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.

Continue Reading

Caught off base

News Headline: “Obamacare reversal sparks confusion.”
OK. Wait. Who’s on health insurance?
But what about the cancellations?
That’s right.
All I’m trying to find out is who’s on health insurance.
The people on health insurance.
But how will all this work?
Absolutely. . . .

News Headline: “Microsoft CEO search is narrowing.”
And will soon shut down, for no apparent reason.

Michele Bachmann regarding Tea Party predictions of a botched Obamacare rollout:
“We all look like geniuses now.”
In other news, an omnipotent God, faced with the task of making Bachmann and the Tea Party look like geniuses, said, “I’ll need some time on that one.”

News Headline: “Obama not informed on website failure.”
We have to remind ourselves.
Sometimes our politicians don’t really know what they’re talking about.
News Headline: “Republican senate hopeful jokes about Obama being from Kenya.”
And sometimes they know all too well.

News Headline: “Could fracking awaken Yellowstone supervolcano?”
Will the environmental wackos please stop with these worries about the effects of fracking on the 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?

W.S., a Chicago reader, regarding the news story about a robotic cleaning device that seemed to have committed suicide by turning itself on and moving along a kitchen counter to a hotplate, which QT guessed might be a case of techsistential despair, writes:
“You just can’t resist these word games, Camus? Be careful what you Sartre.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.

News Headline: “Obamacare has big millennial problem.”
And why should Obamacare be different from most of the rest of us?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bill Scott, an East Northport, N.Y., reader, regarding QT’s new e-novel 60606, which has been called suspenseful and hilarious and can be purchased, name your price, AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, and what are you waiting for, writes:
“I was just ordering 60606 and at the bottom of the page it says, ‘You will receive Basic, Kindle, Nook and iBook verstions.’ What is a verstion?”
There are 143,000 Google hits for “verstion.”
So it isn’t as if QT was mistaken.
That’s QT’s verstion, and it’s sticking to it.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

Sic transistor gloria. . . .

News Headline: “Cleaning gadget ‘switches itself on’ and moves onto kitchen hotplate in ‘suicide bid.’ ”
News Headline: “Is this the first-ever robot suicide from too much housework?”
Or maybe a case of techsistential despair.

News Headline: “The ‘Francis effect’: 5 ways the pope is resuscitating the Catholic Church.”
News Headline: “Archbishop pledges to release names of priests who sexually abused children.”
Forget the CPR.
We’ll need cables and a car battery.

News Headline: Sarah Palin tells African-Americans they misinterpreted the word ‘slavery.’ ”
QT Digest of a Tuesday Radio Interview of Sarah Palin (for Your Convenience):
“. . . I honestly cannot think. . . .”
So now you have the gist.

News Headline: “Cell-phone thefts in major U.S. cities become crime epidemic.”
But is there a downside?

The Case for the Separation of Church and Everything:
A Methodist minister in Pennsylvania will soon be put on trial by the church and possibly defrocked because he officiated at his son’s same-sex marriage.

News Headline: “Typhoon Haiyan: Gun culture of the Philippines hinders relief effort.”
Is there anything the gun culture can’t do?

Beware the ides of National Family Literacy Month.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ Jonathon Eros, a San Francisco reader, regarding QT’s reminder that there is no “x” in “espresso,” writes:
“Even if you have it brewed for you PDQ in the express lane?”
QT still prefers the espress lane.
+ Ellen Hinsch, a Columbia, S.C., reader, writes:
“Would you please remind your readers (and everyone else in the English-speaking world) that a shift in the financial calendar is pronounced FISS-kul, not PHYSICAL. Thank you. It drives me nuts in October and November every year.”
And that’s it!
QT did it!
QT made it through an entire column without a single shameless promotion of its new e-book novel 60606, which offers both suspense and hilarity and can be purchased AT THIS HANDY LOCATION, and what are you waiting for?
Oh. Right.
Never mind.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

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.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

Send in the birthers. . . .

News Headline: “Trump, Palin top guest list for Billy Graham’s birthday.”
Nothing helps a birthday party more than clowns.

News Headline: “Will insularity, incompetence and lies doom Obamacare?”
That’s a little overboard, isn’t it?

News Headline: “Guns & Ammo columnist fired for backing gun training.”
QT Abridged Too Far Dictionary of the English Language:
Second Amendment noun 1. an amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms as necessary to maintain a state militia. 2. but just try to regulate it, even a little, for public safety. 3. because the gun enthusiasts will come back at you like selfish three-year-olds. 4. anything to protect their toys. 5. hey, dictionaries have to vent, too.

News Headline: “Rand Paul moves column to Breitbart after plagiarism stir.”
A surprising move.
Breitbart is usually scrupulous about creating its own fabrications.

