Gnawing or biting?

I was a biter. I told you all about it in my blog post: “I Was a Biter” almost two years ago. Over the weekend I got to hang out with my almost 3 month old niece, Charlie. In the two days I got to spend with her, she liked to gnaw on my finger. She does not have teeth, so it was more a gummy gnaw. How could I resist the drooling, gnawing cuddle muffin?

My niece has the nickname of Charlie, and since I was a biter, we were talking this weekend about whether Charlie will be a biter. My sister then brought up this video from 2007, and we laughed, and yes we had tears in or eyes, because quite frankly, Charlie in the video has this sort of snarky laugh that we can all relate to. I had forgotten about this video but love it. If you have not seen it, it is of two English boys, Charlie and his brother, Harry. Well, I can relate to Charlie. I was the youngest of three and whenever I could get just a second ahead of my sister or brother I felt like I had caught up, only to then have to run fast again to catch up again. Somehow when I struggled with communicating, and when I got frustrated I would resort to biting.

This video, per Wikipedia: “As of March 24, 2014 it has had 682,138,599 views and remains the most viewed YouTube video that is not a professional music video.” I have added to the views since March, as it is now at: 707,959,985. Crazy. Go Charlie, keep holding your own. Bite away.

Serial Comma User

Are you a serial comma user? I am. Do you know what it means to be a serial comma user? I did a bit of research to figure out whether there was a right or wrong way (or a right side and a wrong side) of the serial comma discussion. There are two camps. The one that says you should use the comma and the one that says it is not necessary, but no clear direction either way. A few months ago I finished reading the book: “How to Not Write Bad” by Ben Yagoda. This is what he says about commas:

“In a series of three or more items, do you put a comma after the penultimate one (right before the and or or)? That’s another trick question. If you are writing for the Associated Press, the answer is no. If you are writing for the New Yorker or the Oxford University Press, the answer is yes. (The OUP is so well known for this protocol that it has come to be referred to as ‘the Oxford comma.’) If you’re writing for yourself, the key thing–as in style choices generally–is consistency: choose a style you like, and stick with it.” page 51

I prefer to add the extra comma for clarity sake, but some have been trained from earlier on in school or their career to handle the serial comma a specific way. It messes with me a bit because I feel that there should be a clear rule on serial comma usage. I know you may think, seriously, Tami is this what you think about? But when thinking about business or corporate communications one wants to follow a standard, but if there is no standard…what is one to do?

Here are a few different takes on serial comma usage. Wikipedia and then an article from NPR. I agree with Yagoda, that when writing for yourself to choose consistency, but I think it really should be the same at work, regardless of if you work for the Oxford University Press, or the Oregonian. Why am I for the comma before the and/or? I feel like when you are listing it, if there is no comma where there should be one that it groups the words together. I will give you and example from “Grammar Girl:”

“Here’s a sentence that could mean different things with and without the final comma: Rebecca was proud of her new muffin recipes: blueberry, peanut butter and chocolate chip and coconut. Without a serial comma, you can’t be sure whether the last recipe is a combination of peanut butter and chocolate chip or a combination of chocolate chip and coconut.”

It is the little things, but sometimes the little things build up over time. Right? What do you think?

Sadness, shock, and absolute love for Beantown

Flabbergasted. Shocked. Saddened. I lived in Boston for a few years. I worked just 2 blocks away from the Boston Marathon Finish Line. I watched the race numerous times very close to the Finish Line.

I know there is a lot of media surrounding the events, and that some individuals might say that at the moment only 3 people have died, but one is an eight year old child. Maybe this specific incident affects me because Boston is in my heart, and what is strange is that there was a shooting in a local mall a few months ago, that was in my backyard, and yet this Boston bombing is tougher for me to digest.

Iconic. That is why I am impacted. The Boston Marathon has been around since 1897. Wikipedia stated: “The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event.” It is an event that happens each year on Patriot’s Day. For those of you that are not from Boston and do not know about Patriot’s Day, it is holiday that commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War. Most of the state shuts down. When I lived in Boston, it was a welcome holiday in the middle of spring, but also it was great because we had an excuse to be out of work and watch the Boston Marathon right in our back yard.

Why does this bombing bother me so much? Fear. These types of events that leave people more fearful is just what the individual(s) want us to feel. I am saddened that the next time a runner prepares for a race they will think: is it safe? I am saddened that next year’s Boston Marathon will be different. I am not sure how they would ever be able to secure the area to make it safe for future races (too many entry points along the Marathon course). Will that mean less will attend? Less will run?

Lastly be sure to read this Washington Post article titled: “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon” by Ezra Klein who starts the article with how his wife has been training for a marathon. He starts out and says:

“There’s no reason for her to do it. There’s no competition or payoff or award. It’s just a quiet, solitary triumph over the idea that she couldn’t do it, and it all happens before I even wake up.

He ends his article with this:

“This won’t be the last time we gather at the finish line to marvel how much more we can take than anyone ever thought possible.”

After running my first half marathon on Sunday, I do know that at the heart of this runners will come together. Regardless of the way the media sensationalizes what happens, Americans will stand strong and our hearts go out to each and everyone impacted yesterday.