Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Or just tell the poor Thanksgiving is overrated

News Headline: “Food stamp cuts lead to ‘staggering’ increase in need.”
News Headline: “How to donate food or volunteer at a food bank.”
There’s still a little time

YouTube Headline: “An idiot on a horse calls for Obama’s impeachment.”
So at least one of the idiots calling for impeachment is on horseback.
But most of them aren’t.
It isn’t easy, keeping track of the idiots calling for impeachment.

News Headline: “How Obama’s Iran deal screwed up the third season of ‘Homeland.’ ”
OK. That does it. Impeach him.

News Item: “. . . sexual assault allegations. . . .”
News Item: “. . . unlawful use of a weapon. . . .”
News Item: “. . . felony grand theft. . . .”
Meanwhile, in other college football news. . . .

News Headline: “Nike unveils all-white uniform for Ohio State.”
News Headline: “Nike unveils custom uniforms for the 114th Army-Navy game.”
And S.D., a Chicago reader, wants to know when football fields became fashion runways, and when can we have football fields back?

QT Early Warning System:
Three days remain until National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “Inclement weather impacts Thanksgiving travel.”
J.K., a Sydney, Australia, reader, writes:
“I’ve just about given up on the overuse of ‘impact’ in all its forms.”
Especially when it is used as a verb, which it should not be, ever.
Well. Except when you are happily impacted by QT’s new e-book novel 60606, which has been called suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, name your price, and what are you waiting for?
Except for that.

And by the way:
Happy (QT offers this statement without representation or warranty as to the effects or repercussions thereof upon any and all persons who might elect to celebrate the holiday as represented therein and with the understanding that any persons taking such actions without such representation or warranty do so with the express understanding that they have agreed to indemnify and hold QT harmless from the effects thereof) Thanksgiving!

QT’s new novel 60606 is available here.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

It’s a small world, after all

News Headline: “Hurtling toward a nine-billion head count.”
News Headline: “Pacific Ocean warming 15 times faster than before.”
News Headline: “Huge increase in Amazon deforestation rate.”
We’re just asking for it, aren’t we?

News Headline: “New deal would keep U.S. in Afghanistan until 2024.”
News Headline: “Afghanistan to reintroduce public stoning as punishment for adultery.”
Keep in mind that our soldiers won’t be risking their lives for nothing.
Our soldiers will be risking their lives for worse than nothing.

News Headline: “Here are 5 great apps for your iPod Air.”
Add greatness to the list of things that aren’t what they used to be.
News Headline: “George W. Bush says eight years in office ‘plenty.’ ”
But understatement remains alive and well.

News Headline: “Woman finds lost diamond ring 17 years later.”
News Headline: “York County man finds ring lost 44 years ago.”
News Headline: “Swedish woman finds 2,000-year-old ring in field.”
It’s probably safe to retire these stories now.

News Headline: “City where it’s illegal to smoke in your own home.”
As we hear from the San Rafael, Calif., chapter of the National Association of People Who Have Found a Socially Acceptable Way to Push Other People Around.

QT Newth You Can Uthe:
The owner of a Pennthylvania tattoo thop ith offering lifetime free tongue pierthingth, along with tattooth and other body art, for informathion leading to arrethtth in recthent break-inth there.
Tho be on the lookout.

News Item: “. . . The farthest galaxies are, to human eyes, ‘literally invisible,’ says the. . . . ”
A reminder that we aren’t even a visible speck, viewed from where we’re looking at.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
K.R., a Baltimore reader, writes:
“The word is ‘envoy,’ not ‘onvoy.’ We never should have been so tolerant of ‘onvelopes.’ ”
Which tempts QT to envelope its readers with another shameless promotion of its new e-book novel 60606, which has been called suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, name your price, and what are you waiting for?
But QT will resist the temptation.

QT’s new novel 60606 is available here.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This just in. . . .

