Author Archives: Zay Smith

From Poor QT’s Almanack

Declaration of Independcance

On this day in 1776,  the Continental Congress voted for indepe–
Wait. That was July 2.
On this day in 1776, two days after voting for independence, the Continental Congress met for the formal signing of the Decla–
Wait. Only John Hancock, the president of Congress, and Charles Thompson, the secretary, signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4.
The entire Continental Congress didn’t sign it until August 2.
And Thomas McKean of Delaware didn’t sign it until 1781.
Happy Fourth of July!

Sympathy and trust abounding. . . .


News Headline: “House panel approves massive Pentagon spending bill.”
News Headline: “Terrorists team up in Syria to build next generation of bombs.”
No one said the dawning of the Age of Aquarius didn’t need a little tweaking.

Klaatu barada IPO


News Headline: “Firm names robot to board of directors.”
Won’t work.
A robot has no place on a corporate board.
It  knows only numbers.
It has no moral values, no concern for the needs of society.
Wait. What?
Oh. Right.
Never mind.

Rabbit, run

Easter Bunny
News Headline: “Michigan man accused of fondling Easter Bunny.”
Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on it’s way.

Work hard, play hard


News Headline: “George W. Bush’s paintings are getting their own exhibit.”
As you’ll recall, he did some of his best work into corners.

News Headline: “Arizona Senate: Business owners can cite religion to refuse service to gays.”
R.M.., a Las Vegas reader, writes:
“If a locomotive engineer has a religion that says drinking alcohol is a sin, can he refuse to move a train carrying barley to a malting house that makes malt to be  sold to breweries to make beer?”
And then he can go back to peeking into bedrooms.

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Qantas, which recently gave its CEO $1 million in bonuses, is preparing a major layoff of workers to cut costs.

Kentucky Democratic senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes regarding charges that she is an “empty dress”:
“That’s about as accurate as Mitch McConnell being a Chippendale dancer–”
Do not let yourself visualize this.
Too late?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Jack Finarelli, a Falls Church, Va., reader, writes:
“You recently informed us that a hamlet is a village without a church. So what is a village without an idiot?”
Hard to say. It varies with Ted Nugent’s travel plans.
An imbecile is smarter than an idiot, but not as smart as a moron, as long as we’re at it.

This can be done here

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QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday

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.

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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QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday

On the second day of Christmas. . . .

QT Christmas News You Can Use:
A word to those who are out of work–or know others who are–while the merriment happens all around:
The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas will offer free job-search and career advice to anyone who calls on December 26 and 27.
The number is (312) 422-5010.
The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
And remember:
There are Twelve Days of Christmas.
And a New Year after that.

News Headline: “NH school calls police on Santa Claus spreading ‘holiday cheer.’ ”
Ho, Ho, Ho!

News Headline: “Beef O’Brady’s Bowl: Will East Carolina show up?”
OK. Just once during the 35 bowls of the bowl season, wouldn’t it be something to see if one of the teams actually didn’t show up?

+R.G., a Key West, Fla., reader, regarding QT’s asking readers to stop playing games with its suspicion that it is being overcharged by its electric company, writes:
“An electric company ought to conduct itself properly.”
+ Dave Carr, an Owen Sound, Ontario, reader, writes:
“You have to give credit to the company for being its ohm master.”
+ Dan Skowron, a Romeoville, Ill., reader, writes:
“Talk about re-volting.”
+ William Ferry, a Lafayette, La., reader, writes:
“Watt’s the current status?”
+ Stephen J. Smith, a Minneapolis reader, writes:
“I haven’t the energy for this.”
Sorry. No  time any more.
We need to prepare for Christmas.
Well, except for:
Who hides in a bakery at Christmastime?
A mince spy.
There was just time for that.

News Headline: “Small Alabama town accidentally hires black drag queens to dance in Christmas parade.”
Ho, Ho, Ho!

News Headline: “Drunken elf arrested.”
Ho, Ho, Ho!

And one more thing:
Merry (this statement is offered 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) Christmas!


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QT will resume Friday

And Merry Christmas again!


The season to be merry. . . .


News Headline: “For 20 years, the U.S. launch code at Minuteman silos was 00000000.”
Not to worry. The launch code has been fixed.
Changed it to the president’s birthday.

News Headline: “Wage strikes planned at fast-food outlets.”
See? This is what happens when our job creators let the servant class get uppity.

News Headline: “Obama refers to ‘tea-baggers’ in alleged handwritten letter.”
So now, on top of everything else, we see this socialist thug usurper calling names.

R.R., a Chicago reader, writes:
“You really do believe in shameless promotion, don’t you.”
Are you referring to QT’s 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?
Tell you what.
QT won’t be promoting it any more.

Then again, it won’t be promoting it any less

News Headline: “Dems say Boehner blocking farm bill, wants more food stamp cuts.”
Maybe it’s time we realized that the Republicans are the true Party of Change.
And they like to keep the change.

News Headline: “Poll: Americans don’t trust one another.”
Or is that what the pollsters would like us to think?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
And now that it’s time to start thinking of Christmas, T.S., a Chicago reader, reminds us that is it isn’t “God rest ye, merry gentlemen” but “God rest ye merry, gentlemen.”
Ho, Ho, Ho!

QT’s new novel 60606 is available here.

Write to QT at

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 Wal-Mart 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

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 Earth-like planets found in Milky Way.”
Forget the galaxy.
How much longer will Earth be an Earth-like 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.

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QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.