Monthly Archives: January 2014

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What we needed was a halftime show

News Headline: “State of the Union 2014: Obama calls for ‘year of action.’ ”
News Headline: “Super Bowl fever descends on New York.”
For those keeping track of spectacles that don’t amount to much as time goes on.

News Headline: “Democrats protest $5 billion food stamp cut they voted for.”
It takes skilled politicians have their cake and eat it, too, on the matter of hungry children.

News Headline: “The epic collapse of Chris Christie.”
The temptation is to wonder if Christie can walk across a room without its being epic.
But QT will resist the temptation.

News Headline: “What’s better, rail or pipeline to deliver oil?”
News Headline: “Crude oil spills on U.S. railways in 2013 topped total since 1975.”
Some questions are easily settled.
Why spend billions on the Keystone Pipeline when we already have an efficient delivery system for oil spills?

News Headline: “How to uncork a wine bottle with your shoe.”
When reporters have time on their hands. . . .

News Item: “. . . Yes, his political views were over the top at times–idealistic to the point of naivete. . . .”
Rest in peace, Pete Seeger.
And we look to the day when more of us are over the top–idealistic to the point of naivete.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . Schwarzenegger said, ‘I want to send a message to the people of the Ukraine. . . .’ ”
The message being that Schwarzenegger forgot there is never a “the” in front of Ukraine.
Just as there is never a “the” in front of Magna Carta or hoi polloi.
And always a “the” in front of the Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. John Jones.
And only you can prevent a “the” in the middle of Smokey Bear.
Which should do it for now.

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And could we interest the Democrats, too?

News Headline: “Las Vegas bids for 2016 Republican National Convention.”
What happier choice could we hope for?
Keeping in mind that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

News Headline: “Syria peace talks off to shaky start.”
News Headline: “Industry awakens to threat of climate change.”
News Headline: “Obama to focus on inequality and unemployment in State of the Union.”
But what does any of this have to do with Justin Bieber?

News Headline: “Pope’s peace doves attacked by crow and seagull.”
Sorry, Your Holiness.
Sometimes the Intelligent Designer just can’t resist.

News Headline:“JPMorgan profits fall 7.3%  in wake of fraud case.”
News Headline: “JPMorgan Chase CEO gets 74% raise.”
The system works.

Bill Scott, an East Northport, N.Y., writer, regarding QT’s calculation that the XXII Winter Olympic Games subtracted from Super Bowl XLVIII equals XXVI, writes:
“If you subtract WrestleMania XXX, you have -IV.”
Good as far is it goes.
But what is -IV plus the square root of Henry VIII?

News Headline: “Cryptic image on Instagram has the Internet buzzing with speculation.”
As the search continues for anything anywhere not capable of making the Internet buzz with speculation.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
J.R., a Chicago reader, regarding QT’s mention that it isn’t “baited breath,” but “bated breath,” writes:
“We’re all champing at the bit, not chomping, for more.”
Funny. QT was just reading  in the New York Post about “a grizzly plan” for torture and murder.
We can hope the bear will be brought to justice.


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Today’s Tea Party updates

News Headline: “Sarah Palin invited, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan confirmed to speak at CPAC 2014.”
News Headline: “Sen. Lee to deliver Tea Party response to State of the Union.”
News Headline: “Promising new approach to fighting resistant infections.”
Scientists are doing what they can.

News Headline: “A high-wire swearing-in for Christie.”
News Headline: “Christie sidesteps scandals in second inaugural address.”
Are we watching a politician learn it isn’t a good idea to sidestep while on a high wire?

News Headline: “Politician suspended for claiming gay marriage caused England to be ‘afflicted by storms and floods.’ ”
It took gay marriage to do it.
But the far right seems almost ready to accept climate change.

QT XI Days Until Super Bowl XLVIII Update:
According to the final count, NFL players suffered CLII concussions during the MMXIII season.
The most were suffered by cornerbacks, safeties and wide receivers, with XXIII, XX and XX, respectively.

News Headline: “Virginia bill would criminalize oral sex between teenagers.”
News Headline: “Virginia bill seeks to criminalize celebratory gunfire.”
Recommended, in any event, not to follow one with the other.

QT Tangled World Wide Web Update:
+ The number of Google hits for “tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists” is holding steady at about 1,600
+ There remain zero Google hits for “aggressive criminal prosecutions of Wall Street executives by the Obama administration.”

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Rich Rzadzki, a Chicago reader, regarding another reader’s wondering when calling or making contact with someone became “reaching out,” writes:
“I had a boss who seemed to think ‘going forward’  was the way to say ‘proceed.’ ”
Another takeaway on the subject of annoying words and phrases.
Thanks for the value added.


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The days of our lives

News Headline: “Gunman, 2 others dead in Indiana supermarket shooting.”
As we count the final hours until National Gun Appreciation Day.
News Headline: “Pregnant women warned off West Virginia water in cleared areas.”
But when is National Chemical Spill Appreciation Day?

