General Principles

I make every effort to be accurate, and publish only verifiable fact (or qualified opinion) in nonfiction and news pieces. My fiction work, for obvious reasons, follows no such standard. Although I always attempt to avoid unnecessary offense, I afford much greater weight to accuracy and ontological truth than to political correctness. In cases where I must choose between offending somebody and misrepresenting reality, I will choose to offend.

Changes to news pieces and factual corrections to opinion pieces will be noted and credited when applicable. Grammar, style, and spelling corrections, as well as minor edits to improve clarity, will generally be made without notice. Sometimes, particularly during a major news event, a post may state that it is being updated as information becomes available. In these cases, edits will occur without note until the post is marked as final.

Style Rules

Effective June 2, 2012, Off on a Tangent is published according to the University of Chicago Press’s Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) with the following caveats and clarifications:

  • The Chicago style, like most American English style guides, requires the use of the serial or ‘Oxford’ comma (the comma before ‘and’ in a list). In contrast, the Associated Press style guide and most other news-oriented guides prohibit it. A verbal pause is present in the language, and the comma’s presence makes the intended meaning more clear. Off on a Tangent complies with the Chicago style (and common usage) and encourages the Associated Press and others to abandon their archaic and incorrect rules in this area.
  • Singular possessive nouns end with an apostrophe before a letter ