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.

Look for the union label

QT Trickle-On Economics Update (Labor Day Edition):
Starbucks, which recently almost doubled its  CEO pay to $28.9 million, fired a worker this week for eating a sandwich out of the store trash.

News Headline: “Obama: Limited military strike will send a message to Syria.”
The message being that the United States doesn’t really care how many tens of thousands of people Syria kills, depending on the techniques used.

News Headline: “Birthers greet Obama with ‘Kenyan Go Home,’ ‘Impeach Obama’ signs.”
News Headline: “Tiny human almost-brains made in lab.”
Which is–
Nah. Too easy.

News Headlines: “Pat Robertson says gay people in San Francisco use sharp rings to ‘get people’ and spread AIDS.”
Then again, as long as we’re in the brain lab. . . .

T.L., a Chicago reader, regarding a Chinese politician who testified at his corruption trial that he is a man of simple needs who wears 50-year-old underwear, writes:
“Isn’t China where they had a boxer rebellion?”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “Oxford dictionary online sees TL;DR, phablet and derp added.
“”TL;DR” means “too long; didn’t read.”
As our attention span dwindles to a couple of minutes of Miley Cyrus, well, twerking.

News Headline: “NFL agrees to settle concussion suit for $765 million.”
With CLVI days to go until Super Bowl XLVII, no concussion figures are yet available for the MMXIII exhibition season.
But we know at least CCXXXVI  concussions happened in MMXII.
As for the lawsuit settlement?
II little, II lVIII.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Jack Finarelli, a Falls Church, Va., writes:
“Please remind people that ‘imply’ and ‘infer’ are not synonyms. When someone misuses the words, I immediately infer that he or she is a moron.”
Or owns the wrong dictionary.
Some dictionaries have given up on the distinction.
But such are the vagaries of life.
Which is pronounced vah-GAIR-eez.
And Happy Labor Day!

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Our neighbors in space

News Headline: “Sun fires solar storm directly at Earth.”
News Headline: “Check out this animation of the sun destroying Earth.”
It’s OK.
Not this time.

News Headline: “Building evacuated after burlesque dancer sets off fire alarm with burning nipple tassels.”
See? Civilization goes on.

News Item: “. . .  Obama said the government will create a rating system for higher education,. . . average tuition, loan debt and what graduates earn . . .bigger bang for their
buck. . . .”
Kids, go get grandpa and ask him what it was like when colleges were supposed be  more than technical training schools
for high-paying jobs.

QT Digest of Rush Limbaugh’s Thursday Show (for Your Convenience):
“My. . . typical. . . show. . . has. . . no real substance. . . except for . . . obvious pandering. . .  to the. . . low-information crowd.”
Is there anyone more fun to quote out of context?
Or who deserves it more?

QT News Presented Without Comment:
A worker suffered minor injuries when lightning struck the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.

News Headline: “New atomic clock’s precision ‘groundbreaking.’ ”
This is a story worth reading.
It takes only a couple of shakes.

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Abila has acquired Avectra.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Mark Graham, a Chicago reader, writes:
“That was so cool. You used ‘tittering’ and ‘flaccid’ in the same column.”
QT wasn’t able to include a Politico column noting that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had matriculated at both Princeton and Harvard.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The minimum wages of sin


News Headline:
“Kanasas couple arrested for Walmart sex.”
News Headline: “Accused Walmart prostitute accepts plea deal.”
This is the trouble with Walmart sex:
People feel cheap afterward.

News Headline: “Rodeo clown who wore Obama mask is banned from state fair.”
Exactly.
A state fair is not an appropriate place for clowns to mock the president.
This could have waited until Congress was back in session.

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
A new wi-fi filter at the British Library blocked access to “Hamlet” because of its “violent content.”

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) on why President Obama hasn’t been impeached:
“If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.”
C’mon, Mr. Squishy RINO.
Real Republicans would have impeached the president 40 times by now.

+ Beverly Feldt, a Homewood, Ill., reader, regarding QT’s asking readers not to play games with reports of a new opera inspired by Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, writes:
“I’ve heard the opera is mostly about Justice Ginsburg. They weren’t that interested in the Manon the bench but wanted to Toscalia a bone.”
+ Dave Carr, an Owen Sound, Ontario, reader, writes:
“Wouldn’t this be a Traviata of justice?”
+ J.J.S., a Germantown, Tenn., reader, writes:
“Canio not stop acting like a clown?”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “New species of naked bone-eating worms found in Antarctica.”
This was the last we heard from the Intelligent Designer before he went back into rehab.

QT There Is No Such Thing as a Stupid Question (Except on Occasion) Update:
Rick Santorum at an Iowa fundraiser:
“Since when in America do we have classes? Since when in America are people stuck in areas or defined places called a class?”

