Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Mankind is as mankind does

News Item: “. . . lightning deaths have fallen 78.6 percent for men and 70.6 percent for women since 1968. . . . ”
In other words, the human race is on the verge of having enough sense to come in out of the rain.
Who says we aren’t making progress?

News Headline: “Apple faces new China worker abuse claims.”
For those keeping track of  iSweatshops.

Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative:
Creationists at a hearing on Kentucky state education standards testified that the teaching of evolution instead of the Old Testament in science classes is “elitist.”

News Headline: “Eliot Spitzer: I would have fired Anthony Weiner for his ‘improper’ behavior.”
Your day may not be going well, but at least you aren’t being lectured on propriety by Eliot Spitzer.

William Ferry, a Lafayette, La., reader, regarding QT’s hoping to discourage its readers from playing games with President Obama’s announcement that his favorite food is broccoli, writes:
“Achoccha up every time the broccoli discussion surfaces.”
Stop it.
If you araza this subject again,  there will be consequences.

News Item: “France on Sunday officially replaced the English term ‘binge drinking’ with the French alternative ‘beuverie express’ . . . .”
Is there anything the French can’t make sound better than it is?

News Headline: “Has Bradley Manning been punished enough?”
News Headline:
“Would it be smart for fast-food chains to raise wages?”
News Headline: “Will summer’s big-budget disasters change Hollywood forever?”
News Headline: “Should the Postal Service stop delivering mail to your door?”
News Headline:
“Will GOP abortion battles backfire?”
Yes, yes, no, no, yes.
See how easy?

News Item: “Budget airline EasyJet has apologized after accidentally telling surprised passengers their flight would be delayed for 86 years. . . .”
In other news, experienced travelers hardly gave it a thought.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bob Crystal, a Rochester, N.Y., reader, writes:
“Why is ‘defenestrate’ only transitive? Why can’t I say, ‘I had to watch Michele Bachmann’s press conference and after 10 minutes, I defenestrated’?”
Feel free to.
This is accepted among grammarians as the Bachmann Exception.
It is not to be confused with the Trump Exception, which allows “gasbag” as an intransitive verb–for example, “gasbagged” instead of  “said” or “announced.”
And you don’t want to know about the Limbaugh Exception.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

When the press corps gets excited

News Headline: “3 million pack Copacabana Beach for mass with pope.”
QT has covered a number of papal events here and overseas.
It developed this rule for press crowd estimates:
Divide by two.
At least.
Or just give up and go with “jillions.”

News Headline: “States jump to push voter ID laws after SCOTUS ruling.”
News Headline: “Lincoln Memorial is shut down after vandals splash paint on it.”
The two stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

News Headline: “Plan for Yosemite calls for scaling back human activity.”
As the search continues for  situations that aren’t improved by scaling back human activity.

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Caterpillar, whose CEO has nearly doubled his compensation in the past two years, is pushing workers to take a six-year wage freeze.

News Headline: “Gunman among 7 dead in Florida apartment shooting.”
Have you noticed that we hardly notice these anymore?

Kevin Adler, a Barrington, Ill., reader, regarding QT’s hoping to discourage its readers from playing games with President Obama’s announcement that his favorite food is broccoli, writes:
“You should be on your gourd for more.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A man in Beaverton, Ore., used a baseball bat to attempt the robbery of a gun store.

News Item: “One of Afghanistan’s top religious figures . . . series of religious decrees. . .  ban on women leaving their homes without a male companion. . .  banned the sale of cosmetics. . . .”
B.L., a Boston reader, wants you to know there are currently 2,700 Google hits for “tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists.”
For those keeping track.

News Item: “Bryan Zuriff, the executive producer of the Showtime hit ‘Ray Donovan,’ pleaded guilty today in a high-stakes illegal sports gambling business run by the
mob. . . .”
In other news, Showtime announced the upcoming series “Bryan Zuriff.”

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
J.W., a Chicago reader, regarding the news that “unloosen” means the same as “loosen” and “unravel” means the same as “ravel,” writes:
“Take care. Passionate grammarians can be [in]flammable on the subject, [ir]regardless of your good intentions.”
QT can’t sanction your use of  ‘irregardless,” which isn’t a word.
So it will have to sanction your use of “irregardless,” which isn’t a word.
And can it be time for QT’s semiannual reminder that it isn’t “to the manor born,” but “to the manner born”?

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Anthony Weiner’s spiritual side

News Headline: “Churches profit from turning steeples into cell towers.”
And don’t think the sexting community isn’t grateful.

A Republic, If You Can Keep It:
One in three people you see on the street thinks the First Amendment “goes too far.”

News Headline: “Rush Limbaugh: It’s ‘preposterous’ to blame white people for slavery.”
Larry Rand, a Chicago reader, wonders:
If Rush Limbaugh went out gigging for amphibians in a Florida swamp, would it be a case of a toad tailed by an idiot?

