Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Shake, rattle and. . . .

ONE PLANET.  THREE NIGHTS.  FIVE HOURS.NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL PRESENTS A FRONT-ROW SEAT TO THE FANTASTIC FORCES THAT SHAPE OUR PLANET IN EARTH: THE BIOGRAPHY From the Outer Atmosphere to the Depths of the Oceans, HD Event Provides a Visual Feast

 

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:
The U.S. Geological Survey wants you to know:
It sees at this point “no indication of additional geologic activity other than continuing seismicity” after a magnitude 4.8 earthquake, the strongest since 1980, hit Yellowstone over the weekend “near the center of a region of recent ground uplift.”
And what more reassurance could we want?

Which isn’t to mention Asteroid 2014 FT37, discovered Sunday, a day after it came just within the moon’s orbit.

News Headline: “Panel’s warning on climate risk: Worst is yet to come.”
Almost comforting to deal with a catastrophe that is already happening.

News Headline: “China mulls global satellite surveillance.”
Who do the Chinese think they are, us?

News Headline: “Boehner: Congress will ‘look at’ DC pot bill.”
Paul St. Onge, an Elmhurst, Ill., reader, writes:
“We know that the D.C. in Washington, D.C., stands for District of Columbia. But with our present politics, maybe it more appropriately stands for Dysfunctional Congress. I’m willing to bet your loyal readers can come with even better ones.”
QT agrees.
Its readers are a smart bunch.
Its readers are anything but Duplicitous Clods.

News Headline: “Oil boom strains North Dakota infrastructure.”
In other news, North Dakota has an infrastructure.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
K.R., a Baltimore reader, writes:
“Time for a reminder that the verb ‘slough,’ used in the phrase ‘slough off,’ rhymes with ‘rough’ and not, as on NPR’s Saturday morning newscast, ‘cough.’ ”
Excellent point.
QT raises its glass in toast.
Maybe something summerish, as the season nears.
With the reminder that daiquiri is pronounced DIE-kur-ee.

The buyer’s market

Money

 

News Headline: “Democrats funded by billionaires complain about Republicans funded by billionaires.”
And who says bipartisanship is dead?

News Headline: “Candidate passes kidney stone during campaign debate.”
So at least one politician now understands how voters feel.

News Headline: “How negativity can make you happier.”
Not likely.

News Item: “Editors at the American Scholar magazine have chosen their 10 favorite sentences from fiction and nonfiction works. . . .”
And inexplicably left out this from Raymond Chandler:
“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick out a stain-glassed window.”
OK. So it’s not quite exactly a sentence.
So try this:
“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”
Raymond Chandler was a compelling writer.

News Headline: “Shots fired at Ukrainian air force base in Crimea blocked by Russians.”
Maybe it’s best to stick with diplomacy if bullets bounce off them.

News Headline: “Does welfare make people lazy?”
News Headline: “Is homework making your child sick?”
News Headline: “Is the Internet making politics more dysfunctional?”
News Headline: “Can fear of cancer keep college kids from binge drinking?”
No, no, yes, no.
See how easy?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . suffered a spinal-chord injury. . . .”
News Item: “. . . and cut the baby’s umbilical chord. . . .”
B.P., a Chicago reader, says all we need is a good drummer, and we can make some real music.

Merrily we roll along


Russian Threat
News Headline:
 
“Obama says he’s more worried about the possibility of ‘nuclear bomb going off in Manhattan’ than Russian threat.”
This being what passes for a reassurance these days.

News Headline: “Launch of secret spy satellite delayed.”
The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office may want to revisit the concept of “secret.”

News Headline: “Five percent of people have checked Facebook during sex, says survey.”
Status: Out of a Relationship.

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A 9-year-old girl who, with her parents’ permission, shaved her head in support of a friend who had lost her hair to childhood cancer was suspended by Caprock Academy in Colorado because her shaved head was in violation of the school’s “detailed dress code policy.”

News Headline: “Montgomery County carjacking linked to airline disappearance in Asia.”
Nice try, headline writer.

News Headline: “Naked man tells police he’s making tree ‘his home’ after climbing 40 feet up.”
As reasonable response as any to the news of the day.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “Resistance is futile: The AP will now accept ‘over’ as a synonym for ‘more than.’ ”
Sorry, Associated Press.
QT used to love you, but it’s all more than now.