News Headline: “New Hampshire House passes marijuana legalization.”
As we look forward to a time when all New Englanders will be able to get there from here.

QT XVI Days Until Super Bowl XLVIII Update:
A federal judge ruled that the $DCCLXV million settlement of a concussion lawsuit against the National Football League might not be enough to cover the needs of  about MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM retired players.

News Headline: “More than 5,800 gas leaks found in Washington D.C.”
Including 535 on Capitol Hill alone.

News Headline: “Pro tip: Don’t lie on your M.B.A. application.”
Funny. Didn’t you always think it was required?

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A burglar broke the lock on the front door of a Chicago bar but, as video surveillance showed, failed repeatedly to open the push-only door by pulling on it, so he left.

News Headline: More than 11 million young people have fled Facebook since 2011.”
News Headline: “Is Facebook becoming ‘uncool’?”

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . Thompson said that the team did not know what they would encounter at the home. ‘It’s always better to air on the side of safety,’ he said. . . .”
Ellen Hinsch, a Columbia, S.C., reader, writes:
“As you have said, ‘err’ rhymes with ‘fur’–and who on Earth transcribed this comment in the first place?”
Good question.
But we’ll leave that up in the err.


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Marching to an indifferent drummer

News Headline: “Video: Customers step over body of man who was shot, later died.”
News Headline: “Extension of unemployment benefits dead in Senate for now.”
Videos are available on C-SPAN for those of us who want to watch ourselves stepping over the bodies of the unemployed.

News Headline:  “Boy, 12, opens fire at New Mexico school, wounds two students.”
Can it be only three days until National Gun Appreciation Day?

News Headline: “House Republicans demand cuts for Wall Street watchdogs in budget deal.”
News Headline: “Democrats concede to curb funds for Wall Street regulators in spending bill.”
Always remember:
It is the Republicans who are in bed with Wall Street.
The Democrats curl up at the foot of the bed.

News Headline: “Pint in pub with friends good for mental health, study says.”
Keep up the good work, researchers!

News Headline: “‘The White House’s word means nothing!’ ”
Reassuring that there have remained some constants over the decades.

News Headline: “5 things you didn’t know about Honey Boo Boo.”
And still don’t.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
T.K., a Jiangmen, China, reader, writes:
“Regarding T.D. of Spokane wanting to know when ‘changing’ became ‘transitioning,’ I think it happened when QT transitioned from a columnist to a novelist.”
Are you referring QT’s new e-book novel 60606, which has been called suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased in pre-release AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, set your own price?


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QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday

The A-Rod not taken

News Headline: “Alex Rodriguez suspended from baseball for 2014 season.”
Too bad for everybody involved.
Or try it this way:
Allow him to play the season.
All his baseball money for the calendar year, including commercial endorsements, is sent directly to charity.
The fans can choose the charities on their All-Star ballots.
Call it play-release.
Another problem solved.

News Headline: “West Virginia chemical spill site wasn’t inspected in over a decade.”
Is there any end to the magic of the free marketplace?

News Headline: “Woman shoots brother in argument whether gun would fire.”
News Headline: “At least 194 children have been shot to death since Newtown.”
Five days until National Gun Appreciation Day. . . .

News Headline: “Are big banks out of control?”
News Headline: “Do Republicans really care about the War on Poverty?”
News Headline: “Will Obama have an Afghanistan problem in 2014?”
News Headline: “Does Sarah Palin still matter?”
Yes, no, yes, no.
See how easy?

News Headline: “5 asteroids that nearly hit Earth.”
Next they will be telling us about Asteroid 2014 AW32, which was discovered late last week as it passed halfway between Earth and the moon.
Or maybe not.
If it had hit, it would have leveled everything for no more than 10 or so square miles.

News Headline: “Dog blows up owner’s house.”
Once again, and think carefully:
How well do you know your dog?
How well, really?

Beware the ides of National Polka Music Month.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “Snow transitions to afternoon showers.”
T.D., a Spokane, Wash., reader, wants to know when “changing” became “transitioning,” and when can we have “changing” back?
News Headline: “Wintry mix will continue to transition to a cold rain.”
And when did “sleet” transition to “a wintry mix,” and when
can. . . .


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And now for your next helping. . . .

News Headline: “15 Chris Christie controversies you missed.”
Name a more fitting scandal for us to gorge ourselves on.

News Headline: “Ten Commandments monument installed at Oklahoma state capitol.”
News Headline: “Hindus and Satanists demanding equal placement on Oklahoma capitol grounds.”
News Headline: “Will Oklahoma statehouse get 7-foot goat-headed statue of Satan?”
Yes, it will.
If there is a God in heaven.

News Headline:  “Mass shootings are on the rise across U.S.”
News Headline:  “Cops search for gunman near Rochester-area school.”
Eight days until National Gun Appreciation Day. . . .

News Headline: “Republicans are being taught how to look compassionate while denying benefits to the unemployed.”
A good plan.
Or wait. You’re not one of those people who have something against brazen, shameless hypocrisy, are you?

