Fumblerules of Grammar

Fumblerules of Grammar:

(Source: Maximum Awesome; Image: William Safire in 1968, courtesy of NYTimes.)
  1. Remember to never split an infinitive.

  2. A preposition is something never to end a sentence with.

  3. The passive voice should never be used.

  4. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.

  5. Don't use no double negatives.

  6. Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.

  7. Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.

  8. Do not put statements in the negative form.

  9. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

  10. No sentence fragments.

  11. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.

  12. Avoid commas, that are not necessary.

  13. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

  14. A writer must not shift your point of view.

  15. Eschew dialect, irregardless.

  16. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

  17. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!

  18. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.

  19. Hyphenate between sy-llables and avoid un-necessary hyphens.

  20. Write all adverbial forms correct.

  21. Don't use contractions in formal writing.

  22. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

  23. It is incumbent on us to avoid archaisms.

  24. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

  25. Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.

  26. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

  27. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

  28. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

  29. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

  30. If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.

  31. Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.

  32. Don't string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

  33. Always pick on the correct idiom.

  34. "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'"

  35. The adverb always follows the verb.

  36. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.

  37. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

  38. Employ the vernacular.

  39. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

  40. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

  41. Contractions aren't necessary.

  42. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

  43. One should never generalize.

  44. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

  45. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

  46. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

  47. Be more or less specific.

  48. Understatement is always best.

  49. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

  50. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

  51. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

  52. Who needs rhetorical questions?

  53. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

  54. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with a point

No, the power of reason. Kinda.

The Power Of Internet Protest:

In an infographic:


Alex Howard notes that all of the GOP candidates spoke against SOPA last night:

Santorum, Romney and Gingrich have publicly come out all against these bills. If asked last week, would they have given the same answers? I’ve been frustrated that so few questions about the Internet and technology have been asked. Clearly, the political calculus around supporting them has shifted. At least Ron Paul is consistent; he — and Rep Michele Bachmann — came out against SOPA weeks ago.

The Private Sector And Gay Equality

The Private Sector And Gay Equality:

The consensus view was that federal anti-discrimination laws were much more vital, and the top priority of the Human Rights Campaign. That was in 1988. Such a federal law remains out of reach more than two decades later, despite massive support from the general public. But without such a law, we've been able to test whether the free market logic of non-discrimination can work. Today, we hear this news:

For the first time ever, all 100 firms on Fortune's Best Companies To Work For list this year have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.

This is not because they are somehow being noble. It is because they are serving their shareholders by employing the absolutely best people for the jobs they have and do not want to miss someone's talents because of something irrelevant like sexual orientation.

Hence capitalism enables equality. And the last entity to get with the program is the government.


Chart Of The Day:


Via Mike Konczal, who captions:

The economy is terrible for all Americans right now and we desperately need action to both expand the economy and repeal attempts to contract it. But it is worth remembering that the unemployment misery all Americans are experiencing right now is equal to what it was like during the best two years of the 21st century for African Americans.



This ad popped up today in my Google Reader, and while I think Walker has had quite a few bad ideas, this sort of criticism is distasteful.

The biggest reason is this - Walker isn't the one "allowing" anything - the law came out of the WI legislature. Furthermore, businesses can ban whatever they want, and beyond that: if you want to carry a hidden gun into a bar, its not like Walker be around to stop you. Grumph.


Today I woke up at 3:30 AM, crossed a small mountain range, and flew (with a layover) back to Madison, where I took a taxi across town to my workplace, where I joined the other ~5k employees of my company in our monthly staff meeting. Walking into that large auditorium, it was almost like the previous hours hadn't happened, and I had passed straight from one community to another.

The three homes I have are different - one is heavy on family, another friends, and another my livelihood, but I don't mind occasional commutes like the one I enjoyed today if it allows me to spend time with those I care about.

This is all nonsensical prattle, I'm sure, but the upshot is that I'm happy to work here, but happier still to have loved ones in other places. Here's to seeing more of them.


I've had a great visit back at Williams - coming back is always going to be nice, especially as the projects I was involved in continue to progress. I've had a lot of coffee visits, some good chats, and a few long conversations, all with the right people who are in town.

However, I can't say I'm that happy to have come in with the 0 degree fahrenheit weather, though apparently Madison was also slammed. Alas.

Encounters with America's version of Royalty

When Michelle Obama Came to Lunch: In my dream scenario, entitled, “Michelle Obama Drops by for Lunch,” there are a few givens. I’m:

Impeccably dressed;
Well-versed in current events and prepared to deliver a handful of hilarious yet tasteful jokes on relevant topics; and
Ready to Dougie, if asked.

In reality, when Michelle came for lunch,

I hadn’t showered in two days;
I’d slept less than five hours each night for the previous three weeks, due to a recurring nightmare about burning risotto and disappearing pan handles;
I was in a carrot-spattered chef’s coat and oversized pants held up by a belt made of twisted Saran Wrap;
I hadn’t read a paper in weeks and felt comfortable conversing mainly about legumes; and
I’d spent the last week picking up heavy objects “properly,” according to a chiropractor, which required that I continually squat while sticking my butt out. As a result, I was unable to do a stiff-limbed waltz, let alone a shimmy.

Maybe true?

Iron Lady Falls to Anna Quindlen Doctrine: Virginia Postrel - Bloomberg: In the days of the old Hollywood Code, female characters were inevitably punished if they strayed from traditional sexual mores. Today, female characters (and many men as well) must suffer if they violate a different, unwritten code. This new code declares that one’s worth depends on personal relationships, not public actions, and that sacrificing family time for the sake of achievement is nothing but short-sighted selfishness. Hollywood enforces the Gospel According to Anna Quindlen.

What matters, then, is not the nature of Thatcher’s policies, or even the quality of her real-world family relations. It’s that she dared to forge her identity in public, through what she did rather than what people she cared about, and that she did it very well. For that unseemly daring, we must see her suffer.

NYTimes on Epic

Epic Systems, Digitizing Health Records Before It Was Cool - NYTimes.com: THE push to move the nation from paper to electronic health records is serious business. That’s why a first look at the campus of Epic Systems comes as something of a jolt.

A treehouse for meetings? A two-story spiral slide just for fun? What’s that big statue of the Cat in the Hat doing here?