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Chief Jack's Galley

There's a place for people who laugh at nothing...


April 28th, 2006

(no subject) @ 10:41 am

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This is how it works: Comment on this entry and I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation what the word means to you and why, and than pass out letters to those who want to play along.

I saw this in writer_chick's journal (she had gotten it from meropa, and I said that I was game to play. So, being the kind person that she is, she assigned me the letter "Q". It's taken me a couple of days (I've had this minor issue of trying to build a database to deal with), but here's my list of ten words starting with "Q":

1. Quack. When I was in high school, I earned the nickname "duck" from a guy because, while we were in swimming class, I would walk around, quacking like a duck. (You might remember that I spent a lot of my swimming classes at the shallow end of the pool.)

2. Quincy, as in "Quincy, M.E.". Played by the extraordinary Jack Klugman, one of my favorite actors, mostly because he reminds me so much of my late stepfather. My stepfather and my grandaunt Cash used to like "Quincy"; my mother couldn't stand it, but she would watch anyway, and spend the whole time complaining. "For God's sake, we've seen this one!"

3. Quaker Oats. "Nothing is better for thee than me." Quaker Oats was based in Chicago, and were a big Burroughs computer shop, the others (in Chicago) being Harris Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank, so I knew a lot of people who had either worked at Quaker or who were going to work for Quaker. They had two cereals back in the 1960s: Quisp and Quake. We were encouraged by the commercials to taste test both of them and see which one we liked better. The truth was, they both tasted exactly the same, but they were shaped differently (Quisp was in the shape of saucers, Quake in the shape of rocks, if I remember). Now, I could just as easily claim that that's three words starting with Q, but I won't.

4. Question, as in the song by the Moody Blues. I broke more guitar strings playing the guitar riff from this song than I care to remember. Usually the high "E" string, which, as I've learned later in life, would probably have made the song that much easier to play, as it requires using an "A" form barre chord, which is actually two barres (one across the strings with the index finger, and one across the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings with the ring finger, meaning that your ring finger has to bend backward at the first joint below the nail, which mine doesn't). As I've gotten older, I've learned that using a heavier pick would probably have resulted in fewer broken strings, because I wouldn't have had to strum quite as hard; of course, the technology of guitar picks has changed significantly over the years, as has my technique.

Come to think of it, there are two other songs from my early years that have the word "Question" in them: "13 Questions", by Seatrain (founded by Andy Kuhlberg and Roy Blumenfeld, formerly of the Blues Project), which featured a cool violin (fiddle) solo by Richard Greene; and "Questions 67 and 68", by Chicago, who at the time were calling themselves the Chicago Transit Authority.

5. Quickstep, as in quick march. Reminds me of my days with the Invermich Gaelic Society Pipes and Drums, which later became the University of Chicago Pipes and Drums (the new pipe major, not the one I played under, was an English professor at U of C, and we practiced at the Lab School). Some of the quick marches that we did were "The 57th Highland Division at Wadi Akarit" and "Duncan MacInnes", the latter of which we played as part of a competition set (March-Strathspey-Reel) with "Dornie Ferry" and "O'er the Isles to America".

6. Queen. During my final semester at Loyola University, my roommate was a freshman named Darwin who LOVED Queen. I came home from class one day and found that he had stuck pictures of Freddie Mercury and the gang all over the room. Of course, I was spending as little time as possible in the dorm, but this was a little disconcerting. Come to think of it, when he left, he left all the pictures up, and I had to take them down. Not that I harbor any resentment toward Queen, who I actually like, it's just that, well, it's hard to get dressed with Freddie Mercury looking at you. (I'm looking forward to this week's "Two and a Half Men", during which Jake is going to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody", if the commercials they've been showing are any indication.)

7. Quinine water. This is what tonic water was called a number of years ago. One of the three ingredients of a gin and tonic, the other two being gin and a slice of lime. That was my mother's favorite summer drink. I remember learning that quinine was effective in treating malaria patients, so I told my mother that she would never get malaria. She didn't understand, nor did she find it particularly funny.

8. Q Brown. A guy I knew in high school. Q was actually his middle initial, but no one knew what it stood for, although some of us had our theories.

9. Queueing theory, one of the subfields of operations research, which I studied briefly as part of my degree in operations management, which had been Production and Operations Management until people started realizing that there were very few positions open for production managers. Come to think of it, the department was called OMQ, for Operations Management and Quantitative Methods, because the business statistics professors, including Dr. Frank Nourie, my hero when I was in college, were part of the department. Anyway, queueing theory is the theory of how long you have to wait in line, such as at the DMV, the store, the bank, etc., and how a company can actually reduce the length of time one waits in line. This was obviously thought up by a mathematician while he was waiting in line at the DMV.