Rush Limbaugh regarding extensions of unemployment insurance:
“Let’s change the term. Let’s get rid of  ‘unemployment insurance’ and let’s call it ‘paying people not to work.’ ”
As good a time as any to change terms.
Let’s get rid of “radio commentator Rush Limbaugh” and call him. . . call him. . . .
Any suggestions out there?

News Headline: “Man crashes into gas station, steals banana.”
News Headline: “Man accused of attacking girlfriend with banana.”
Fair warning.
These things happen in threes.

News Headline: “Astronomers anticipate 100 billion Earth-like planets.”
And we get the one with Donald Trump.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Beverly Feldt, a Homewood, Ill., reader, regarding QT’s mention that a hamlet is a village without a church, says we should think of a hamlet as a melancholy demesne.
Stop it.
Stop it now.
Or QT could mention that a sure remedy for melancholy is its new e-book novel 60606, which has been called both suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased in pre-release AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, set your own price.
But QT won’t.


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Where is Spielberg when we need him?

News Headline: “Unemployment insurance struggles to find GOP support.”
S.S.,  a Minneapolis reader, regarding the QT’s mention that “Sharknado” and “Sharkalanche” are being followed with “Sharcano,” writes:
“. . . Sharkublicans. . . .”
No. That would be too much.
You are referring to a vertebrate subspecies of the Republican Party that leads party invertebrates into relentless attacks on helpless victims, such as the working poor.
Sharkublicans are known for their cold dead eyes.
And are unsuitable for younger or more sensitive audiences.

News Headline: “The financial crisis: Why have no high-level executives been prosecuted?”
The writer, a federal judge, is asking the question of President Obama’s Justice Department.
Speaking of invertebrates.

QT XXV Days Until Super Bowl XLVIII Update:
More than MCD law enforcement officials have been specially trained to cope with Super Bowl Week’s potential influx of Xs of Ms of prostitutes.

News Headline: “Colorado pot shops can’t keep up with new orders.”
News Headline: “Here are those Mountain Dew-flavored Cheetos you wanted.”
Just in the nick of time.

News Headline: “Kraft announces Velveeta shortage.”
It all seemed to end up in Colorado somehow.

News Headline: “Flying anywhere this week is absolute hell on Earth.”
So the airlines, at least, have maintained a normal routine.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . sightings that peaked birder interest. . . .”
News Item: “. . . has peaked the interest of independent filmmakers.. . .”
R.F., a Chicago reader, wants to know when some writers and editors will “scale the piques of correct usage.”
Which reminds QT that a hamlet is a village without a church.
For some reason.


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This just in from Utah

News Headline: “Utah man on starvation fast to end gay marriages.”
Then again, some problems, left alone, nicely solve themselves.

News Item: “Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that he’s not opposed to unemployment insurance, but the longer benefits last, the lazier unemployed people get. . . .”
And don’t forget the minimum wage, child labor laws, sweatshop laws. . . .
How do we get away with all this laziness?

News Headline: “Morrissey: Eating meat is the same as pedophilia.”
Which raises the tricky question of vegetarian pedophiles. . . .


News Headline: “Firefighter accused of punching a woman placed on leave.”
Until we find out more, anyone who has been placed on leave should exercise caution around firefighters.

QT Early Warning System:
“Sharknado”. . . “Sharkalanche”. . . “Sharcano.”

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . the task of exercising their demons. . . .”
News Item: “. . . to exercise some of those demons. . . .”
Everywhere you look, a new fitness craze.


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The 353 Days of Not Christmas

News Headline: “We could use a little holiday spirit all year long.”
News Headline: “Putin vows to annihilate terrorists.”
But let’s see if he can do it festively.

Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative:
One in three people you see on the street believes that humans have existed “since the beginning of time.”

News Headline: “Mississippi governor pushes welfare drug testing.”
The thing about Republicans is that they can’t seem to get enough government regulation.

News Headline: “First asteroid discovered in 2014 hits Earth’s atmosphere.”
But Asteroid 2014 AA was only about the size of a double-decker bus as it headed for us at 80,000 mph.
And its debris evidently hit the Atlantic Ocean.
Hardly worth mentioning.

News Headline: “Lightning strikes killed fewer Americans than ever in 2013.”
So who says we aren’t making progress?
We finally have almost enough sense to come in out of the rain.

QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
+ All Christmas decorations should be taken down after the Twelve Days of Christmas.
+ Twelfth Day is January 5.
+And the decorations should not go up again until the day after next Thanksgiving.
+ Which is 328 days from now.
+ Ho, Ho, Ho!

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Katherine Rylaarsdam, a Baltimore reader, writes:
“Could you get the new year off to a good start by reminding everybody of  some basics? Between you and me. Visiting him and me. Or perhaps clearer: She and I were visiting him and her, and between them and us, we finished the wine and talked and laughed until past midnight.”
And is it time for QT’s semiannual reminder that it isn’t “once more into the breach” but “once more unto the breach”?
And are you sure you’re out of wine?


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