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I’ve started a newsletter at Substack, and I expect most of my writing to appear there. So do head on over to The India Uncut Newsletter and follow me there. It’s free!

My other writings will continue to be archived here. But I don’t think I’ll have time to write much elsewhere apart from the newsletter, where I intend to be prolific.

My other active projects:

My podcast, The Seen and the Unseen.

My writing course, The Art of Clear Writing.

Slash the Comma

Via Peter Griffin, I came across this interesting article on punctuation, and I take my hat off to Google Adwords. The article dealt, among other things, with unnecessary commas, and the ad just besides it, served up by Google, was a Make My Trip ad that advertised fares on three sectors as being Rs. ‘1,983’, ‘1,705’ and ‘3,271’ respectively. (Here’s a screenshot.) One can argue about serial commas endlessly, but there seems no question that these commas are truly unnecessary—and ugly. Do these aesthetic considerations matter to you as well?

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Aside: After I wrote My Friend Sancho, my editor and I spent an hour in argument about whether we need a comma when a character says “Yes sir.” I felt it would be an ugly intrusion and served no functional purpose; she felt it was required. I eventually gave in, saving my energy for bigger battles that never came. (She’s an extraordinarily good editor, and I mostly agreed with her.) But we laugh about that argument today, over such a trivial thing. I mean, what’s the big deal about a comma, right?

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We will not discuss Thurber and Ross here.

Isildur1’s First Two Million

The quote of the week comes from the man revealed to be the mysterious Isildur1, Viktor Blom, describing how he got into online poker:

I deposited $2,000 and within three weeks I had two million.

Ah, well, that’s the dream there, neatly encapsulated, isn’t it? It’s quite believable, actually, though there is no way Blom could have turned 2k into 2 million in that time if he practised disciplined bankroll management, so it’s quite clear that he played above the limits he should have, and got struck by the lucky side of variance. He’s experienced swings both ways since, but if the variance had worked against him at the start, who’s to say if Isildur1 would even exist?

That said, he’s obviously bloody good. And he’s just 20. Scary…

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In other poker news, here’s a charming post by one of my favourite players, Daniel Negreanu, on how he missed most of his 2010 poker goals.

His first goal for 2011 was get back on the all-time money-leader list, and he’s already achieved that with his second-place finish in the PCA Super High Roller tourney. Studness.