Rodale's Synonym Finder tells me that a queue is another name for a ponytail, into which my hair has been pulled for over 13 years now. I gave up going for haircuts not long after my stepfather passed away. I've saved a fortune, and my hair is actually easy to control.

10. Quit. As in "I Quit!" I walked into my former manager's office on January 27, 2004 and told him that I quit. He talked me out of it. Of course, five months later I was given the option of quitting or subjecting myself to a "performance plan", which is another way of saying that he could take six months and figure out all of the reasons that he didn't want me working there. I chose instead to quit, which is how I ended up where I am today, much happier and much wiser for the experience. In retrospect, I shouldn't have let old Ferret Face talk me into staying. Mary bought a cake to celebrate and everything.

Anyway, those are my ten words. Let me know if you'd like to play. You know, for you writers out there, this is a great exercise. I think I'll do this again and again...
 
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[User Picture Icon]
From:wingguy
Date:April 28th, 2006 07:59 am (UTC)
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I had just one Operations Research class, but I found it fascinating. I think of that class every time I see a que where people get in a single line and wait for the next of several positions. I don't remember the math, but it seems that method would be particularly advantageous when one operator is much slower than the others. I wonder why WalMart and McDonalds hasn't adopted this method.
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From:john_holton
Date:April 28th, 2006 09:17 am (UTC)
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At Wal-Mart, they're probably trying to encourage people to read the magazines and look at all of the things they have to sell around the register. As for McDonald's, the only thing I can think of is that they need the help in the kitchen and at the drive-thru. They seem to be working with much smaller staffs nowadays; of course, I haven't eaten at McDonald's much in the last few months, though I've been there to get things for Mary (who's not looking to lose anywhere the amount of weight that I'm looking to lose), but only in the drive-thru. Come to think of it, I was in the drive-thru at a McDonald's (I believe) in Tennessee, and there were two drive-thru lanes, although only one person working, so it didn't speed things up any. Chick-Fil-A actually has a location where there are three drive-thru lanes, and they send the food via conveyors. Really cool stuff.

One of these days, when I'm feeling particularly masochistic, I'm going to find a book on OR and see if I can still figure out what they're talking about. I remember it as being particularly interesting.
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From:wingguy
Date:April 28th, 2006 12:11 pm (UTC)
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I remember telling somebody that I was going to have to work hard to get through that OR class. And I resented the University's deception, because it was clearly labeled as a Business course.
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From:john_holton
Date:April 28th, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC)
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Most of the applications of OR are definitely business oriented. As such, it's not unusual to see it listed under Management or Management Science, though it really belongs with industrial engineering. The math is definitely more advanced than in most other business courses, most of which require little more than high school algebra. The same could be said of economics, once you get beyond the introductory macro and micro courses. Still, they should have made it clear that there was a lot of math and theory in it...
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From:wingguy
Date:May 1st, 2006 11:45 am (UTC)
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Actually, I was being faceteous. As an engineer I did have the math background for OR and the Macro and Micro classes. Even so, the calculus for the graduate level finance classes was really heavy.
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From:lourdesmont
Date:April 28th, 2006 08:14 am (UTC)
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Okay - I am duly impressed! Ten words with "Q" and you related to each and every one of them. Whoo hoo hoo!

So - beloved writing buddy - bring it on! I do not know if I will do as well as you have but I am willing to give it a shot!

Oi ... (-:
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From:john_holton
Date:April 28th, 2006 09:11 am (UTC)
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OK, how about P?
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From:anahata56
Date:April 28th, 2006 09:02 am (UTC)
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Oh please, me?

Give me a hard one.

No.

Wait.

That didn't come out right, did it...?
[User Picture Icon]
From:john_holton
Date:April 28th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC)
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All right, he said, deliberately avoiding the cheap laugh: K.
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From:magnetox1
Date:April 28th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)

Letters?

(Link)
Ok, this sounds interesting. I can't promise I'll
come up with as detailed a list as you did, but
wouldn't mind giving it a try :)

There's actually a mathematical equation for people standing in lines? heh.
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From:john_holton
Date:April 29th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)

Re: Letters?

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Why don't you work on the letter "R"?

You don't watch Numb3rs? On Friday nights at 10 on CBS? He'll tell you that there's a mathematical equation for everything.
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From:hiddendreams
Date:April 28th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC)
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Dude! I'm so proud of you!
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From:john_holton
Date:April 29th, 2006 07:01 am (UTC)
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And you thought you were throwing me a curve. Peh.

Chief Jack's Galley

There's a place for people who laugh at nothing...