News Headline: “More asteroid strikes are likely, scientists say.”
Could the scientists be referring to Asteroids 2013 TL127, 2013 UR1, 2013 UX2 and 2013 UV3?
Which were discovered in the past month after passing between Earth and the moon?
Or Asteroid 2013 VN5, which was discovered this morning, four days after it skimmed the moon’s orbit?
These scientists are a panicky lot

News Headline: “How to make delicious homemade popcorn on the stove.”
Slow news day.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ Beverly Feldt, a Homewood, Ill., reader, regarding another reader’s mention that the accent in “pastoral” is on the first syllable, writes:
“Ditto ‘doctoral’ and ‘mayoral.’ And do we have to go into ‘comptroller’?”
You are referring to the fact that “comptroller” should be pronounced the same as “controller.”
Which not even some comptrollers understand.
+ M.B., a Chicago reader, writes:
“More and more, I’ve been hearing professional speakers at solemn (and apparently unrehearsed) occasions pronounce ‘irrevocable’ as ir-eh-VOKE-able. P.S. Props on your new book. I’ll have to buy it when it hits print.”
You are referring to QT’s novel 60606, which is now available AT THIS HANDY LOCATION.
Sorry. No print.
But versions are sent out in Basic, Kindle, Nook and iBook.
Now we can get back to mispronunciations.
Which seem these days to be out of comptrol.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

No burdensome regulation here

News Headline: “Lawsuits: Love Canal still oozing 35 years later.”
Is there any end to the magic of the free marketplace?

News Item: “. . . On the move for Saudi women to be allowed to drive, Kerry was careful not to appear to take sides. . . ‘up to Saudi Arabia to make its own decisions about its own social structure and choices. . . .’ ”
Close call.
The United States was on the verge of  taking a stand for human rights.

News Headline: “Alabama chancellor says Nick Saban is the best financial investment the university has ever made.”
A timely reminder.
Sometimes we get caught up in all the sportsmanship and lose sight of the meaning of collegiate athletics.

S.W., a Kendall, Wis., reader, regarding QT’s new e-book novel 60606, writes:
“Is 60606 available in a Kindle format?”
QT is here to answer any reader questions, even if this means it must reluctantly publicize its novel, which another reader has called “hilarious,” and which is NOW SENT OUT COMPATIBLE WITH KINDLE AND NOOK FROM THIS LOCATION.
Boy, the things QT does for its readers. . . .

News Headline: “Toronto mayor Rob Ford admits smoking crack.”
Now we can go back to wondering what the explanation for Ted Cruz might be.

News Headline: “The implosion of the GOP brand.”
J.J.S., a Germantown, Tenn., reader, wants to know when reputation became branding, and when can we have reputation back?

News Headline: “South Floridians strip for skinny-dipping world record.”
And it’s a good thing the 805 people who jumped naked into the water broke the record, or they might have looked silly.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
K.R., a Baltimore reader, writes:
“This one doesn’t come up often, but the accent in ‘pastoral’ is on the first syllable, not the second.”
You sound like someone who frequents the dictionary–“frequent” as a verb having its accent on the second syllable, not the first.
Twenty-six percent of Floridians mispronounce “Florida,” as long as we’re at it.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

Tell us something we don’t know

News Headline: “Sarah Palin plans to visit Iowa.”
News Headline: “Ted Cruz says he knows how to unite the GOP.”
News Headline: “Rush Limbaugh: GOP doesn’t want to win.”
News Headline: “Sean Hannity gets fact-checked hard on Obamacare.”
News Headline: “Glenn Beck: ‘We are on the eve of destruction.’ ”
 News Headline: “5 terrifying real-life clowns.”
No need.
We seem to have it covered.

News Headline: “Ted Cruz’s dad: Send Obama back to Kenya.”
OK. Make it six.

S.A., a Chicago reader, regarding QT’s new e-book novel 60606, writes:
“This is going to be a hard act to folio.”
Stop it.
Stop it now.
QT is not looking for easy excuses to remind people the e-book can be purchased here.

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Wall Street executives marked a fifth year of escaping criminal prosecutions for the 2008 crash as a Texas man was jailed for an overdue library book.

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus was discovered in the sweat stains on a T-shirt in Mount Horeb, Wis.

News Headline: “Is Texas suppressing women voters?”
News Headline: “Is Ron Paul a political liability for his son?”
News Headline: “Are insurers trying to game Obamacare?”
News Headline: “Is the GOP overplaying its hand?”
News Headline: “Are Democrats more extreme than the GOP?”
News Headline: “Is Congress helping Wall Street loot your pension?”
Yes, yes, yes, yes, no, yes.
See how easy?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ J.J., a Seattle reader, regarding another reader’s reminder that it should be Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time writes:
“Now that you mention it, shouldn’t there be a hyphen? Daylight-Saving Time?”
Now that you mention it, yes.
But remember it has been said:
If you care about hyphens, you will surely go mad.
+ W.S., an Evanston, Ill., reader, writes:
“And it’s safe-deposit boxes, not safety deposit boxes, right?”
As sure as you can purchase QT’s new novel here.
QT will stop now.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

What? A novel? From QT?

