, increasing operating and ownership costs. But, of course, it has two engines and that second engine just might save your life one day. Owners usually agree the extra cost is well worth it within minutes of an engine failure at a critical time.

My favorite Skymaster quote is from a pilot who had an engine failure in IFR** over the mountains at night. ATC asked, "Sir, are you declaring an emergency?" The Skymaster pilot replied, "No, I'm declaring an inconvenience."


In early days it was not uncommon to see aborted takeoffs of the C337 simply because the pilot failed to notice the rear engine had conked out somewhere along the taxi stage and the pilot also evidently failed to do a proper engine run-up and mag check prior to takeoff.  Posted placards state, at the insistence of the FAA that the normal operation should be to lead with only the rear engine for takeoff then follow with the forward engine.  This is to ensure the rear engine is actually running at normal power for takeoff.  Rotation and climb out would not be a good time to discover your twin is actually a single.  Single engine takeoffs are prohibited.

This is one of the reasons you see the C337 taxi with the tractor engine completely shut down.  One, you don’t need two engines to taxi, two, you save on fuel and wear and tear on parts, and [three], you probably won’t attempt a takeoff if the prop you are looking at is not turning.


I like the engine sounds*** so much that I load up the C337H in FSX, start the engine or engines, turn up the volume, minimize FSX, and then work on my writing or editing or forum surfing with these sweet sounds in the background.  It reminds me of those old days sitting in the hot sun in Miami waiting for takeoff clearance surrounded by big iron.  It drives my wife nuts.


The standard line is that there is very little indication of a rear engine failure. Other than the sputtering sound, the sudden and noticeable pressure on the restraining harness against your chest and the rapid loss of about 15 to 20 knots in airspeed, there aren't many clues. If someone cannot feel this and see the drop in fuel flow and cylinder head temperatures, they probably should not be flying anything.

*An aviation simulator.  The actual plane is described as part of the complete description of the simulator. 

** "Instrument flight rules (IFR) is one of two sets of regulations governing all aspects of civil aviation aircraft operations; the other is visual flight rules (VFR)."  So saith the Google and the Wikipedia.

*** Having two 210 hp engines hanging forward and back rather than off to the sides means that the plane is consistently described as being very, very noisy.  Like being inside a lawn mower.

08 July 2014

We are not the droids they're looking for

One of the more interesting things about having my name and email on the company website is that I am the person most likely to get emails from random-ish strangers.  Specifically, I get mail for people looking for customer service for companies with initials like the one I work for. 

I have suggested to my boss that we could generate some revenue by billing those companies for the pleasant (and even possibly helpful) replies that I send.  

Here is a selection.  Some were more fun to handle than others, but Number 1 will always have a special place in my heart.  I wouldn't mind having that lady on my side in a similar situation.


From: [name]
Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2013 2:59 PM
To: Hall, Leta
Subject: Poor, Poor Customer Service

I was just at your Sturgis, Michigan store.  Ahead of me in line was a woman with a return.  She had her receipt, but the barcode wouldn't scan and the date was smudged, but it was clearly a TSC receipt.  The manager, Will, was called to the front and turned the woman away, saying that she could not return the item because of the barcode and date.  She was not even given a cursory apology. Then, after she left, the cashier got on the phone and said, right in front of me "Yeah, I have a lady who just got crappy with me about a return" and proceeded to read off the woman's phone number. This entire incident was rude, unnecessary, and a breach of privacy. I was a long-time customer, but seeing how my future returns and private information might be handled in the future, and that I might be described as a "crappy" customer in front of other customers after I walk out of the store ... well, I think this issue should be addressed. The customer was not even being rude; she just said "I don't understand". Wow.
[name and address]

From: Hall, Leta
Sent: Monday, February 04, 2013 10:27 AM
To: [name]
Subject: RE: Poor, Poor Customer Service

Good morning, Ms. [name],

I agree with you – that sounds *awful.*  Unfortunately the TSC you’ve reached isn’t the same as the one you’re hoping to reach.  The TSC that I work for doesn’t have any stores – we provide engineering services.  

If you wanted the Tractor Supply Company their website and customer service contacts can be found at http://www.tractorsupply.com/.  I hope you are able to reach the right person and get a good resolution.

All the best,

Leta Hall
Corporate Administrator


From: [name]
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 3:09 PM
To:  Leta
Subject: WX-110110CSO-CBK

Hi Leta –
Can you please provide a detailed spec sheet on the following part # : WX-110110CSO-CBK

The customer isn’t happy with the quality and would like complete details of the material, etc

Please advise
Thank you!

[name and contact info]

From: Leta
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 2:30 PM
To: [name]
Subject: RE: WX-110110CSO-CBK

Hi [name] ~

Unfortunately, I can’t provide that spec sheet.  The TSC that I work for are engineers. 

It looks as though the item you are referring to is made by TSC America and while I can find their product suppliers easily on the internet, I am having trouble finding the actual company.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t be more help but hope that you are able to find the information that your customer needs. 

All the best,


From: [name]
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 3:33 PM
To:  Leta
Subject: RE: WX-110110CSO-CBK

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond J don’t find that much now a days !

You have a super weekend!



From: [name]
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:57 PM
To: Leta
Subject: Tsc conventionally raised or organic meat?

Dear Ms. Hall,

Is the meat in tsc's tsatziki steak flatbread conventionally raised or organic?


From: Leta
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 2:06 PM
To: [name]
Subject: RE: Tsc conventionally raised or organic meat?

Good afternoon, Ms. {Name],

I think that you are trying to contact the Tropical Smoothie Café, rather than [my employer].  We don’t (alas) have any flatbreads, just lots of engineers.

Tropical Smoothie’s customer service folks can be reached at  http://www.tropicalsmoothie.com/contact-us.  I hope they are able to provide the information you’re seeking.

All the best,


Corporate Administrator


From: name
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2014 8:48 AM
To: Hall, Leta
Subject: cable inquiry for vietnam

Dear [misspelling of my name],

 I am working for [company], a Austrian company, which produces various kinds of lighting kits for vehicles. We would like to establish a business in Vietnam and therefore we need several cables. I found out that you company as well has a branch office in Hanoi, correct?

If yes I kindly ask you provide me with a contact person, or forward this E-Mail to a person in charge.

I have enclosed you a folder with the several different cables we need!
For each cable type (cable number) you can find a technical datasheet and a picture. Please check whether the production of each single cable is possible for you or not.

If you can produce those cables I need the following information from you:
From each type we need 600 km per year.
We want to have the cables in big cable rolls. Is that possible?

Besides I wonder what the minimum order quantity is?

I kindly ask you to send me an initial price quotation for each cable type /cable number.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear from you soon

Best regards


Von: Hall, Leta
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 02. Juli 2014 16:53
An: [namen]
Betreff: RE: cable inquiry for vietnam

Dear [name],

I’m sorry to tell you that the TSC that you have reached is not the TSC you were looking for.  I believe that you are trying to reach Tractor Supply Company (www.tractorsupply.com).    Their page for cables and connectors is http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/search/cables-connectors.

Our web addresses are similar so this confusion happens a lot. 

All the best,