Shoes and ships and ceiling wacks

QT Digest of Debate Over Government Shutdown and Debt Ceiling (for Your Convenience):
“. . . extortion. . . irresponsible. . . ignorant. . . .criminal. . . sadistic. . . tyranny. . . insane. . . travesty. . . sabotage. . .  dictatorial. . . . gutless. . . .reckless. . . progress. . . useful. . . keep talking. . . . ”
Wait a minute.
We’re not almost on the verge of being calm and reasonable, even for a moment, are we?

News Headline: “James Woods calls Obama a ‘true abomination.’ ”
News Headline: “Ted Nugent: Obama is a ‘monster in the White House.’ ”
News Headline: “Liberals on Twitter call for death of  actor James Woods, Tea Party.”
There. That’s better.

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
The President’s Council on Fitness has ordered  the Postal Service to put a hold its new stamp series on physical fitness because it depicts activities that include doing a headstand without a helmet.

News Headline: “Fracking wastewater contaminated–and likely radioactive.”
News Headline: “Industrial fishing scrapes the sea floor smooth.”
News Headline: “New study calculates year climate change will hit your city.”
News Headline: “Kentucky distilleries rapidly expand.”
And can’t expand rapidly enough.

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
P.B., a Bethesda, Md., reader, wants you to know that Charlotte Elementary School in Nashua, N.H.,  has banned tag on its playground because, although tag “seems innocent enough,” it involves “contact” among the children.

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind +
A man in Port Charlotte, Fla., who owned an illegal gun called police to report it had been stolen.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Tom Hedeen, a Chicago reader, writes:
“Why do people pronounce digital photographs, called GIFs, as JIFs? GIF stands for ‘Graphics Interchange Format,’ so shouldn’t it be said with a hard ‘G’?”
QT tends to agree.
But the inventor says it is pronounced JIFs.
And as far as sources jo, that’s as jood as it jets.
By Giminy.

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In the valley of the shadow of debt

News Headline: “Bachmann’s ‘good news’: End of the world is near.”
Talk about shutdowns.

News Headline: “Where does dizziness come from? Researchers pinpoint a key area in the brain.”
And don’t think for a moment it was easy getting Michele Bachmann to hold still.

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has directed that competing teams no longer shake hands after games, citing an increased risk of fighting among young athletes who show sportsmanship.

News Headline: “Can Big Business wrest control of the GOP back from the Tea Party?”
Human sacrifice. . .  dogs and cats living together. . . mass hysteria. . .  reasons suddenly existing to cheer for  Big Business. . . .

J.Z., an Evanston, Ill., reader, writes:
“The Republicans are right. We shouldn’t have to obey rules and stuff if we don’t like them. Signed, Johnny Smith, age 9.”
Or as President Obama should say to Capitol Hill Republicans:
“Don’t you make me come up there!”

News Headline: “Documentary: For years, NFL ignored concussion evidence.”
In other news, with CXV days to go until Super Bowl XLVII, this season’s NFL players have suffered XXXVI concussions.
Give or take I or II.

News Headline: “State lawmaker calls Obama ‘De Fuhrer.’ ”
News Headline: “Study claims U.S. adults dumber than rest of the world.”
Not all.
Just some.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
H.J., a Chicago reader, writes:
“I recall you had something to say months ago about the pronunciation of ‘gerrymander.’ I hear it a lot on TV these days, and no one seems to have it right–assuming you had it right.”
You are right that QT is right:
The news readers don’t have it right.
The word is taken from the name of Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry, who in the early 1800s showed unusual ways to redraw state senate districts.
He pronounced his name GARY, not JERRY.
So the word should be GARY-mander, not JERRY-mander.
We can always save the “J” sound for “gigabyte.”
Which should be JIG-uh-bite.
As long as we’re at it.

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What, Fox News worry?

Sean Hannity lightly dismissing reports of hardship for millions because of the Republican government shutdown:
“This doesn’t impact me mentally.”
As the search goes on for anything that ever has.

News Headline: “Fox News host says ‘sob stories’ from veterans will prompt Republicans to cave on the shutdown.”
And Fox News wants you to know it  has heard just about enough of this crybaby nonsense about our war veterans.
Especially the ones hanging around in wheelchairs.

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
Springdale High School in Pennsylvania turned away a girl on crutches because the crutches could be used as a weapon.

News Headline: “Yellowstone National Park registers 130 earthquakes in less than a week.”
Some might try to make something out of reports that earthquakes have increased by nearly 800 percent in two months at 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.
But not QT.

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A man fleeing police in Waterford, Mich., chose a paddle boat as his getaway vehicle.

B.D., a New York City reader, writes:
“I turned on the cable TV news after word of shots being fired on Capitol Hill. The news reader was saying her early reports might be based on ‘information that does not stand the test time.’ So why was she reporting it?”
Wait a minute.
You’re not one of those people who are always demanding that their news be accurate as well as hysterical, are you?

News Headline: “Is Voyager 1 inside an interstellar flux transfer event?”
Didn’t you see this one coming?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ Jim Kehoe, a Sydney, Australia, reader, writes:
“Is ‘ert’ the opposite of ‘inert’?”
Only in the Southern Hemisphere.
+ J.C., a Tucson, Ariz., reader, is wondering meanwhile about mattress-inflation instructions that tell him to “press” and then “depress” a button.
In other news, House Speaker John Boehner–
No. Enough news about him.
Too inert and depressing.

