While I certainly appreciate the responses, there seems to be a bit of confusion on size versus speed.
I don't really care about size. Hell, when it comes to thumb drives, I'm not sure why anybody does. Staples.com
won't even sell
you a flash drive smaller than 4GB anymore.
I tried a few of these, and, case in point, Damn Small Linux was one of the slowest
booting distributions I've tried so far. Even Ubuntu booted faster.
(Our lab machines are not inferior hardware. They are 2.8 GHz quad-cores with 8GB of ram. They are only slow because of all the crap they installed on top of Wind0ze)
That being said, the recommendations here ultimately led me in the right direction, and I am grateful for that.
I have temporarily settled on xPUD. It goes from Power-On to CPU-Idle in about six seconds. I am extremely impressed with it's performance.