Wither Zay Smith and QT?

Faithful Sun-Times readers will remember Zay Smith's QT (Quick Takes) column as perhaps the best reading in the newspaper. Zay finds humor in the day's headlines, exposing foibles, blemishes, quirks, hypocrisy and just plain stupidity. The Los Angeles Times called Zay its favorite Chicago columnist since Mike Royko.

Zay is a solid reporter to start with, having worked with the highly respective investigative reporter Pam Zekman on the

Zay Smith

Zay Smith

highly acclaimed "Mirage" series. The paper bought a bar, appropriately named its the Mirage, and just sat back and waited for city inspectors and other creeps to show up to demand a share of the proceeds. Zay  worked as the bartender and led the writing that eventually turned into a book. It was a lay-down for a Pulitzer Prize, but politics intervened. (Yes, there are some cut-throat politics in journalism.)

Since he left the paper a few years ago, royal readers continued to read him in digital form on various sites. Other fans just lost track of him.

So, I'm glad to tell you that Zay is back. As good as ever.

He has established his own website, called, naturally enough, QT. And, naturally enough, the address is http://zaysmith.com.

Now if you're not familiar with Zay's work, it's time for you to get to know it. Check it out and get a taste of what it was like when newspapers were newspapers. To encourage you, I've swiped (I'm sure he won't mind) the opening items from his latest post.


Ah, nature


News Headline (2006): 
“Pelosi promises to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington.”
News Headline (2008): 
“McCain: We’ll ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington.”
News Headline (2013): “How Capitol Hill influence peddlers evade corruption laws.”
Lest we forget the swamp is a protected wetland.

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
A homeowners association in Boca Raton, Fla., has banned all playing by children on its common grounds, citing liability and safety concerns that arise when children play outdoors.

 News Headline: “Police arrest mall Easter Bunny on drug charges.”
Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way. . . .

News Headline: “Why isn’t anyone going to comedies?”
Because C-SPAN is free.

From Life Science, a creationist science textbook in widespread use:
“Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the Earth at the same time.”
Don’t doubt it.
All creationist scientific research is subject to peer review by both Fred and Wilma.

News Headline: “NASA slams spending cuts that put Earth at risk of undetected killer asteroids.”
Let’s not panic, shall we?
It has been more than two weeks since the last undetected asteroid passed between Earth and the moon.
And it was only the third one this month.

Here's more about Zay: Fire (for samples of QT while at the Sun-Times), his bio, Rob Feder's comments, Zay's Facebook page and praise from the Reader's Michael Miner

By the way, if you're thinking that I so highly respect Zay because his political views are the same as mine, you're way off base. Zay is non-partisan, happy to zap both Republicans and Democrats. The fact that he's mostly (but not all) liberal doesn't stop him from his appointed rounds.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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