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A Chicago restaurant owner faced with two robbers told them he was busy and asked them to come back in an hour, which they did, police said.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . The imminent historian contends. . . .”
News Item: “. . . was an imminent speaker at the rally. . . .”
Fair warning to get out of their way.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

1,184 days and counting

News Headline: “The presidential race may have just started in Iowa.”
News Headline: “100,000 sign up for one-way trip to Mars.”
The two stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

News Headline: “Oprah faces not just fashion retail racism but size bias too.”
Which brings us to another bias, the one concerning anyone, from any background, who would spend $38,000 on a handbag.

News Headline: “Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) defended his controversial remarks about immigrants. . . that ‘for every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. . . .’ “
Some might be tempted to say that for every Tea Party lawmaker who is a valedictorian, there are 100 whose brains seem the size of nectarines.
But not QT.

News Headline: “Donald Trump beats the birther drum again: ‘Was there a birth certificate?’ “
News Headline: “Finding the best bunch of nectarines.”
These two stories seemed to go together, also, for some reason.

+ Mike Ireland, a Hometown, Ill., reader, regarding QT’s mention that a new opera inspired by Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia would make it harder for anyone to rigoletto the orders they hand down, writes:
“What would forza you to write that? Or was it just destino?”
+ S.A., a San Francisco reader, writes:
“Verdi you get off playing these games?”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “Still hot? Exclusive pics of Paris Hilton DJing in Ibiza.”
It has been  2,243 days since Paris Hilton announced she was leaving public life.
For those keeping track.

Beware the ides of National Water Quality Month.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “Beyonce’s short hair is an epic new look.”
Add epics to the list of things that aren’t what they used to be.
News Headline: “Obama defends data spying as modest privacy encroachment.”
But understatement remains alive and well.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

License to steal? Renewed

QT News Presented Without Comment:
The Justice Department notified Bank of America it faces “monetary penalties” for $100 million in alleged fraud as a Florida man was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for burglarizing banks of loose cash in teller drawers.

News Item: “Supercomputer simulates one second of brain activity.”
The scientists knew it was a success when the computer asked to see President Obama’s birth certificate.

News Item: ” . . potential asteroid strike. . . . only a one in 20,000 chance that a truly dangerous one will hit Earth in a year’s time. . . . ”
In other news, Asteroid 2013 PJ10 was discovered yesterday,  two days after it crossed the moon’s orbit.
But it was only about the size of the one that laid waste to more than 800 square miles of Russia in 1908.
Hardly worth noticing.

News Headline: “Climate change could spark global violence.”
Quick. Name anything that hasn’t or couldn’t.

News Headline: “How to replace a kitchen faucet with Sean Buino.”
Paul St. Onge, an Elmhurst, Ill., reader, says it might be easier to use another faucet.

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission now classifies grass as an “inappropriate” playing surface for children.

 

News Headline: “Congress’ Iran policy: short-sighted and irrational.”
We can only admire Congress for its consistency from policy to policy.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: “SeaWorld vets perform first-ever shark C-section.”
News Headline: “Scientists serving up first-ever hamburger grown from stem cells of cattle.”
J.D., a Toronto reader, writes:
“You know what they say. There’s a first-ever time for everything.”
And it is never “firstly,” “secondly” and “thirdly,” but always “first,” “second” and “third.”
And so forthly.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Mankind is as mankind does

News Item: “. . . lightning deaths have fallen 78.6 percent for men and 70.6 percent for women since 1968. . . . ”
In other words, the human race is on the verge of having enough sense to come in out of the rain.
Who says we aren’t making progress?

News Headline: “Apple faces new China worker abuse claims.”
For those keeping track of  iSweatshops.

Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative:
Creationists at a hearing on Kentucky state education standards testified that the teaching of evolution instead of the Old Testament in science classes is “elitist.”

News Headline: “Eliot Spitzer: I would have fired Anthony Weiner for his ‘improper’ behavior.”
Your day may not be going well, but at least you aren’t being lectured on propriety by Eliot Spitzer.

William Ferry, a Lafayette, La., reader, regarding QT’s hoping to discourage its readers from playing games with President Obama’s announcement that his favorite food is broccoli, writes:
“Achoccha up every time the broccoli discussion surfaces.”
Stop it.
If you araza this subject again,  there will be consequences.

News Item: “France on Sunday officially replaced the English term ‘binge drinking’ with the French alternative ‘beuverie express’ . . . .”
Is there anything the French can’t make sound better than it is?

News Headline: “Has Bradley Manning been punished enough?”
News Headline:
“Would it be smart for fast-food chains to raise wages?”
News Headline: “Will summer’s big-budget disasters change Hollywood forever?”
News Headline: “Should the Postal Service stop delivering mail to your door?”
News Headline:
“Will GOP abortion battles backfire?”
Yes, yes, no, no, yes.
See how easy?