News Headline: “Senate Dems weaken GOP power with major filibuster rule change.”
News Headline: “SF approves stronger penalties to crack down on illicit acts in massage parlors.”
The two stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

News Item: “A Maine teenager said a beaver stole his rifle and dragged it underwater when he took a break from hunting. . . .”
With each new hunting season, it’s time to stop and admire the animals who stand their ground.

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
A Walmart set out a food donations bin for its workers who face hunger this Thanksgiving, while McDonald’s reminded its workers that  “breaking food into smaller pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full.”

News Headline: “Judge deals blow to artists, as struggle to save building dims.”
And now, on top of everything, we have judges dealing blow.

News Headline: “JFK 50 years later: The NFL’s darkest weekend.”
We can say this for the sports department: It keeps its focus.

News Item: “. . . renovation project. . . Oklahoma Capitol. . . raw sewage backups, crumbling façade. . . .”
Oklahomans, among other things, seem to have a gift for metaphor.

News Headline: “Professional chicken catcher fired over his attitude can’t get jobless aid, Pa. court says.”
Your day may not be going well, but at least you aren’t an unemployed chicken catcher with an attitude.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
E.F., a Chicago reader,  writes:
“I just came back from the supermarket. Would you please remind the supermarkets–the ones with signs for ‘ 10 or less items’–that ‘fewer’ refers to quantities that can be counted and ‘less’ to quantities that can’t?”
For some reason, QT is reminded that there are fewer and fewer hours, which means less and less time, to take advantage of its offer to send a virtual QT bookmark to anyone who orders QT’s new e-book novel 60606, which has been called suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, name your price, and what are you waiting for?
For some reason, QT is reminded of that.

QT’s new novel 60606 is available here.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

And Old Man Potter likes what he sees

News Headline: “Retail stores push further into Thanksgiving Day.”
News Headline: ” ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ sequel in the works.”
As the holidays near, it is good to remember that every time a cash register rings, an angel gets his wings cut off.

News Item: “China’s showpiece Tianhe-2 computer is almost twice as fast as its nearest rival. . . 33,863 trillion calculations per second. . . .”
A reminder that these feats are measured using either binary arithmetical calculations in the floating-point unit or the average time for a micro-instruction to be run by the processor collectively across all the pipelines in one time slice.
In other words, we’re taking the computer’s word for it.

News Headline: “House GOP 2014 agenda starts with a blank slate.”
Credit where credit is due.
Best House GOP  agenda in years.

Paul Shubin, a Montreal reader, regarding QT’s new e-book novel 60606, which has been called suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, and what are you waiting for, writes:
“How do you put a bookmark between the pages of an e-book?”
Funny you should ask.
Anyone who purchases the book by midnight Friday will receive an official QT virtual bookmark along with the book.
Don’t ask how QT will do this.
It just will.

News Headline: “Qatar accidentally builds ‘vagina stadium’ for World Cup.”
That’s the architect’s story, and she’s sticking to it.

News Item: “The nation’s largest lobbying industry group, the American League of Lobbyists, is changing its name to the Association of Government Relations Professionals. . . .”
. . . and not to worry, if you fall in line on this, you’ll be slipped a little scratch.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “Ryan makes Iowa stop.”
An isn’t it time somebody stopped Iowa?
Now we can turn our attention to Florida.
Or maybe Texas. . . .

QT’s new novel 60606 is available here.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

 

Caught off base

News Headline: “Obamacare reversal sparks confusion.”
OK. Wait. Who’s on health insurance?
Yes.
But what about the cancellations?
That’s right.
All I’m trying to find out is who’s on health insurance.
Who.
Yes.
The people on health insurance.
But how will all this work?
Absolutely. . . .

News Headline: “Microsoft CEO search is narrowing.”
And will soon shut down, for no apparent reason.

Michele Bachmann regarding Tea Party predictions of a botched Obamacare rollout:
“We all look like geniuses now.”
In other news, an omnipotent God, faced with the task of making Bachmann and the Tea Party look like geniuses, said, “I’ll need some time on that one.”