Z.N.S., a Chicago reader, writes:
“I hear you’ve completed a novel! From what I understand, 60606  is the suspenseful tale of a newspaper reporter who runs afoul of right-wing religious terrorists, among other things! And that it is hilarious at times, as well! And that it is in special e-book pre-release for QT readers! How can I purchase a copy?”
No. Sorry.
QT will not tell readers that they can find out more by going here.
QT does not indulge  in shameful self-promotion.
It prefers shameless self-promotion.

QT XCV Days Until Super Bowl XLVII Update:
In the past VII years, NFL players have been arrested CDIII times, including CX  for drunk driving,  LXIV for drugs, XLIV for assault, XXII for battery, XXIX for domestic violence, and XXXIII for guns.

News Headline: “Black sesame seeds can be so much more than a decoration.”
Slow news day.

QT News You Can Use:
Martha Stewart wants you to know that the necessary equipment for carving a Halloween pumpkin includes a keyhole saw, a sabre saw, a wood gouge, a linoleum cutter, a hole cutter, a plaster scraper, a melon-ball scooper and a power drill.

News Headline: “United Nations adopts plan to defend Earth from threatening asteroids.”
Such as Asteroid 2013 UX2, the second asteroid in a week to be discovered after it had passed between Earth and the moon.
But this matter has now attracted the attention of a U.N. committee.
So we can breathe easier.

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Fifteen thousand male witches were put to death in Europe between 1450 and 1750.
+ Happy Halloween!

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Jack Finarelli, a Falls Church, Va., reader, writes:
“What is the distinction between ‘avow’ and ‘aver’?”
Someone has been doing crosswords.
QT will asseverate that much.
And as we are almost at the Halloween moment:
The first syllable of  “Jekyll,” as in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, rhymes with “bleak.”
And there is no “hollow” in Halloween.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

It never lets up, does it

News Headline: “Each year, 500 U.S. children killed, 7,500 wounded by gunshots.”
Always more complaining about dead children.
See what the NRA has to put up with?

News Headline: “Rick Santorum describes GOP as leaderless and in a state of ‘mess and confusion.’ ”
And mind you, he’s dwelling on the positive.

The Case for the San Andreas Fault:
San Jose, Calif., has shut down school fundraising car washes because of environmental concerns raised by soap and water.

News Headline: “Dick Cheney: Military action against Iran may be inevitable.”
If Cheney were startled suddenly from a deep sleep, would his first mumbled words be “military action may be inevitable”?

News Headline: “Designer unveils plans for underwater city.”
No need.
A few more years of climate change, and we’ll have Boston and Miami.

News Headline: “Nanoscale engineering boosts performance of quantum dot light diodes.”
And isn’t it about time?

News Headline: “Lego people to outnumber real people by 2019.”
Which is when they will make their move.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . leaving behind a grizzly scene. . . .”
News Item: “. . . go into all the grizzly details. . . .”
News Item: “. . . when she made the grizzly discovery. . . .”
. . . that our nation’s bear population seems to need thinning.
And J.R., a Chicago reader, reminds us that Daylight Savings Time will not end this Sunday.
Daylight Saving Time will.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading

Mega dittos on this one

News Headline: “Pope decries ‘scandal’ of hunger amid plenty.”
News Headline: “Pope Francis on gays: ‘Who am I to
judge?’ “
News Headline: “Don’t reduce faith to ‘moralistic’ ideology, pope warns.”
Isn’t it clear by now?
The pope is a Muslim who hates America.

News Headline: “Loud fish sex being blamed for keeping residents awake at night.”
Even in nature, we sometimes have to bang on the motel room wall.

News Headline: “GOP erupts as Democrat compares Tea Party to KKK.”
As well the GOP should.
The comparison is wildly inappropriate.
The Ku Klux Klan has never pretended it’s not racist.

News Headline: “Another hazardous asteroid to dart close to Earth in 2065.”
Which isn’t to mention Asteroid 2013 URI, which was discovered last night, three days after it passed halfway between Earth and the moon.
On second thought, let’s not mention it.

T.K., a Jiangmen, China, reader, writes:
“I watched ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ on  DVD  tonight.  I noticed the name Glenn Beck in the credits, but I couldn’t figure which of the apes he was.”
Easy there.
The actor named Glenn Beck played one of the  astronauts.
The actor named Glenn Beck has played, also, a cop, a pilot, a marshal and even Abe Lincoln.
He has not played a TV talker who hawks loon politics and overpriced gold to the gullible.
That role is taken.

Facebook Query to QT:
Complete Your Profile. Work: Where is the Chicago Sun-Times located? Enter City: —-.
When you communicate with Facebook,  go slowlyand use small words.

News Headline: “Listening to music relieves pain: study.”
A study that evidently didn’t take into account Andrew Lloyd Webber.

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
McDonald’s, which tripled the pay of its CEO last year, advises workers who call its helpline that they might try food stamps to make ends meet.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: “. . . The general consensus of opinion is. . . .”
Doesn’t matter what it is.
Everybody’s entitled to his general general opinion of opinion.

Write to QT at

QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Continue Reading