News Headline: “Texas’ proposed abortion restrictions could be a financial boon for Rick Perry’s sister.”
QT knows what you are thinking.
Heavens to Betsy, what a dreadful thing to think.

News Headline: “Too much exercise may be harmful to the heart: study.”
News Headline: “Sleep cuts risk of heart disease–study.”
There is something to be said for the heart-healthy regimen.

Gary Wisby, an Evanston, Ill., reader, regarding QT’s hoping its readers are finally discouraged from playing games with President Obama’s announcement that his favorite food is broccoli, writes:
“Peas kale a halt to this.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Item: “. . . The political calculus is changing as more members of Congress. . . .”
This evidently has to do with members of Congress finding the instantaneous rates of change of functions and hence the gradients of tangents to graphs or in finding functions from their rates of change.
Which may explain the Tea Party.

QT Worldwide Man-Bites-Dog Pinpoint Locator:
There have no recent biting incidents.
But a University of Florida linebacker was arrested in Gainesville for barking at a dog on the 19th dog day of summer.
There are 18 dog days to go.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Austin Stanton, a Northfield, Ill., reader, writes:
“While attempting to remove a stubborn bolt from a piece of equipment, a colleague inquired if I had any success unloosening it and I had to reply that, in fact, it already was unloose.”
Daiquiri  is pronounce DIE-kur-ee, by the way.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The magic of the free marketplace

News Headline: “Texas fertilizer plant had last OSHA inspection in 1985.”
News Headline: “With no safety oversight, Six Flags will investigate coaster death by itself.”
No needless intrusions by government regulators here.

News Headline: “House passes No Child Left Behind overhaul.”
In other news, investigators were looking into a fire that overhauled an apartment building in Joplin, Mo.

News Item: “Facebook, which looks set to boast its 500-millionth member, emerged as a surprise loser in a new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. . . complained about privacy concerns, interface changes, navigation problems and advertising. . . .”

QT Early Warning System:
R.M., a Las Vegas reader, wants you to know 19 days remain until National Atomic Testing Museum Family Fun Day.

News Headline: “Jimmy Carter says NSA leaks show U.S. has no functioning democracy.”
We’ll see what Congress has to say about that.
Wait. Congress isn’t functioning, either?

News Headline: “Gladwell: Why college football is like dog-fighting.”
Not a valid comparison, as dog-fighting deals in dumb animals.
And don’t say what you were thinking of saying.

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A Florida childcare teacher who smelled smoke, found a small fire in the nearby kitchen, evacuated her children and then went back in to put out the fire was terminated because she “left her room” for a moment during all this, violating school protocols.

News Item: “. . . was among 23 Americans sentenced in absentia for the abduction of the cleric by an Italian judge in 2009.  . .”
K.R., a Baltimore reader, wants to know why an Italian judge would want to abduct a cleric.

News Item: “McDonald’s second-quarter earnings rose 3.7 percent as global same-store sales ticked higher, but both top- and bottom-line growth fell short of Wall Street views and margins shrank. . . .”
It’s a McJungle out there.

News Headline: “Runaway tortoise found in Horncastle.”
Is there a more poignant sight than that of a tortoise making a break for it?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
M.B., a Chicago reader, regarding another reader’s asking that if “defenestration” is throwing someone out a window, what is the word for throwing someone off a balcony, writes:
“And what is the word for doing so from a roof ?”
If you will recall, we created the word “demaenianumification” from the Latin for a balcony throw.
For throwing someone off a roof, oh, try “detectumation.”
And QT’s readers do seem busy these days.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Our fat, drunk, and stupid nation, the threat of Ted Cruz, and more

News Headline: “U.S. junk food subsidies since 1995 equal to cost of nearly 52 billion Twinkies: Study”
News Headline:
“Mississippi among the nation’s best at beer drinking”
News Headline: “Utah lawmaker calls for end of compulsory education”
Consider this an intervention.
Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, nation.


J.K. Rowling’s mistaken spell, a massive bull semen heist, and more

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
McDonald’s, which tripled the pay  of its CEO last year, has offered its workers a budgeting guide that allows no money for heating, $20 a month for health insurance and suggests they work an extra job if they want to make it.


Stereotypes of the Zimmerman case, memorable wedding brawls, and more

News Headline: “House GOP gets its way on farm bill; food aid jeopardized”
News Headline: “Food stamps: Military families redeem $100 million a year”
Should we ask the House GOP why it hates our troops?


Texting wordsmiths, Sarah Palin residency suspicions, and more

News Headline: “Microsoft helped NSA, FBI access user information”
Critics can be glad it was Microsoft.
The access will soon freeze or shut down for no apparent reason.


Congress returns from vacation, Obama shills for broccoli, and more

News Headline: “Recess is not a vacation for Congress”
But Congress is back in session this week.
And can rest now.


Mongolian neo-Nazis, the irreplaceability of oil, and more

News Headline: “Ted Nugent: I might run for president in 2016”
Has it been 452 days since Nugent promised he would “either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if voters re-elected President Obama?
Not that anyone is counting.