News Headline: “Obama not informed on website failure.”
We have to remind ourselves.
Sometimes our politicians don’t really know what they’re talking about.
News Headline: “Republican senate hopeful jokes about Obama being from Kenya.”
And sometimes they know all too well.

News Headline: “Could fracking awaken Yellowstone supervolcano?”
Will the environmental wackos please stop with these worries about the effects of fracking on the 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?

W.S., a Chicago reader, regarding the news story about a robotic cleaning device that seemed to have committed suicide by turning itself on and moving along a kitchen counter to a hotplate, which QT guessed might be a case of techsistential despair, writes:
“You just can’t resist these word games, Camus? Be careful what you Sartre.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “Obamacare has big millennial problem.”
And why should Obamacare be different from most of the rest of us?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bill Scott, an East Northport, N.Y., reader, regarding QT’s new e-novel 60606, which has been called suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased, name your price, AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, and what are you waiting for, writes:
“I was just ordering 60606 and at the bottom of the page it says, ‘You will receive Basic, Kindle, Nook and iBook verstions.’ What is a verstion?”
There are 143,000 Google hits for “verstion.”
So it isn’t as if QT was mistaken.
That’s QT’s verstion, and it’s sticking to it.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Sic transistor gloria. . . .

News Headline: “Cleaning gadget ‘switches itself on’ and moves onto kitchen hotplate in ‘suicide bid.’ ”
News Headline: “Is this the first-ever robot suicide from too much housework?”
Or maybe a case of techsistential despair.

News Headline: “The ‘Francis effect’: 5 ways the pope is resuscitating the Catholic Church.”
News Headline: “Archbishop pledges to release names of priests who sexually abused children.”
Forget the CPR.
We’ll need cables and a car battery.

News Headline: Sarah Palin tells African-Americans they misinterpreted the word ‘slavery.’ ”
QT Digest of a Tuesday Radio Interview of Sarah Palin (for Your Convenience):
“. . . I honestly cannot think. . . .”
So now you have the gist.

News Headline: “Cell-phone thefts in major U.S. cities become crime epidemic.”
But is there a downside?

The Case for the Separation of Church and Everything:
A Methodist minister in Pennsylvania will soon be put on trial by the church and possibly defrocked because he officiated at his son’s same-sex marriage.

News Headline: “Typhoon Haiyan: Gun culture of the Philippines hinders relief effort.”
Is there anything the gun culture can’t do?

Beware the ides of National Family Literacy Month.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ Jonathon Eros, a San Francisco reader, regarding QT’s reminder that there is no “x” in “espresso,” writes:
“Even if you have it brewed for you PDQ in the express lane?”
QT still prefers the espress lane.
+ Ellen Hinsch, a Columbia, S.C., reader, writes:
“Would you please remind your readers (and everyone else in the English-speaking world) that a shift in the financial calendar is pronounced FISS-kul, not PHYSICAL. Thank you. It drives me nuts in October and November every year.”
Done.
And that’s it!
QT did it!
QT made it through an entire column without a single shameless promotion of its new e-book novel 60606, which offers both suspense and hilarity and can be purchased AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, and what are you waiting for?
Oh. Right.
Never mind.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Thank you for your service

News Headline: “Don’t miss these Veterans Day appliance sales.”
News Headline: “Veterans Day Event: Free shipping on all online orders in the U.S.”
News Headline: “Honoring America’s veterans for service, sacrifice.”
Wait. How did that last one get in there?

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Billionaires received $11.3 million in federal farm subsidies from 1995 to 2012, it was learned, as one in seven Americans faced hunger because of cuts in food stamps.

News Headline: Amazon deforestation could trigger droughts in U.S.”
News Headline: “A garbage patch the size of the U.S. floats in the Pacific Ocean.”
News Headline: “Arctic temperatures highest in at least 44,000 years.”
News Headline: “Billions of Earthlike planets found in Milky Way.”
Forget the galaxy.
How much longer will Earth be an Earthlike planet?

