Or maybe in an alternate universe

News Headline: “Obama vows to continue gun-law push.”
We may want to ask quantum physicists to determine how something can continue that has never been observed to exist.

News Item: “. . . teams from Missoula and Flathead counties have searched. . .  along with dog-sniffing crews. . . .”
And why any crew would be assigned to sniff dogs, we may never know.

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:
Geophysicist Robert Smith, who had never seen two simultaneous earthquake swarms in 53 years, regarding three simultaneous swarms this month:
“It’s very remarkable.”
QT misplaced its dictionary.
“Remarkable” is a good thing, isn’t it?

News Headline: “Gov’t shutdown looms as House GOP aims at health care law.”
News Headline: “Vandals strike again: Uncle Sam statue’s head missing.”
The stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

W.S., a Chicago reader, regarding a Russian man’s shooting another man with rubber bullets during an argument about Immanuel Kant in a grocery store, writes:
“It seems one of the men tried to take over the other’s shopping cart, also, in violation of the cartegorical imperative.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “AIG CEO Robert Benmosche: ‘Too big to fail has been solved.’ ”
As we start the 23rd day of National Humor in Business Month.

News Headline: “Tiny snake on Qantas plane grounds 370 passengers.”
Single Tiny Snake on a Plane?
The sequester continues to take its toll.

News Headline: “Book deal for Paul Ryan.”
Ryan’s earlier Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders slipped this week from 511,365th to 521,876th on the Amazon Best-Seller List, for those keeping track.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
J.E., a San Francisco reader, writes:
“Why, when you use ellipses to end items, do you seem to use a set of four rather than three?”
Ellipses, known technically as dots, come in batches of three to represent missing words. . . and four at the end of a sentence, with the ellipses followed by a period. . . .
And so on. . . . . .

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This just in. . . .

News Headline: “Man climbs street sign, removes pants.”
As reasonable a response as any to the news of the day.

NASCAR chairman Brian France explaining  the current race-fixing scandal:
“Circumstances happen that are unhelpful in the credibility category.”
People who lie and cheat should be called out for what they are:
A bunch of no-good credibility category hinderers.

News Headline: “Crime, but no punishment, for Wall Street CEOs.”
News Headline: “Disgraced Wall Street CEOs are living large.”
Speaking of bunches of no-good credibility category
hinderers. . . .

News Headline: “Kerry says Syria action would be ‘incredibly small.’ ”
News Headline: Al-Qaida leader calls for  ‘small-scale’ attacks.”
An encouraging development.
Or put it this way:
Doesn’t it sometimes seem hard to find a human activity that isn’t improved by doing less of it?

News Headline: “Researchers find fecal matter in most holy water.”
The next study will involve homilies.

News Headline: “Serial airline groper gets 9 months in prison.”
Rich Rzadzki, a Chicago reader, would as soon not know how one goes about groping a Boeing 747.

News Item: “Six Flags reopened the Texas Giant roller coaster Saturday. . . cautioned park-goers that the Texas Giant might not accommodate ‘guests with unique body shapes or sizes’. . . . ”
All right. Who wants to be the first Six Flags attendant to inform a guest that he or she has a unique body shape?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . sitting upright on a chaise lounge. . . .”
M.S., a Des Moines, Iowa, reader, worries for the safety of  anyone who tries to sit on something that doesn’t exist.
So move the person quickly to a chaise longue.
Or maybe just find a couch.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

A-hunting we will go

News Headline: “Texas turns to Ted Nugent to control feral pig epidemic.”
Not always easy to choose sides.

News Headline: “Iowa grants gun permits to the blind.”
So what you do is head north from Interstate 80 to Interstate 90, then across, and then back down to Interstate 80.
Avoids the state entirely.

Brent Musburger ending the third quarter of the Michigan-Notre Dame game:
“We’ll be back with the money quarter after these
messages. . . .”
The NCAA Committee on Desperately Keeping Up Appearances would like a word with you, Mr. Musburger.

News Headline: “Pope Francis: Starvation in a world of plenty  ‘scandalous.’ ”
Comes to maybe 1,000 deaths an hour, give or take.
But we can be grateful no red lines have been crossed.

News Headline: “Poll: Americans don’t trust polls.”
So Americans evidently do trust polls.
Or do you trust this poll?

News Headline: “Some see Biblical visions of doom in Syria trouble.”
News Headline: “Some see image of Jesus on truck trailgate.”
For those keeping track of people who see things.

QT Move Along, Nothing to See Here, Update:
Asteroid 2013 RO30 was discovered Saturday, three days after it passed between Earth and the moon.
But it was a smallish asteroid.
About the same size as Asteroid 2013 RF32, which was discovered Sunday, three days after it passed between Earth and the moon.
Nothing new since then.
Well. That we know of.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . picnics on the Ravinia lawn, sometimes with white tablecloths and candelabras, still occur for CSO
events. . . .”
R.B., an Evanston, Ill., reader, wants you to know that it is one candelabrum–and two, three, four or more candelabra.
And Bob Crystal, a Rochester, N.Y., reader, writes:
“Add to your pronunciation guide the list of conflicts in the English language. Take a bough and gather your dough. An erudite scholar serves crudites to his friends. . . . ”
QT senses that you frequent this space.
Which is to say free-KWINT.

Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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.”
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.