Quandary #atozchallenge


I don’t know how it happened, but evidently I put the wrong date on my Q entry, and rather than being released today, it was released yesterday with my P entry. When I noticed that, I decided, well, what’s done is done, and I’m not going to change it now that it’s out there and people have commented on it.

but that left me with a new dilemma, or if you prefer, quandary: what do I do today? Do I just blow today off, figuring the post is already out there? If I do, that means I don’t have an A to Z post for today. If that were my only post for today, it would mean I broke the chain of days blogging since July 1, 2014, but it won’t be, since I already wrote a Writer’s Workshop post.

So I decided to play it safe and write another Q post for today. It’s pretty easy to come up with another eight-letter word that starts with Q and write a post about it. In fact, I think I already have…


Quiz Show #atozchallenge

quiz show

You really don’t see many quiz shows, more commonly known as game shows, on TV anymore. There are a lot of reasons for that: networks are cheap and it costs less to produce a show like The View (even at the inflated salaries of the panelists) and Judge Judy than a show like The $20,000 Pyramid; they were in their day mostly targeted to housewives who were home all day and who watched the game shows as a break between waxing the floor and cleaning the oven, who are also a dying breed; it’s hard finding sponsors for the show, who would often donate prizes in exchange for the free advertising; and people have other options to watching network TV. A kid home sick or on a school holiday isn’t interested in watching women trying to figure out the price of a box of Rice-A-Roni (“The San Francisco Treat!”), not when there are cable channels of every sort and streaming options like Netflix and Hulu as well as video games and friends to text.

There are still a few game shows that are hanging in there, of course. (I’m talking about the US here; I’m sure you could share information from your country if you live elsewhere in the world). The two big ones in the US are Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, which both started as network game shows and are now syndicated by Sony. They’re in their 35th and 34th years, respectively, in syndication, but had their roots in network TV in the Sixties and Seventies. CBS is still running The Price Is Right, which started its run on NBC with Bill Cullen as its host, ran for many years hosted by Bob Barker, who was then replaced by Drew Carey about ten years ago; and Let’s Make A Deal, a game show developed by Monty Hall, who hosted it on ABC for years and which CBS rebooted starring Wayne Brady. Family Feud is syndicated from its days on ABC, when Richard Dawson then Ray Combs hosted; Steve Harvey now hosts the syndicated version after stints by Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, and John O’Hurley. There had been syndicated versions of Hollywood Squares and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, both of which started as network shows. Now, I’m not sure if they’re still around.

I get my game show fix from Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! now. If I want to see more, I turn on Buzzr, which shows many of the game shows produced originally by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. There is the Game Show Network on cable, but we don’t have cable anymore.

Did you (or do you still) watch game shows? what are some of your favorites?

Quaver #atozchallenge

We ended yesterday with music, today is all about music, and a little bit of math.


Quavers (eighth notes) and quaver rest. By DoktorMandrake (Eighth_notes_and_rest.png) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

When I started playing guitar, my teacher made an attempt at teaching me to read music. One of the first thing I had to learn was the notes and what each shape signified. I learned that a whole note was equivalent to two half notes, a half note was equivalent to two quarter notes, a quarter note was equivalent to two eighth notes, and an eighth note was equivalent to two sixteenth notes.

It wasn’t long before I realized that it was just as easy to listen to the song on the record and pick it up from there, which would have been easy, except Mel Bay’s Modern Method for Guitar (books 1 through 6) didn’t come with records, at least not in 1967, so I was basically shooting in the dark as far as reading “Etude #1” and “The Volga Boatman.” I knew what the notes were, I knew what tones they represented on the staff, blah blah blah, but I had no idea how to make them sound like they were supposed to. Finally I said “screw this noise” and taught myself by ear.