S.C., a New York City reader, regarding QT’s new e-book novel 60606, writes:
“I was reading it on my Kindle on the train and laughed so loud at one point I embarrassed myself.”
QT was determined not permit further shameless promotions of its book, which can be purchased AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, and what are you waiting for?
But QT was tricked again.

News Headline: “Sarah Palin compares federal debt to slavery at Iowa dinner.”
News Headline: “Sarah Palin tells Iowa conservatives it’s time to ‘stiffen our backs.’ ”
Some might be tempted to say it takes a stiff back to support a thick head.
But not QT.

QT Early Warning System:
The Mormon Church now owns 2 percent of Florida.

News Headline: “Falling satellite causes no damage after re-entry.”
Is this a good time to mention Asteroid 2013 VJ11, which passed between Earth and the moon on Friday, the sixth asteroid in a month to be discovered after nearly hitting us?
Maybe another time.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ Bill Wade, a Chicago reader, writes:
“I have noticed a trend among the talking-head media to pronounce the ‘t’ in ‘often.’ ”
Some people are eager to show they can spell.
+ Bill Laude, a Frankfort, Ill., reader writes:
” ‘Et cetera’ is Latin for ‘and others,’ with the abbreviation being ‘etc.’ But when the expression is spoken, I hear ‘ek cetera’ far too often.”
There is no excaping these mispronunciations.
You’ll hear them from here to the Artic, for all intensive purposes.
Which reminds QT that it is past time for its semiannual reminder that there is no “x” in “espresso.”
So there it is.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Send in the birthers. . . .

News Headline: “Trump, Palin top guest list for Billy Graham’s birthday.”
Nothing helps a birthday party more than clowns.

News Headline: “Will insularity, incompetence and lies doom Obamacare?”
That’s a little overboard, isn’t it?
Insularity?

News Headline: “Guns & Ammo columnist fired for backing gun training.”
QT Abridged Too Far Dictionary of the English Language:
Second Amendment noun 1. an amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms as necessary to maintain a state militia. 2. but just try to regulate it, even a little, for public safety. 3. because the gun enthusiasts will come back at you like selfish three-year-olds. 4. anything to protect their toys. 5. hey, dictionaries have to vent, too.

News Headline: “Rand Paul moves column to Breitbart after plagiarism stir.”
A surprising move.
Breitbart is usually scrupulous about creating its own fabrications.

News Headline: “More asteroid strikes are likely, scientists say.”
Could the scientists be referring to Asteroids 2013 TL127, 2013 UR1, 2013 UX2 and 2013 UV3?
Which were discovered in the past month after passing between Earth and the moon?
Or Asteroid 2013 VN5, which was discovered this morning, four days after it skimmed the moon’s orbit?
These scientists are a panicky lot

News Headline: “How to make delicious homemade popcorn on the stove.”
Slow news day.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ Beverly Feldt, a Homewood, Ill., reader, regarding another reader’s mention that the accent in “pastoral” is on the first syllable, writes:
“Ditto ‘doctoral’ and ‘mayoral.’ And do we have to go into ‘comptroller’?”
You are referring to the fact that “comptroller” should be pronounced the same as “controller.”
Which not even some comptrollers understand.
+ M.B., a Chicago reader, writes:
“More and more, I’ve been hearing professional speakers at solemn (and apparently unrehearsed) occasions pronounce ‘irrevocable’ as ir-eh-VOKE-able. P.S. Props on your new book. I’ll have to buy it when it hits print.”
You are referring to QT’s novel 60606, which is now available AT THIS HANDY LOCATION.
Sorry. No print.
But versions are sent out in Basic, Kindle, Nook and iBook.
Now we can get back to mispronunciations.
Which seem these days to be out of comptrol.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

No burdensome regulation here

News Headline: “Lawsuits: Love Canal still oozing 35 years later.”
Is there any end to the magic of the free marketplace?

