Archive for October, 2009


Posted: October 30, 2009 in Uncategorized
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You know the shine that happens after you’ve used a computer keyboard for a year or so?  My key between the ‘l’ and the ‘ ‘/” ‘ keys doesn’t have that shine.  And there’s little hope to change that.  The Guardian article on semicolons may be one of the most entertaining and enlightening pieces about the death of the the little piece of punctuation that is both a period and a comma but neither a period or a comma.  But I think there’s another reason for the shift in punctuation.

How did the semicolon survive the age of the telegraph but hasn’t made it through the age of email and text messaging?  What’s changed?  Somewhere along the line the semicolon fell out of fashion.  Yes, it’s dangerous to assume anyone knows how and where to use a semicolon (especially for those of us that don’t carry around our Chicago Manual of Style in a hemp messenger bag) and it might be even more pretentious to use a semicolon and expect the same person to understand how to read it.  But the biggest challenge in the 21st century is to appear both lavish and earth at the same time without ever simply splitting the difference and this is where the semicolon lost it’s place.

It’s important to dress successfully, but never at the expense of comfort or utility (JCrew figured this out two decades ago) and although your chinos may have cost $200 you don’t want to make your co-worker in $40 Dockers feel bad, so you always opt for the worn chino style.  However, you must also wear a $400 Gore-Tex jacket when it’s barely drizzling outside to demonstrate that you really could go climb K2 this summer because you are that hip, that in touch and that real.  You must have read at least 3 Jane Austen novels, but you would never so display your literary streak as to publicly humiliate someone who has read only one Austen novel.  You should also know enough about Harry Potter to know his middle name (it’s James), but your Harry Potter fetish can’t be so extreme that you know exactly when the next movie is being released.  You must always be two things.

This balancing of appearances between the upper class and the bourgeois killed the semicolon.  A semicolon is too serious for casual writing and it’s not clear and direct enough for business proposals.  Using a semicolon nowadays would be a bit like combining your $500 distressed jeans with loafers (a criminal offense in Milan).  The real choice is between the simple environmentally friendly flip-flops (a comma), or the definitive designer boots (a period).  The challenge is to be both upper class and bourgeois and splitting the difference is being neither.  So we are left with a terribly out of fashion semicolon in a world of commas and periods; however, emoticons are still hip, so that computer key isn’t going anywhere yet.


It’s the Pinstripes

Posted: October 23, 2009 in Sports
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Its the Pinstripes

It's the Pinstripes

My love for baseball has always made me pull for whatever team was beating Yankees. Until this year.

The Yankees payroll equals the payrolls of the Marlins, Twins, Padres and the Rays combined (3 of those teams finished over .500 and the Twins won their division). Somewhere in that equation you have to wonder about payroll caps. But this year the pinstripes mesmerize me. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio may not play use the Bronx as a homerun launch pad anymore, but the cumulative greatness of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter will be comparable to, if not greater than any 3 players in Cooperstown. How old is Mariano Rivera and how many more superhuman Octobers can he pitch?

In the last few years, lesser teams have proven that a payroll equal to the GDP of Micronesia doesn’t equal World Series titles, but it does equal some sort of greatness.  I guess the change this year is the Yankees are playing like a team and not just like the divas that they normally are.  A-Rod is smiling, they are high-fiving and even hitting sac flies on purpose.  Derek Jeter looks like he’s having as much fun as a 12 year old in Little League, Sabathia is making jokes before games  and A-Rod is finally swinging the bat in the post-season and he looks pretty happy about it.  They’re enjoying baseball without acting like some of the greatest players every to play the game.  And pinstripes always have been a powerful fashion statement.