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An open-and-shutdown case

News Headline: “Congressmen drinking while voting on government shutdown?”
Republicans are already on the hook for political hostage-taking, fraud, wanton disregard. . .
. . . and now conniving under the influence.
News Headline: “Sarah Palin won’t let ‘death panels’ die.”
But all this could go away with a plea of mental impairment.

News Headline: “Countdown to showdown: The Ted Cruz Show comes to a close.”
Witnesses said the suspect fled on foot.

News Headline: “Michele Bachmann excited about shutdown, likens subsidized health care to crack cocaine.”
In other news, Pope Francis continued to push the crystal meth of ending world hunger.

News Headline: “Government shutdown won’t shut down NSA spying.”
Or don’t you consider Big Brother essential personnel?

News Headline: “Sean Hannity’s shutdown advice for Republicans: ‘Hold the line.’ ”
Has it been 1,624 days since Sean Hannity promised he would undergo waterboarding to prove it isn’t torture?
Not that anyone is counting.

QT News Presented Without Comment:
Fox News site is referring to the shutdown as a “slimdown.”

News Headline: “George Clooney hopes shutdown ends soon.”
Experienced political analysts will wait to hear what Brad Pitt has to say.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
B.S., an Evanston, Ill., reader, regarding the “precipice” the U.S. government was on until it went over it,  writes:
“Are we now in a postcipice situation?”
Yes.
Which is what can happen whenever our politicians have a fit of peak.
A “scarp” is the same as an “escarpment,” by the way.
Looked it up in Cliff’s Notes.

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Or is it a bluff?

News Headline: “America ‘on precipice’ of government shutdown.”
K.R., a Baltimore reader, writes:
“Couldn’t we just be on the brink like ordinary people?”
We do sometimes put on airs.

News Headline: “Cruz’s filibuster strategy ‘the height of hypocrisy.’ ”
News Headline: “The GOP’s stunning hypocrisy.”
Or think of it this way:
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

QT NFL CXXV days to go until Super Bowl XLVII Update:
NFL players have suffered XXVII concussions as of the IIIrd week of the season.
Give or take I or II.

News Headline: “Miley Cyrus says Justin Bieber has the mentality of a 12-year-old.”
Your day may not be going well, but at least your maturity hasn’t been questioned by Miley Cyrus.

News Headline: “Glenn Beck on Obama U.N. address: ‘Blood shoots out of my eyes’ every time I hear him talk.”
Could a problem with our national conversation be that we keep listening to people whose eyes shoot blood?

Rush Limbaugh regarding fashion statements:
“For the longest time, I didn’t wear blue jeans. I didn’t wear T-shirts. I didn’t wear my hair long. I did not want to be associated with–”
Warning!
Do not try to visualize this.
Too late?
Sorry.

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Actelion has acquire Ceptaris.

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bill McCormick, a Chicago reader, regarding another reader’s mention that “ravel” and “unravel” can mean the same thing, which is not to mention the same thing about “loose” and “unloose,” writes:
“I am whelmed.”
QT is whelmed by anyone who knows that “whelmed” is the same as “overwhelmed.”
And a quick reminder that “inflammable” is more flammable that “flammable.”
As long as we’re at it.

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QT appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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The Somethingest Show on Earth

News Item: “. . . annual debt-ceiling circus. . . .”
News Item: “. . . high-wire fiscal strategy. . . .”
News Item: “. . . the president found himself juggling. . . .”
Are we having more fun than we thought?

News Headline: “Ted Cruz vows to speak against Obamacare until unable to stand.”
News Headline: “Cruz likens skeptics of defund-or-shutdown  plan to Nazi appeasers.”
Cruz also offered words on individualism from Ayn Rand, a recipient of Medicare.
But what’s a circus without a good clown act?

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A girl who accidentally brought two small antique knives to middle school in McDonough, Ga., immediately gave them to a teacher, after which she spent two days in juvenile detention and was then expelled under the school’s zero-tolerance weapons policy.

News Item: “. . . a generation where wristwatches have become obsolete with the use of cell phones. . . .”
QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
Note to all generations:
It isn’t correct to use either at a formal event.
And while we’re at it, wing collar with white tie, turn-down collar with black tie.
Now we can move along.

John Davis, a Chicago reader, writes:
“Isn’t it obvious that the ongoing story of the Russian man’s shooting another man with rubber bullets during an argument about Immanuel Kant in a grocery store is a clear example of shopping cartesian duelism?”
QT will let this pass.
All of us should pay more attention to the philosophers.
It never hurts to put Descartes before the hordes.

News Headline: “Burger King launches low-fat french fries.”
And shouldn’t anything that  healthful be super-sized?

News Headline (2011): “Dog steps on gun, shoots Utah hunter in buttocks.”
News Headline (2012): “Dog shoots man in French hunting accident.”
News Headline (2013): “Dog triggers shotgun, shoots hunter in Cass County.”
Once again, and think carefully:
How well do you know your dog?
How well, really?

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
From the recent novel Canada:
“He was a man unable not to believe that if things were going well and smoothly, they wouldn’t go well and smoothly forever.”
S.W., a Kendall, Wis., reader, writes:
“What?”
Or look at this way:
Even best-sellers sometimes fail to avoid not including sentences that readers  almost never aren’t unable to find their way out of.

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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. . . . . .

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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.”
Exactly.
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.

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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.

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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.

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