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Nothing to sniff at

Nose

News Headline: “Human nose can detect a trillion smells.”
But only when Congress is in session.

News Headline: “Jimmy Carter: Obama doesn’t call me for advice.”
News Headline: “Jimmy Carter on NSA: ‘My own communications are probably monitored.’ ”
So at least someone is listening to him.

News Headline: “. . . all 21 states rejecting the Medicaid expansion did so by decree of a Republican governor or state legislative body. . . .”
For those keeping track of death panels.

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A school in Penzance, England, ordered teachers to stop using red ink to correct student papers because red ink can have “negative” connotations.

News Item: “. . . joined ME&V as the director of first impressions. . . .”
N.T., a New York City reader, wants to know when receptionists became directors of first impressions, and when can we have receptionists back?

News Headline: “CNN draws fire over wall-to-wall coverage of Malaysian flight mystery.”
No. Wait. As any cable TV news director will tell you, a great deal of thought goes into the coverage of the day’s—oh, look at that bright shiny object!

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . Health plans must offer a range of services at no extra charge, including all forms of birth control for women that have been approved by federal regulators. . . .”
J.W., a Macomb, Ill., reader wants to know more about women who have been approved by federal regulators.


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TL;DR

Twitter
News Item:
“Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is to meet Shanghai government officials, academics and students in his first visit to China, signaling Twitter’s i–”
Sorry.
Not  enough characters allowed to complete a thought. . . .

News Item: “. . . from a museum that says humans co-existed with dinosaurs. . . .”
Or should we dismiss creationist theory so quickly?.
We sometimes forget it was subject to peer review by both Fred and Wilma.

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A senior at Ashtabula Technical High School in Ohio was expelled because a folding knife issued for his training as an emergency medical technician was found in an EMT medical vest in the trunk of his car.

News Headline: “Paris Hilton celebrates St. Patrick’s day in a plunging green dress.”
Can it be 2,462 days since Paris Hilton announced she was leaving public life?
Not that anyone is counting.

QT Early Warning System:
Twelve days remain until National Stress Awareness Month.
Have you been preparing for it?
Time is running out.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “A new window on the Big Bang has been opened.”
News Headline: “Big Bang’s smoking gun found.”
News Headline: “Scientists see fingerprint of Big Bang.”
Then again, after 13.8 billion years, we still can’t agree on a metaphor.


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When we don’t have a prayer

God


News Headline:
“Bill Maher on Noah: God was a ‘psychotic mass murderer.’ ”
Let’s not go overboard here.
Considering the Old Testament, more like a case of narcissistic sociopathy.

News Headline: “Collapse of civilization is coming–NASA study.”
Not a study to worry us.
Hey. It’s not as if we’re dealing with rocket scientists here.

News Headline: “Congressman estimates ‘5 or 10’ members of Congress smoke weed.”
News Headline: “House GOP holds 51st anti-Obamacare vote.”
Figure the weed-smokers are Democrats.
Republicans seem to prefer crystal meth.

C.T., a Chicago reader, writes:
“A week ago last Friday you told us that as far as asteroids were concerned, ‘nothing is coming near us this weekend.’ Then you added, ‘that we know of.’  Then on Friday you told us Asteroid 2014 EX24 came between Earth and the moon that weekend only to be discovered three days later. Then you told us nothing was coming near us this weekend ‘that we know of.’ Well? Did anything come near us this weekend?”
Not that we know of.

News Headline: “Suicide bomber misfires while parking, kills only himself.”
What kind of times do we live in?
Hope you enjoyed Today’s Chuckle.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
M.B., a Chicago reader, having seen an Internet posting that referred to itself as the start of a “collective constructive exchange,” wants to know when chain letters became collective constructive exchanges, and when can we have chain letters back?
Good question.
Pass it on.

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I love it when you talk cosmic

Cosmos
We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
The TV science series “Cosmos ” is rated PG, in part for “suggestive dialogue.”

News Headline: “Climate change talkathon: Democratic senators pull all-nighter.”
Bringing new formality and protocols to everybody talking about the weather, but nobody doing anything about it.

News Headline: “The CIA torture cover-up.”
Note to anywhere else in the world:
Maybe sometimes it’s best to avert your eyes from the Shining City Upon a Hill.

