In the waiting room

From the waiting room at the car repair place today: the March 20, 2006, New Yorker “Shouts and Murmurs” column, “Ideas for Paintings” by Jack Handey:

Stampede of Nudes

The trouble with most paintings of nudes is that there isn’t enough nudity. It’s usually just one woman lying there, and you’re looking around going, “Aren’t there any more nudes?” This idea solves that.

What has frightened these nudes? Is it the lightning in the background? Or did one of the nudes just spook? You don’t know, and this creates tension.

Read the whole article. 

Confidential to Pym Fan: Is a comma required after “2006” above? 


5 responses to this post.

  1. May I answer even if I’m not Pym fan? (although that reminds me that I want to put Barbara Pym on my fun summer reading list)

    Not only should there not be a comma after “2006,” there shouldn’t be a comma after “March.”


  2. You’re right about “March 2006.” The question would have made more sense if I’d said “March 20, 2006,” which is what I meant, what with the New Yorker being a weekly and all. What the heck, let me edit that now…but let the record show that I did write “March, 2006” and that indeed there would be no comma there.

    …Anyway, I don’t *think* there should be a comma after 2006, but my sense of this is getting slightly addled by frequently typing in emails to friends, “Stubb is spending the summer in Stubb City, State, working on…” I always want not to put the comma after State, but I do because I think it’s supposed to be there.

    Jeez, and they let me teach high school!


  3. Posted by Pym Fan on June 18, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Looks like everybody aced the quiz. Yes, “March 2006” has no commas, and yes, “March 20, 2006,” should have two (ditto for “Stubb City, State,” if it occurs in the middle of a sentence).

    Love that stampede of nudes.


  4. Posted by meansomething on June 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Really? I fixed it, and I see the logic of the paired commas, but (as my students say) it LOOKS wrong to me.

    Thanks, PF and WN?.


  5. Yep — a comma after the year. Think of the year (or the state, in your other example) as an appositive to the month and day.


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