PDQ #atozchallenge

All right, so I admit it: occasionally my theme stumped me. Those are times when you have to use two words, abbreviations, or proper names to get it to work. And here is one of those cases.


PDQ (pronounced “pee dee cue”) is an abbreviation for “pretty damn quick” or “pretty darn quick,” depending on your attitude toward mild profanity. You see it used a lot in company names, such as PDQ Printing, that did offset printing pretty damn quick. (Remember offset printing? There used to be a lot of places that did it, until Adobe Acrobat and laser/inkjet printers got cheap. Great for big jobs, though.)

PDQ was also the name of a drink mix made by your friends at Ovaltine.

An ad for PDQ drink mix, which was running a promotion with Mattel that promised an entire fleet of Hot Wheels cars and trucks for $1 plus the inner lining of a jar of PDQ. Ran in newspapers March 12, 1972 (source: eBay)

PDQ was like Ovaltine in that it came in chocolate crystals, but unlike Ovaltine didn’t have malt or egg in it and actually tasted good. Plus, PDQ came in strawberry and egg nog flavors. You could stir it into milk or sprinkle it on ice cream. It was popular during the Sixties and Seventies, then faded from view.

PDQ was the sponsor of a syndicated game show called, of all things, PDQ, with Dennis James as the host. Here is the pilot episode, if you have thirty minutes to spare.

For those of you who like their classical music mixed with a little humor, PDQ is the last, and certainly least, son of Johann Sebastian Bach.

PDQ Bach. Source: Stanton Music

PDQ Bach is the creation of composer, music educator, and parodist Peter Schickele, who often add the honorarium “Professor” to his name. He has recorded numerous albums of music he claims to have been written by PDQ. Here is the “Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle, and Balloons,” S. 66.

Questions: Are you an Ovaltine fan? Ever had PDQ? Like game shows? What did you think of PDQ Bach?


Let’s Pretend #socs #JusJoJan

Pretend you’re in a different world. Writers do that, don’t they? A world that doesn’t exist outside of their minds, which they document for others to see. If the reader is lucky and the writer has done his/her job, the reader can spend an afternoon walking around in the writer’s head.

One of the reasons I have given up on writing fiction is that I could never get the world I create out of my head and onto the page. Maybe because I am so familiar with the world in my head I feel the need to explain and overdescribe what’s there. And maybe, just maybe, I like the idea of having my own world, and would prefer not to share it.

I’ve noticed since my stroke that my dreams are more vivid and make less sense, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s been kind of quiet lately, but I’ve had a few interesting rides on the “L” (the Chicago Transit Authority’s Rapid Transit lines) that have taken me to hotels that are stores that are malls that are office buildings that are Lewis Towers and St. Ignatius High School, and sometimes I walk into a room and I find myself in a hall at New Trier West High School, or maybe a boiler room or a cafeteria line or the kitchen at a restaurant, and I’ll walk into a restroom and be in someone’s office…

You get the idea: I’m nuts. Cracked. Psycho.


The theme for Stream of Consciousness Saturday and today’s Just Jot It January was the letter P. I get extra points, even though the letter “p” is silent in “psycho,” because the first word and last word both started with P.

Two (+3) for Tuesday: The Alan Parsons Project #atozchallenge



Kind of like Steely Dan, which is Donald Fagen and Walter Becker accompanied by session musicians, The Alan Parsons Project was Alan Parsons (keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals, and a host of other instruments) and Eric Woolfson (keyboards, vocals, and composition) accompanied by session players, which usually included Ian Bairnson (guitar), David Paton (bass and vocals), and Lenny Zakatek (drums). They were active from 1975 through 1990. Parsons had been assistant engineer for The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Let It Be albums and had just engineered The Dark Side of The Moon for Pink Floyd when he met Woolfson, a session pianist, at Abbey Road Studios in 1974. They produced ten studio albums (an eleventh, The Sicilian Defence, wasn’t released until 2014, as part of a box set).

I was surprised that I recognized so much of their music. I think I mentioned before that radio stations weren’t always good at mentioning the song and artist during the Seventies and Eighties, especially when the song was tucked into a long set. Did you find that to be true?

Games People Play – From the band’s 1980 album The Turn of a Friendly Card, this reached #9 on the Canadian chart and #16 on the US chart that year.

Sirius/Eye in the Sky – The title track from their 1982 album, this reached #1 in Canada and #3 in the US that year.

Old and Wise – Also from Eye In The Sky, this reached #21 on the US Adult Contemporary chart.

Time – Again from The Turn of a Friendly Card, this reached #30 in Canada and #15 in the US in 1981.

I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You – From their 1977 album I Robot, this rose to #22 in Canada and #36 in the US that year. Look, an old Univac computer!

The Project has a website and a Facebook page, and Woolfson has his own website to showcase his POE: More Tales of Mystery and Magic album.

The Alan Parsons Project, your Two (plus three) For Tuesday (and “P” entry of the A to Z Challenge), April 19, 2016.

#atozchallenge: Pulsar

pulsar =
pulsating radio + star


First thing I thought of when I saw the whole thing spelled out was “Video killed the radio star”…

But seriously…

A pulsar is a rapidly-spinning neutron star (the core of a collapsed star) that beams electromagnetic radiation out along its magnetic axis. They appear to pulsate because the beam is directional and only visible when it flashes by, kind of like a lighthouse. This video from The History Channel goes into much more detail.

