Christian Ross

The Oxford Comma

Like you, I’ve been contemplating the use of Oxford commas quite a bit recently.

Some of it is due to my 2011 summer obsession of Vampire Weekend and their homage to it (NSFW: language) and some of it has just been due to how I feel when I actually write something out.

For those who aren’t hip to the comma-scene these days, the Oxford comma – aka the Serial comma – is that tricky little guy that comes last in your list just before the AND or the OR in a sentence.

The AP Stylebook treats the Oxford comma as you would a hideous beast and vows to never allow it to see the light of day. Think “Sloth” Fratelli, the monster from Goonies. Alternatively, the Chicago Manual of Style preaches it from the mountain top as if it were a double rainbow.

I remember being taught as a kid that the last comma in a list wasn’t necessary except for when it was — clear as mud. So for the most part of my life I have subscribed to the fact that I don’t really need it which would make me an AP-man for my beliefs. Recently however, the non-implementation of the Oxford comma has started to bother me more and more and I think I am ready to switch it up for a while.

I suppose the best way to explain my flip-flopping is by example, read this bad boy and make sense of it:

My breakfast of choice consists of milk, bacon and eggs and hash browns.

If we break it down, my list could either be read as:
1. milk
2. bacon
3. eggs and hash browns

or:
1. milk
2. bacon and eggs
3. hash browns

I’d prefer to take the uncertainty out of it and I believe that single little character might just do the trick.

My breakfast of choice consists of milk, bacon and eggs, and hash browns.

I realize that I could also reorder my list but what if I eat my foods in a certain order? Then I would just be a liar.

Oxford comma, friend or foe? Comment here or take it to the streets.

Social Media – A Vested Interest

The timing of Ben’s thoughts and Chris’ response have me wondering how many others are dealing with a similar issue of how to control – and express publicly – their social media consumption. I have been contemplating both my usage and the perception of my usage in this arena for some time now.

Where I Network

I make no bones about not being on Facebook. I’ve spouted a number of reasons over the years but most of it boils down to about three things:

  1. 1. I don’t trust them – the shady nature of their data-practices is too hard for me to overlook.
  2. 2. I don’t dig the forced, two-way communication it is formed around.
  3. 3. If we didn’t get along in high school, what makes you think we should buddy up at this point in life?

I’ve heard everything from “you just don’t get it,” to “you’re failing your clients by not being a part of it,” and a few other things in between. None of which I’ve bought into yet.

The concept I understand, and the draw of connecting with others, I empathize, but they’ve hardly done enough to get me to open up my personal digital-trail for the long haul. (You do realize once you’ve signed up you can’t ever actually delete your profile/info, right? It’s in the Terms of Service you didn’t read.) (more…)

Read & Trust Newsletter

I’ve mentioned the Read & Trust Newsletter before but hopefully a little reminder doesn’t hurt since my first contribution hit email inboxes this morning.

My thoughts are on Creativity, and while I struggled to pull them all together, I feel like they turned into a least a coherent stream that makes a bit of sense. If nothing else, it’s 1600 words that can help you pass the time while using the facilities.

Once again, if you’re a fan of high-quality, long-form reading, I encourage you to sign up for our weekly articles. Five bucks a month gets you exclusive material from some great writers – present company excluded – and actually provides you a way to give a little back to those you enjoy reading work from. Win-Win-Win.

Writing Assignment: Tell a Lie

I was recently introduced to the blog of Randy Murray by dot-comrade Aaron Mahnke. From what I’ve picked up, Randy has come to the freelance writing game after years in the corporate race. As one who schemes often on how to better my writing as well as promote my writing services more freely, being introduced to First Today, Then Tomorrow has been a nice treat.

On Fridays, Randy throws up a little writing assignment for his readers. I’ve only done one (and yes, it’s two weeks behind) but it was a fun little task. Last night as I lay in bed, I pecked away at my iPad to see if I could handle the assignment. The assignment was to “write a complete fabrication of your educational background,” and turned out to be a bit more tricky than I originally anticipated.

Feel free to read my short entry below, check out the other entries or even take a moment to write one of your own in the comments section here (or at Randy’s) – it’s actually kind of cathartic.

It’s a common thought that being the youngest comes with many perks. Freedom from many of the rules your siblings might have been held accountable too, ease of access into certain groups due to previous admission of said siblings and even the opportunity to garner the most family attention as they all know you are the last in the lineage. This however, in my opinion, is an oft-abused misconception. As the youngest of four I would offer that life isn’t exactly handed to you on a silver platter for just bringing up the rear. Especially when the three oldest are successful in each of their respective fields.

I can’t pinpoint exactly whether it was the lack of adherence on my parents’ part to their own ruleset or the extremely high standards set before me that aided me in my journey to my current residential status. If I were on the outside today, I would be in my second year of law school and on my way to prosecuting idiots like myself but instead I spend my days polishing my skills through outdated textbooks just to have a chance to defend my actions in a court of law. Shame on me.

While it won’t be as quickly as my parents’ had hoped, I’ll get it right one of these days.

If you’re not into telling lies, maybe today’s assignment of Writing a Classified Ad is more up you’re alley.