News Headline: “Quinn, looking to fall, names campaign manager.”
Joe Mitzenmacher, a River Forest, Ill., reader, wonders why the candidate doesn’t look for a manager who will keep him upright.

Sarah Palin on geopolitics and foreign relations:
“Mr. President, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke.”
QT thought of paraphrasing here.
But it didn’t want to oversimplify.

Today’s Birthdays: Jesse “Lone Cat” Fuller, 118; Tony “Two-Ton” Galento, 103; Sammy “Sammy Bull” Gravano, 69;  Rich “Svengoolie” Koz, 62.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
W.S., a Chicago reader, writes:
“Now that you’ve sorted out ‘disinterested’ and ‘uninterested,’ what about ‘unbelievable’ and ‘incredible’? The two words have the same definition but these days ‘unbelievable’ seems to mean ‘not believable’ while ‘incredible’ seems to mean ‘really good.’ How does this happen?”
These usages differ from place to place.
For example, in the cloisters of the University of Chicago you will sometimes hear students saying, “Wow! Incogitable!”
Or maybe you won’t.

 

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The dangers that lurk

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association describing the world around us:
“There are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage
killers. . . .”
. . . for those keeping track of key pockets of NRA support.

News Headline: “Arizona lawmaker: ‘I’m gay, Latino and a state senator.’ ”
Hats off to him.
It can take courage for a man to announce he’s an Arizona state senator.

News Headline: “It’s time to increase the size of the House.”
Wait.
You mean we’d have more of them?

News Item: “For the second day in a row, a space rock is going to zip close by Earth within the orbit of the moon. . . .”
That would be Asteroid 2014 EC, which was discovered Wednesday and came close  Thursday.
It followed Asteroid 2014 DX110, which was discovered Monday and came close  Wednesday.
Which isn’t to mention Asteroid 2014 EF, which was discovered hours before it came close  Thursday, just behind 2014 EC.
But rest easy.
Nothing is coming near us this weekend.
That we know of.

Dave Carr, an Owen Sound, Ontario, reader, regarding QT’s complaint about the headline “”Ukraine’s currency plunge nothing more than ‘Crimea River,’ ” writes:
“Shouldn’t it be ‘Crimea Hryvnia?’ ”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “Boston Public Schools recall free condoms after complaints about suggestive wrappers.”
A good catch.
Now Boston’s teenagers won’t be tempted to think about sex.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “Five facts about Daylight Savings Time.”
S.O., a Washington D.C. reader, wants you to know that one of the five facts is that it’s not Daylight Savings Time, but Daylight Saving Time.

 

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Ryan’s Hope

News Headline: “Rep. Paul Ryan misused data to show poverty programs don’t work, say economists he cited.”
No. That would mean he’s being slippery and dishonest.
So there must be some other explanation.

News Headline: “Fifth annual National Day of Unplugging.”
It will be Friday.
Want to avoid the Internet?
Go to nationaldayofunplugging.com.

News Headline: “Crimea and Punishment: Return of the Cold War.”
News Headline: “Ukraine’s currency plunge nothing more than ‘Crimea River.’ ”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

QT Yellowstone Caldera (the eruptions of which are 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:
The U.S. Geological Survey wants you to know that the new “ground deformation” and a tripling of earthquakes at Yellowstone are not “worrisome.”
So don’t be a worry wart.

News Headline: “The downfall of Justin Bieber: A timeline.”
Add historical timelines to the list of things that aren’t what they used to be.
And Tom Nee, an Oak Lawn, Ill., reader, wants to know when paintball parks became scenario fields, and when can we have paintball parks back?

News Item: “. . . an estimated 50 tons of trash that has been left on Mount Everest by climbers over the past six decades. . . .”
And maybe add remote and mysterious grandeur to the list of things that aren’t what they used to be.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ Martin Tangora, a Chicago reader, regarding QT’s mention that “dour” should rhyme with “fewer,” writes:
“I disagree about ‘dour,’ which certainly does not rhyme with ‘sour’ (the usual mistake) but has only one long syllable like ‘your’ or ‘tour,’ not two syllables like ‘fewer.’ ”
Or maybe QT just never got the hang of pronouncing “fewer.”
+J.K, a Sydney, Australia, reader, while we are at it, wants you to know that “scone” down there rhymes tends to rhyme with “con.”
And we’ll settle on that.
The fwr pronunciations, the better.


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