John Holton (john_holton) wrote,
John Holton

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...
Tags: meme

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