Monthly Archives: September 2013

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Or is it a bluff?

News Headline: “America ‘on precipice’ of government shutdown.”
K.R., a Baltimore reader, writes:
“Couldn’t we just be on the brink like ordinary people?”
We do sometimes put on airs.

News Headline: “Cruz’s filibuster strategy ‘the height of hypocrisy.’ ”
News Headline: “The GOP’s stunning hypocrisy.”
Or think of it this way:
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

QT NFL CXXV days to go until Super Bowl XLVII Update:
NFL players have suffered XXVII concussions as of the IIIrd week of the season.
Give or take I or II.

News Headline: “Miley Cyrus says Justin Bieber has the mentality of a 12-year-old.”
Your day may not be going well, but at least your maturity hasn’t been questioned by Miley Cyrus.

News Headline: “Glenn Beck on Obama U.N. address: ‘Blood shoots out of my eyes’ every time I hear him talk.”
Could a problem with our national conversation be that we keep listening to people whose eyes shoot blood?

Rush Limbaugh regarding fashion statements:
“For the longest time, I didn’t wear blue jeans. I didn’t wear T-shirts. I didn’t wear my hair long. I did not want to be associated with–”
Warning!
Do not try to visualize this.
Too late?
Sorry.

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Actelion has acquire Ceptaris.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bill McCormick, a Chicago reader, regarding another reader’s mention that “ravel” and “unravel” can mean the same thing, which is not to mention the same thing about “loose” and “unloose,” writes:
“I am whelmed.”
QT is whelmed by anyone who knows that “whelmed” is the same as “overwhelmed.”
And a quick reminder that “inflammable” is more flammable that “flammable.”
As long as we’re at it.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Somethingest Show on Earth

News Item: “. . . annual debt-ceiling circus. . . .”
News Item: “. . . high-wire fiscal strategy. . . .”
News Item: “. . . the president found himself juggling. . . .”
Are we having more fun than we thought?

News Headline: “Ted Cruz vows to speak against Obamacare until unable to stand.”
News Headline: “Cruz likens skeptics of defund-or-shutdown  plan to Nazi appeasers.”
Cruz also offered words on individualism from Ayn Rand, a recipient of Medicare.
But what’s a circus without a good clown act?

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A girl who accidentally brought two small antique knives to middle school in McDonough, Ga., immediately gave them to a teacher, after which she spent two days in juvenile detention and was then expelled under the school’s zero-tolerance weapons policy.

News Item: “. . . a generation where wristwatches have become obsolete with the use of cell phones. . . .”
QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
Note to all generations:
It isn’t correct to use either at a formal event.
And while we’re at it, wing collar with white tie, turn-down collar with black tie.
Now we can move along.

John Davis, a Chicago reader, writes:
“Isn’t it obvious that the ongoing story of the Russian man’s shooting another man with rubber bullets during an argument about Immanuel Kant in a grocery store is a clear example of shopping cartesian duelism?”
QT will let this pass.
All of us should pay more attention to the philosophers.
It never hurts to put Descartes before the hordes.

News Headline: “Burger King launches low-fat french fries.”
And shouldn’t anything that  healthful be super-sized?

News Headline (2011): “Dog steps on gun, shoots Utah hunter in buttocks.”
News Headline (2012): “Dog shoots man in French hunting accident.”
News Headline (2013): “Dog triggers shotgun, shoots hunter in Cass County.”
Once again, and think carefully:
How well do you know your dog?
How well, really?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
From the recent novel Canada:
“He was a man unable not to believe that if things were going well and smoothly, they wouldn’t go well and smoothly forever.”
S.W., a Kendall, Wis., reader, writes:
“What?”
Or look at this way:
Even best-sellers sometimes fail to avoid not including sentences that readers  almost never aren’t unable to find their way out of.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Or maybe in an alternate universe

News Headline: “Obama vows to continue gun-law push.”
We may want to ask quantum physicists to determine how something can continue that has never been observed to exist.

News Item: “. . . teams from Missoula and Flathead counties have searched. . .  along with dog-sniffing crews. . . .”
And why any crew would be assigned to sniff dogs, we may never know.

QT Yellowstone Caldera (the eruptions of which can be violent enough to send a layer of ash six feet deep as far away as Chicago and which erupts every 600,000 or so years and last erupted 640,000 years ago) Update:
Geophysicist Robert Smith, who had never seen two simultaneous earthquake swarms in 53 years, regarding three simultaneous swarms this month:
“It’s very remarkable.”
QT misplaced its dictionary.
“Remarkable” is a good thing, isn’t it?

