Another thing that "literally" gets my goat: that use of "literally" to mean "not literally, but figuratively, and feeling strongly about it". It's become a more polite version of "... that f---ing gets my goat...."
In 2011 the Oxford English Dictionary started recognizing that sense in informal contexts; the mainstream press seems to have noticed only this month. I posted on that in Linguaphiles and Sesquipedalians.
Loren, this conductor is a genius at pulling people together in interesting and creative ways. He reminds me of the research on domestic violence. Conductors have the lowest domestic violence rates of all occupations measures. The researcher used incident rates for 10,000 by occupation. It seems conductors have control but violent means are not used. They find other ways to motivate people to a common cause.
Eric Whitacre is more than just a conductor; he's a composer who is bringing some genuine life into choral music. I've been listening to Eric's handiwork for over 10 years now, and his gift for creativity and engaging those who become involved in his music is something truly remarkable.
If you're interested in learning more about Eric, his music, and what he is about, please check out Eric Whitacre's website.
The punctuation help that curled my toes is in the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition.
To see if you're using a comma correctly, go to section 5-29 on page 165:
The comma, perhaps the most versatile.... There are a few rules....
The rules start with 5-30 on compound sentences and end with 5-83 on maxims, proverbs... (page 179), I count sixty four rules.
How else do we distinguish educated folk from the others?
We don't. I just use commas where they feel appropriate to me, and I don't give ratsass what anyone else thinks. But on the other hand, I rarely, if ever, misspell words, and I only use "bad" grammar when writing colloquially for stylistic reasons. And I'm capable of understanding what register is appropriate for which occasion. Wherefore most people DO know I'm educated, although they mostly think I'm "smart"!