Tasty Serial Commas

I am a huge fan of the serial (also known as Oxford) comma. I’m also a huge fan of puns. When I hear of a serial murderer, for example, I wonder why anyone would want to kill cereal? (Ha ha!) Or serial dramas – how boring to watch a TV show about cereal! (Ha ha ha!)

OK, OK, I never said I didn’t have a dorky sense of humor.

But imagine my glee when I discovered that other people make jokes about cereal commas, too! I’m not the only serial weirdo! And check this out – you can buy pastry cutters in the shape of (backwards) commas! But wait, there’s more – you can stuff them with Rice Krispies and make cereal commas! For real!

How awesome is that?! Tell me if you are as excited as I am. Someday I’ll make these and will post a photo.

Rant: Work Hard, Play Hard

I wish everyone would stop saying “work hard, play hard.”  I’ve seen it a million times in job postings and Internet dating profiles. What does it really mean?

If I see “work hard, play hard” in a job posting, I think, great, they’re going to make me work 12 hours a day and then at the end of the day we’ll all go out and get shit-faced. Or maybe they’ll make me work 60 hours a week and then will expect us all to partake in extreme sports on the weekend. If the company is trying to say they have high work expectations but then respect the employees’ time off, why not just say so? After all, how many applicants will be excited about the prospect of giving their valuable “play” time to the company? I don’t know about you, but I’m fine with working hard – but I also want my “play” time to be my own.

And what the heck does “work hard, play hard” mean in a dating profile? Will I never see the guy because he’s working late every night and partying hard with his friends on the weekends? Or is the phrase supposed to be cool? How? Is it supposed to make me think he has brains, beauty and popularity, all in one package? Well, the brains part isn’t believable if he has to resort to clichés like this.

The solution is simple: stop saying “work hard, play hard” and just say what you really mean. And for that matter, be a good friend and don’t let your friends say it, either.

Lose vs. Loose

I see loose being used so often in place of lose, and sometimes vice-versa. “He’s a looser” – ouch! That hurts my eyes.  Here’s how you can remember when to use which.

It’s all about visualizing the letter “o.”

Loose rhymes with moose and goose. It is an adjective which can also be formed into looser and loosest. There’s also an adverb form, loosely. Think of the letter “o” as being fabric. If you have double fabric, your pants will be bigger. They will be loose, and you’ll have plenty of room for both legs.

Lose rhymes with ooze and shoes. It is a verb, with past tense, lost. The noun form is loser. Think of fabric again. If an “o” goes missing, you have less fabric, and the pants will be tighter. If you lose fabric, maybe you’ll only have room for one leg.

OO = two legs = loose. O = one leg = lose.

Can you guess which words are correct in the sentences below?

  1. The (lose/loose) goose ate chocolate mousse.
  2. Beck sang, “I’m a (loser/looser) baby, so why don’t you kill me?”
  3. If the Giants (lose/loose) this game, they won’t go to the World Series.
  4. Although these shirts are (lose/loose), the ruffled one is (loser/loosest).
  5. When I (lose/loose) weight, my skirt will fit (loser/loosely).
  6. The prisoner got (lose/loose) but was a sore (loser/looser) when he got caught.

My Favorite Poem (A Waterbird)

This is my favorite poem. It’s attributed to Lady Murasaki Shikibu, who wrote The Tale of Genji and is said to be the world’s first female novelist. Someday I’m going to get it tattooed on my back in Japanese calligraphy.

A waterbird
Seems as the water’s top
Seen from afar
I, too, drift along
On my way through the world.


Murasaki Shikibu
紫 式部

 What’s your favorite poem?