The Pulsar is also an auto model by Nissan.

Which do you think of when you hear “pulsar,” the star or the car?


The Week That Was, #3 (#atozchallenge)

Time for another summary of the week of A to Z here at The Sound Of One Hand Typing and The Sound Of One Hand Typing FM. Again, thank you all for stopping by and leaving comments; I do keep up with what you’re doing on your blog via Feedly, my RSS reader. Leave me a comment, I’ll add you to the list, and you’ll be stuck there for all eternity BWAHAHAHAHA!….

Sorry, got a little carried away there… now, where was I? Oh yeah…

So let’s start from yesterday and work our way backward:

As always, kind of a mixed bag on the relative merits of the Marshmallow Peep, with some saying they love them, or anything with marshmallow, for that matter, and others saying “Eww, gross!” And I had at least one comment that said they haven’t made it to where you are right now. I’ll have to send a note to the people at Just Born, the confectioners who created the Peep, and let them know (not that they’ll listen to me, of course). One thing I neglected to mention is that many people like their Peeps a little on the stale side, so that they crunch when you bite into them. I like them either soft or crunchy.

By the way, I featured a video by the Crazy Russian Hacker that one or two of you mentioned you liked. His YouTube channel is a lot of fun and he does lots of other dangerous interesting things on it. Definitely worth a laugh at least. Maybe the next time you’re stuck in the house, check some of the others out, or better yet, subscribe to his channel.

People weere a little more unanimous about the Oreo, the subject of Friday’s post, everyone liking them. Whether you twist them open and lick out the creme center before eating the cookie, dunk them whole in milk and eat them that way, or just stuff them in your gaping maw like I do, we’re generally agreed that they’re a pretty darn good cookie. Lauralynn said that, although she can no longer tolerate all that sugar, she has had the deep-fried variety, and can attest that there’s all kinds of goodness there. Barbara said she wanted to see them sell just the cookie without the creme, and while it’s the cookie-and-creme sandwich that makes the Oreo great, I can see her point: the cookie portion is a mite tasty on its own. Jeffrey said he preferred the ones with the chocolate filling (those are golden Oreos with chocolate filling), while Kathy said she liked to spread peanut butter on them, something I never thought of but I think I’ll try the next time we get Oreos (we don’t get them, as a rule).

There were a lot of comments to Thursday’s post on noon, which surprises me because it was one of those subjects where I got a little more technical than usual explaining what “noon” was. Over on Facebook, someone remarked that we have the railroads to thank for time zones, which I suppose is true; theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler once opined that “Time is nature’s way to keep everything from happening all at once,” although there’s some disagreement as to whether he was the first person who said it. There were a few of you who agreed with me, that Daylight Saving Time is more trouble than it’s worth, and others who disagreed, saying they like keeping the sun out longer. My compromise was to set the clocks ahead one hour and leave them there for all eternity. There is historical precedent for that; it was done in the US during World War II, and again in the mid-1970’s during the “energy crisis.”

On a lighter note, it was nice to hear so many people remember the local cartoon shows that used to be on TV at noontime and after school when we were kids. I encourage everyone to find a copy of Tim Hollis’ excellent book, Hi There, Boys and Girls!, a well-researched directory of practically every kids’ before-school, lunchtime, and after-school cartoon show in the United States from roughly the beginning of TV through the 1980’s [and I’ll spare you the rant on that].

Everyone was equally unanimous on my post on minimum and maximum on at least one point: Minnie and Max, my cats named after the inventory-planning strategy, are “totes adorbs.” But getting back to the planning method, while it’s not entirely foolproof (vendors run out of stock due to delays from their suppliers, and it trickles down to customers), is about as close as you can get to it. It’s simple, and it works. And there are some items that are hard to plan for, such as pads, pens, and printer paper in late July and early August (when kids are going back to school) and Scotch tape and batteries in December (Christmas). There was also a time when the company I was working for was running short of coffee all the time; seems someone too cheap to buy coffee for home was grabbing it out of the coffee room on his way home. That kind of stuff really bugs me, ya know? When you come right down to it, it’s theft. And I’d better get off my soapbox before I fall off…

I generally heard one of two things about LiveJournal on Tuesday: people had either never heard of it or had been active on it once, but were no longer using it. The things LJ were good at are the same things that Facebook is good at, and a paid account on LJ (that allows you to avoid the ads and keeps your account open even if you don’t use it for, say, three years) costs more than the always-free Facebook (HA! To quote Milton Friedman, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!” What it doesn’t cost in actual dollars and cents is more than made up for in loss of privacy). But LJ has its fans, and I still have a presence there and will until LJ pulls a fast one and ruins it for everyone.

Finally, I was surprised to learn there were so many people who either hadn’t heard of kapok or didn’t realize the fiber came from a tree. I remember spending an entire geography class in 4th grade talking about the kapok tree and its fiber. Maybe geography classes don’t concentrate so much on trivia like they used to. And that’s probably a good thing.

So, this week, we’ll talk about investing, shaving, my grandmother, more time stuff, Ayer’s Rock, and a Soyuz cosmonaut.

If you haven’t already done so, be sure and vote in my Battle of the Bands from last Wednesday. Results will be posted this Wednesday. And of course, another British Invasion act on Two for Tuesday. See you tomorrow!