News Item: “. . . On the move for Saudi women to be allowed to drive, Kerry was careful not to appear to take sides. . . ‘up to Saudi Arabia to make its own decisions about its own social structure and choices. . . .’ ”
Close call.
The United States was on the verge of  taking a stand for human rights.

News Headline: “Alabama chancellor says Nick Saban is the best financial investment the university has ever made.”
A timely reminder.
Sometimes we get caught up in all the sportsmanship and lose sight of the meaning of collegiate athletics.

S.W., a Kendall, Wis., reader, regarding QT’s new e-book novel 60606, writes:
“Is 60606 available in a Kindle format?”
QT is here to answer any reader questions, even if this means it must reluctantly publicize its novel, which another reader has called “hilarious,” and which is NOW SENT OUT COMPATIBLE WITH KINDLE AND NOOK FROM THIS LOCATION.
Boy, the things QT does for its readers. . . .

News Headline: “Toronto mayor Rob Ford admits smoking crack.”
Now we can go back to wondering what the explanation for Ted Cruz might be.

News Headline: “The implosion of the GOP brand.”
J.J.S., a Germantown, Tenn., reader, wants to know when reputation became branding, and when can we have reputation back?

News Headline: “South Floridians strip for skinny-dipping world record.”
And it’s a good thing the 805 people who jumped naked into the water broke the record, or they might have looked silly.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
K.R., a Baltimore reader, writes:
“This one doesn’t come up often, but the accent in ‘pastoral’ is on the first syllable, not the second.”
You sound like someone who frequents the dictionary–“frequent” as a verb having its accent on the second syllable, not the first.
Twenty-six percent of Floridians mispronounce “Florida,” as long as we’re at it.


Write to QT at
zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The case for profiling

News Headline: “How corporations hijack government with GOP’s help.”
News Headline: “GOP ‘willing to hijack the entire country.’ ”
This is becoming a matter of national security.
All Republicans should be required to take off their shoes until further notice.

News Headline: “Election eve poll: McAuliffe up 6 points over Cuccinelli.”
News Headline: “Cuccinelli fights stench of doom.”
Just be thankful Cuccinelli isn’t behind by seven points.

Rob Bligh, an Omaha, Neb., reader, regarding QT’s new e-book novel 60606, writes:
Want to laugh out loud while reading? 60606 is Joseph Heller funny.”
Wait.
You don’t think you can flatter QT into reminding readers that the book is available right here, do you?
C’mon.

News Headline: “Jay Carney: ‘It would be awesome’ if Ted Cruz, Rand Paul run in 2016.”
Add awe to the list of things that aren’t what they used to be.
News Headline: “U.S. spying efforts sometimes ‘reached too far,’ Kerry says.”
But understatement remains alive and well.

News Item: “A Cirque du Soleil performer slipped and fell off the ‘Wheel of Death’ during a performance. . . transported to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. . . expected to be released in a few days. . . .”
And then back to the Wheel of Brief Hospital Stays.

News Headline: “Chicago Bulls: Add leadership to Rose’s impressive skill set.”
S.C., a Chicago reader, asks when skills became a skill set, and when can we have skills back?

W.S., a Chicago reader, regarding QT’s new e-book novel 60606, writes:
“What would you call a gathering of people who aren’t happy with your attempts to publicize your book? If they met in a conference room: a table of discontents.”
Stop it.
You don’t think you can trick QT into reminding readers for a second time that that the book is available right here, do you?

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Excelitas has acquired Qioptiq.
And Asurion has acquired Soluto.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Mike Wolstein, a Park Ridge, Ill., reader, writes:
“I’ve been told that ‘anal retentive’ should sometimes have a hyphen. I disagree. It should have a colon.”
You remind QT that there are 41 colons and two semicolons in its new e-book novel 60606, which is available right here.
Sorry.
These things happen in threes.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.