News Headline: “Gov’t shutdown looms as House GOP aims at health care law.”
News Headline: “Vandals strike again: Uncle Sam statue’s head missing.”
The stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

W.S., a Chicago reader, regarding a Russian man’s shooting another man with rubber bullets during an argument about Immanuel Kant in a grocery store, writes:
“It seems one of the men tried to take over the other’s shopping cart, also, in violation of the cartegorical imperative.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “AIG CEO Robert Benmosche: ‘Too big to fail has been solved.’ ”
As we start the 23rd day of National Humor in Business Month.

News Headline: “Tiny snake on Qantas plane grounds 370 passengers.”
Single Tiny Snake on a Plane?
The sequester continues to take its toll.

News Headline: “Book deal for Paul Ryan.”
Ryan’s earlier Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders slipped this week from 511,365th to 521,876th on the Amazon Best-Seller List, for those keeping track.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
J.E., a San Francisco reader, writes:
“Why, when you use ellipses to end items, do you seem to use a set of four rather than three?”
Ellipses, known technically as dots, come in batches of three to represent missing words. . . and four at the end of a sentence, with the ellipses followed by a period. . . .
And so on. . . . . .

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

So anyway, as we were saying. . . .

News Headline: “Still the greatest nation on Earth.”
As we like to say.
Again and again.
Or put it this way:
Think of the loud guy at the end of the bar who won’t stop talking about himself.

QT Digest of Remarks by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Favor of $40 Billion in Food Stamp Cuts (for Your Convenience):
“I rise today in support of. . . demagoguery. . . and. . . a lot of misinformation. . . and.. . . denied benefits. . . for. . . people who need it most. . . .”
See? A few words can give the gist.

News Headline: “Life on Earth will end in 1.75 to 3.25 billion years, researchers say.”
So at least we have it narrowed down.

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
A student handing out copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day at Modesto Junior College in California was stopped and informed that he would have to fill out an application at the School Development Office for use of the school’s “free speech area” and wait at least three days for the next free-speech availability.

News Item: “An argument over the theories of 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant ended in a man being shot in a grocery. . . pistol firing rubber bullets. . . . ”
A.G., a Chicago reader, writes:
“As I understand it, the argument was in the store’s produce section. Something about a critique of pure raisins.”
Trust QT.
The philosophers out there are rolling on the floor.

News Headline: “Same company performed background checks on Edward Snowden and Navy Yard gunman.”
We don’t really need this distraction.
Not while we’re in the middle of trying to decide what to privatize next.

News Headline: “Colorado House Republicans ask for flood relief after voting against Sandy aid.”
Wait a minute. You’re not one of those people who have something against brazen hypocrisy, are you?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “Does social media make us smarter?”
No. THEY evidently DON’T.
In other news, J.C., a Duluth, Ga., reader, wants you to know that while the plural of  “chaise longue” is “chaises longues,” the plural of  “hors d’oeuvre ” is “hors  d’oeuvre.”
And does this mean it’s time for QT’s semiannual reminder that the plural of “alma mater” is “almae matres”?
Evidently.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This just in. . . .

News Headline: “Man climbs street sign, removes pants.”
As reasonable a response as any to the news of the day.

NASCAR chairman Brian France explaining  the current race-fixing scandal:
“Circumstances happen that are unhelpful in the credibility category.”
Exactly.
People who lie and cheat should be called out for what they are:
A bunch of no-good credibility category hinderers.

News Headline: “Crime, but no punishment, for Wall Street CEOs.”
News Headline: “Disgraced Wall Street CEOs are living large.”
Speaking of bunches of no-good credibility category
hinderers. . . .

News Headline: “Kerry says Syria action would be ‘incredibly small.’ ”
News Headline: Al-Qaida leader calls for  ‘small-scale’ attacks.”
An encouraging development.
Or put it this way:
Doesn’t it sometimes seem hard to find a human activity that isn’t improved by doing less of it?

News Headline: “Researchers find fecal matter in most holy water.”
The next study will involve homilies.

News Headline: “Serial airline groper gets 9 months in prison.”
Rich Rzadzki, a Chicago reader, would as soon not know how one goes about groping a Boeing 747.