Logan’s Tutor (source: Amazon.com)

Ten years later, I decided to take up the bagpipes, and got a copy of Logan’s Tutor, edited at the time by Pipe Major John MacLellan, at the time the principal of the Army School of Piping. This came with a tape of PM MacLellan reading through the material and demonstrating it on the practice chanter. All fantastic, except both the book and MacLellan used English terminology for the note values. I was now told that a semi-breve was the equivalent of two minims, a minim was the equivalent of two crotchets, a crotchet was the equivalent of two quavers, a quaver was the equivalent of two semiquavers, and a semiquaver was the equivalent of two demisemiquavers. Now, I was smart enough to know that it was the same whole note-half note stuff I already knew, but whenever MacLellan used the English names, I had to flip back to the page that explained each one.

Anyway, a quaver is an eighth note, then it gets cool: a semiquaver is a 16th note, a demisemiquaver is a 32nd note, a hemidemisemiquaver is a 64th note, then you tack on a “hemi,” “demi,” and “semi” for each successive power of 2 (e.g. semihemidemisemiquaver, demisemihemidemisemiquaver, etc.). In pipe music, grace notes and patterns (e.g. taorluaths, leumluaths, and crunluaths) are written as 32nd notes. In practical terms, people don’t generally use anything shorter than a sixteenth (or semiquaver), and if they do, they deserve all the grief they get for it.

Back in my piping days, I met a guy who had been a piper in one of the Scottish regiments, and he told this story. One day, Gordon (probably not his name) was helping the person who was trying very hard to teach a large group of slow-footed young Highland laddies how to do the Highland fling for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. After a while, he started playing the decidedly non-Scottish “Pop Goes The Weasel” for them to dance to. PM MacLellan heard this, and had Gordon thrown in the stockade for it. He got out when his commanding officer said, “hey, MacLellan isn’t your boss” and had him released. I don’t think he went back to playing “Pop Goes The Weasel,” though.

I hope you’ve had as much fun reading this as I had writing it.

Five “Queen” Songs #atozchallenge


Happy birthday to Mary, the Queen of my Heart! This is her favorite…

In honor of her birthday, and because it’s Q day in the A to Z Challenge, I present five songs with “Queen” in the title.

Queen of the House – Jody Miller: A parody of Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” it was written by Mary Taylor. Jody (no relation to Roger) released this in 1965 and it rose to #12 on the Pop chart and #5 on the Country chart. Connie Francis covered it in 1966 on her Live At The Sahara album, and The Supremes covered it on their 1965 album The Supremes At The Copa.

Killer Queen – Queen: Queen’s first international hit as well as their first US hit, it reached #12 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Cash Box Top 100, and #1 at WLS (The Big 89) in Chicago, in 1974-75.

Little Queenie – Chuck Berry: Released in 1959, it only reached #80 on the Hot 100.

Little Queen – Heart: Response to the last time I posted Heart in one of these music countdowns was overwhelming, so I decided to do it again. Title track from their 1977 album, it was released as a single after “Barracuda,” which outshone everything else that year, and only reached #62 in the US and #58 in Canada.

Queen of Hearts – Juice Newton: The lovely Ms. Newton recorded this for her 1981 album Juice, and it was a breakthrough hit for her, reaching #2 for two weeks in 1981 (behind Diana Ross’ and Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love”) and being certified Gold in the US. It was also an international hit, charting in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland, with limited success in Austria, The Netherlands, and Germany.

Happy birthday again to my beloved one. Did I include your favorite song with “queen” in the title? If not, let me know what it is…

#atozchallenge: Quasar

quasar =
quasi-stellar radio source


A quasar is the most energetic and distant of a class of objects called “active galactic nuclei.” They normally occur when two galaxies collide and their central black holes merge or become binary. They’re very bright, kind of like stars, and their energy has a high “redshift” quality, meaning the waves of electromagnetic energy lengthen as the universe expands. Most of them can be found at the edge of the known universe, two to thirteen billion light-years away (a light-year is about 6 trillion miles; you do the math).

The show from The History Channel that I showed part of yesterday goes on to describe quasars. They blow my mind.

In the 1970’s Motorola came out with its “Quasar” line of color TV sets. They probably called them that because the picture tube was so bright.