News Item: “Budget airline EasyJet has apologized after accidentally telling surprised passengers their flight would be delayed for 86 years. . . .”
In other news, experienced travelers hardly gave it a thought.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bob Crystal, a Rochester, N.Y., reader, writes:
“Why is ‘defenestrate’ only transitive? Why can’t I say, ‘I had to watch Michele Bachmann’s press conference and after 10 minutes, I defenestrated’?”
Feel free to.
This is accepted among grammarians as the Bachmann Exception.
It is not to be confused with the Trump Exception, which allows “gasbag” as an intransitive verb–for example, “gasbagged” instead of  “said” or “announced.”
And you don’t want to know about the Limbaugh Exception.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

When the press corps gets excited

News Headline: “3 million pack Copacabana Beach for mass with pope.”
QT has covered a number of papal events here and overseas.
It developed this rule for press crowd estimates:
Divide by two.
At least.
Or just give up and go with “jillions.”

News Headline: “States jump to push voter ID laws after SCOTUS ruling.”
News Headline: “Lincoln Memorial is shut down after vandals splash paint on it.”
The two stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

News Headline: “Plan for Yosemite calls for scaling back human activity.”
As the search continues for  situations that aren’t improved by scaling back human activity.

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Caterpillar, whose CEO has nearly doubled his compensation in the past two years, is pushing workers to take a six-year wage freeze.

News Headline: “Gunman among 7 dead in Florida apartment shooting.”
Have you noticed that we hardly notice these anymore?

Kevin Adler, a Barrington, Ill., reader, regarding QT’s hoping to discourage its readers from playing games with President Obama’s announcement that his favorite food is broccoli, writes:
“You should be on your gourd for more.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A man in Beaverton, Ore., used a baseball bat to attempt the robbery of a gun store.

News Item: “One of Afghanistan’s top religious figures . . . series of religious decrees. . .  ban on women leaving their homes without a male companion. . .  banned the sale of cosmetics. . . .”
B.L., a Boston reader, wants you to know there are currently 2,700 Google hits for “tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists.”
For those keeping track.

News Item: “Bryan Zuriff, the executive producer of the Showtime hit ‘Ray Donovan,’ pleaded guilty today in a high-stakes illegal sports gambling business run by the
mob. . . .”
In other news, Showtime announced the upcoming series “Bryan Zuriff.”

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
J.W., a Chicago reader, regarding the news that “unloosen” means the same as “loosen” and “unravel” means the same as “ravel,” writes:
“Take care. Passionate grammarians can be [in]flammable on the subject, [ir]regardless of your good intentions.”
QT can’t sanction your use of  ‘irregardless,” which isn’t a word.
So it will have to sanction your use of “irregardless,” which isn’t a word.
And can it be time for QT’s semiannual reminder that it isn’t “to the manor born,” but “to the manner born”?
Evidently.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Anthony Weiner’s spiritual side

News Headline: “Churches profit from turning steeples into cell towers.”
And don’t think the sexting community isn’t grateful.

A Republic, If You Can Keep It:
One in three people you see on the street thinks the First Amendment “goes too far.”

News Headline: “Rush Limbaugh: It’s ‘preposterous’ to blame white people for slavery.”
Larry Rand, a Chicago reader, wonders:
If Rush Limbaugh went out gigging for amphibians in a Florida swamp, would it be a case of a toad tailed by an idiot?

News Headline: “Texas’ proposed abortion restrictions could be a financial boon for Rick Perry’s sister.”
QT knows what you are thinking.
Heavens to Betsy, what a dreadful thing to think.

News Headline: “Too much exercise may be harmful to the heart: study.”
News Headline: “Sleep cuts risk of heart disease–study.”
There is something to be said for the heart-healthy regimen.

Gary Wisby, an Evanston, Ill., reader, regarding QT’s hoping its readers are finally discouraged from playing games with President Obama’s announcement that his favorite food is broccoli, writes:
“Peas kale a halt to this.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Item: “. . . The political calculus is changing as more members of Congress. . . .”
This evidently has to do with members of Congress finding the instantaneous rates of change of functions and hence the gradients of tangents to graphs or in finding functions from their rates of change.
Which may explain the Tea Party.

QT Worldwide Man-Bites-Dog Pinpoint Locator:
There have no recent biting incidents.
But a University of Florida linebacker was arrested in Gainesville for barking at a dog on the 19th dog day of summer.
There are 18 dog days to go.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Austin Stanton, a Northfield, Ill., reader, writes:
“While attempting to remove a stubborn bolt from a piece of equipment, a colleague inquired if I had any success unloosening it and I had to reply that, in fact, it already was unloose.”
Daiquiri  is pronounce DIE-kur-ee, by the way.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Our fat, drunk, and stupid nation, the threat of Ted Cruz, and more

News Headline: “U.S. junk food subsidies since 1995 equal to cost of nearly 52 billion Twinkies: Study”
News Headline:
“Mississippi among the nation’s best at beer drinking”
News Headline: “Utah lawmaker calls for end of compulsory education”
Consider this an intervention.
Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, nation.

MORE AT THE WEEK. . . .