Where have all the commas gone? “Calling all cars! Calling all cars! Be on the lookout for escaped commas. Last seen after years that follow dates, and after state names that follow cities. Can be recognized by their downward curves. Please recapture and replace immediately. Reward is clarity of meaning.” If anyone has an explanation for this phenomenon, please forward it. And if you recognize yourself, please turn yourself in, and reward your readers. — Columbia Journalism Review

If we’re in the midst of a financial collapse, why aren’t executives jumping out of office buildings? The Daily Mail wondered what we can learn from events in 1929 to help us “avoid a 21st Century Great Depression.” If things are really as bad as that, how come we aren’t hearing about executives jumping out of windows? Because the current situation hasn’t had nearly as devastating an effect on people’s personal finances. — Slate

How will the credit crunch affect music? In recent times, it would appear that the poorer the state of the economy, the better the state of music. So does that mean we have much to look forward to right now? Will some mutant, ecological strain of acid folk frazzle a burnt out nation’s consciousness? — The Guardian

The Big Rewind. Here we are eight years into a new century, high time to start looking back at the last century and asking what the hell that was about. Critic Alex Ross, in his best-selling book The Rest Is Noise, takes a long, hard squint at musical Modernism in its context, by way of what he calls “the 20th century heard through its music.” If Ross doesn’t come up with a lot of answers, he gives us a comprehensive survey and an outstanding read—and, in the process, suggests a new and commonsensical approach to a vertiginous subject. — Slate

Peter Fray

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