Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Today's Term: Paper-based Computing

I want one of these!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Is There a Violinist in the Gay Church's Bathroom or Not?

Over at the Chicago Tribune, Nathan Bierma's writing this week about the controversial serial comma. You know, that last comma in a phrase like "red, white, and blue." A lot of newspaper style guides these days order that it be yanked from reporters' copy, so you get things like: "At the store we bought Eggos, syrup, butter and deodorant."

Where did newspaper editors get the idea that this rule makes any sense? I hate this notion. Hate it, hate it, hate it. The serial comma should be used consistently, because grammar is, after all, supposed to help you express yourself clearly -- not undermine your meaning.

If you're not consistent about using the serial comma, then you wind up with goofs like the pious author who dedicated his book to "My parents, the Pope and Mother Teresa." Ooopsie!

An article in this week's Time magazine made me do a similar doubletake just now. It notes that Dallas, Texas is fast becoming quite the gay-friendly city (yes, that Dallas, Texas):
Both the Dallas sheriff and the county judge--an Old West title meaning chairman of the county commissioners--are openly gay. The district clerk is gay too, and Dallas is home to what is said to be the largest gay church in the world, the Cathedral of Hope, which has 3,500 members, a full choir, a violinist and long-stemmed roses in the bathroom.
Now tell me, are parishoners serenaded or not when they pee? How do we know for sure? If we all used the serial comma consistently, there'd be no doubt. Feh.

Update: Note that in the comments section below, a staffer assures that the Cathedral of Hope most certainly does not have a fiddler on the loo.

Do We Need a Pomma Point?

Seems a Canadian has come up with a new punctuation symbol that would enable the writer to express "mild surprise." Eh?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Doing Your Bidding

Lots of cool things in the new KPBS Online Auction. If you love travel, check out the trips to Peru and China. If you're a fan of women's tennis, check out the amazing VIP package at the Acura Classic Tennis Tournament this summer.

There's much more, and of course, it's all for a good cause -- supporting high-quality public radio -- so check it out before bidding closes a few days from now!

Btw, they're adding more auction items to the site each day, and I'm told that any day now, yours truly will be added to the list of KPBS "Personality Experiences." Whatever that means. So surely you'll want to keep checking back in, right?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I Am SO Thinking of Declaring This!

Email bankruptcy! Now, why didn't I think of that?