News Item: “Six Flags reopened the Texas Giant roller coaster Saturday. . . cautioned park-goers that the Texas Giant might not accommodate ‘guests with unique body shapes or sizes’. . . . ”
All right. Who wants to be the first Six Flags attendant to inform a guest that he or she has a unique body shape?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . sitting upright on a chaise lounge. . . .”
M.S., a Des Moines, Iowa, reader, worries for the safety of  anyone who tries to sit on something that doesn’t exist.
So move the person quickly to a chaise longue.
Or maybe just find a couch.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

A-hunting we will go

News Headline: “Texas turns to Ted Nugent to control feral pig epidemic.”
Not always easy to choose sides.

News Headline: “Iowa grants gun permits to the blind.”
So what you do is head north from Interstate 80 to Interstate 90, then across, and then back down to Interstate 80.
Avoids the state entirely.

Brent Musburger ending the third quarter of the Michigan-Notre Dame game:
“We’ll be back with the money quarter after these
messages. . . .”
The NCAA Committee on Desperately Keeping Up Appearances would like a word with you, Mr. Musburger.

News Headline: “Pope Francis: Starvation in a world of plenty  ‘scandalous.’ ”
Comes to maybe 1,000 deaths an hour, give or take.
But we can be grateful no red lines have been crossed.

News Headline: “Poll: Americans don’t trust polls.”
So Americans evidently do trust polls.
Or do you trust this poll?

News Headline: “Some see Biblical visions of doom in Syria trouble.”
News Headline: “Some see image of Jesus on truck trailgate.”
For those keeping track of people who see things.

QT Move Along, Nothing to See Here, Update:
Asteroid 2013 RO30 was discovered Saturday, three days after it passed between Earth and the moon.
But it was a smallish asteroid.
About the same size as Asteroid 2013 RF32, which was discovered Sunday, three days after it passed between Earth and the moon.
Nothing new since then.
Well. That we know of.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . picnics on the Ravinia lawn, sometimes with white tablecloths and candelabras, still occur for CSO
events. . . .”
R.B., an Evanston, Ill., reader, wants you to know that it is one candelabrum–and two, three, four or more candelabra.
And Bob Crystal, a Rochester, N.Y., reader, writes:
“Add to your pronunciation guide the list of conflicts in the English language. Take a bough and gather your dough. An erudite scholar serves crudites to his friends. . . . ”
QT senses that you frequent this space.
Which is to say free-KWINT.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Red lines and circles

News Item: “. . . House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the use of chemical weapons in Syria was ‘outside the circle of civilized behavior. . . .’ ”
She correctly avoided any reference to the deaths in Syria by explosives and bullets.
Luckily, these were inside the circle of civilized behavior.

News Headline: “Man sentenced to hold ‘Idiot’ sign.”
News Headline: “Will House Republicans return from recess ready to govern?”
If not, there are innovative steps we can take.

News Headline: “Systems protecting Earth in peril due to sequester.”
In other news, Asteroid 2013 RG was discovered yesterday, shortly after it passed between Earth and the moon.
Or do we want to keep throwing money at every little problem that comes along at 37,370 miles an hour?

+ T.K., a Jiangmen, China, reader, regarding a Chinese politician testifying at his corruption trial that he is a simple man who wears 50-year-old underwear, causing another reader to wonder about boxer rebellions, writes:
“The Boxer Rebellion was unheard of among the common people in England until years after it started. It must have been Queen Victoria’s Secret.”
+ J.T., a Key West, Fla., reader, writes:
“What would Mun Xing wear?”
This will stop now.
Of corset must.

News Item: “. . .  about 280 manatees have died in the last 12 months. . . the strain of decades of pollution. . . fishery collapse may be forthcoming. . . .”
Another in a series of occasional reminders that humanity is the Bashar al-Assad of the animal kingdom.

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A marijuana grower worried about thefts in Lexington, Ky., installed an alarm system set to call the police.

News Headline: “UCLA student gov’t to ban ‘illegal immigrant,’ says phrase violates human rights.”
And wouldn’t you just know it?
QT was ticketed again this week for making an undocumented left turn.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
K.W., a Denver reader, writes:
“I remember someone saying it’s not a ‘doggy-dog world,’ but a ‘dog-eat-dog world.’ You know anything about that?”
QT will mention its dog, Buddy the Wonder Dog, so named because everyone in the neighborhood wonders about him.
Buddy has volunteered repeatedly, while on walks, to eat all the smaller dogs he sees.
Consider this dogmatically authoritative.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.