Dec 19th – Venom poured from his eyes, poisoned tears

December 19th – Venom poured from his eyes, poisoned tears


It’s the comma that gets me.

Or maybe it’s me, and I don’t get it.

I know I’m guilty of overusing the comma. I’m a big fan of the Oxford Comma (or the Harvard Comma, because serial comma elitism is trans-Atlantic). I like a good comma before an ‘and’, and who doesn’t? For me, it just feels right, and that’s what it’s all about. Many people feel differently, and good luck to them. Just don’t come crying to me when you have to sort this one out:

They invited the strippers, Boris Johnson and Theresa May.

Boris Johnson and Theresa May are the strippers? Jesus. Who invited them, and where in the name of all that’s holy did they find that particular adult entertainment agency?

They invited the strippers, Boris Johnson, and Theresa May.

Now, that’s better. Grammatically. As an invite it’s not much better, but at least you’ve got some distraction, in the form of the strippers, from the poisoned twosome of Johnson and May. And it’s that little serial comma there, before the and, that gives us just a little relief. And the strippers might be entertaining, too.

This piece isn’t about strippers. It’s about commas.

Venom poured from his eyes, poisoned tears.

Now, this is not meant in any way to be critical of ‘M’, the James Bond supremo who so kindly puts up stuff for us to write about. If it’s critical of anyone, it’s critical of me. I’m the one with the problem.

I just don’t know what to do with that comma. Is there a verb missing, or some extra information?

Venom poured from his eyes, poisoned tears are very good at cleaning hotplates.

Is it headlinese, as is used in the US, where commas jump in where conjunctions fear to tread?

For McCain, Bush Has Both Praise, Advice

The above example, although not particularly contemporary, is particularly hideous.

I just don’t know.

But, like I said, I think the problem is mine. I think that’s why I just spent 10 minutes wittering on about commas, when I could have been having fun with some snake-eyed siren.

(That sounds better than what I actually meant. Although I have just had my appendix out. Snake-eyed sirens can keep away.)

Normal service will hopefully be resumed tomorrow.


Inspired by a prompt from here.

He Drank the Last Drop, then Plummeted Into the Sea – Dead Deer

The old fashioned way. Why wait? What’s to do? Just get on with it. So many options, if only some clarity could come to the mind, then a plan might form. At this instance even the concept of a plan was out of reach.

Rain. Stop somewhere, shelter. Go for a beer. The first beer hits the back of the throat as a warm nugget of gold drops into your palm. Heavy, delightful and full of promise.

The fourth beer; by now they are slipping down without registering. One after another, count is lost. Out and the rain has cleared. Pick up half a bottle of whisky and head to the station. Train. An old seaside town and the memories flow as easily as the Scotch, both stinging on their way down.

Hurl the empty bottle into the sea. The splash unheard on the shore. A second, full-size, bottle is purchased. Stumbling and staggering up the old path to the cliffs. Oh well, old heart, have faith. A long draught of the good stuff, and certainty is reached. Soon this bottle is more air than liquid. The cliff edge beckons. Deeply drinking down the last drop. A small step forward. A rush. A cold hard shock.

He exchanged emptiness for emptiness; his vehicle for the journey was the emptiness of those bottles.

Today I wrote from 09:45 to 09:55. I was prompted by ideas here. My other writings here. All my prompted writing here, and my tweets here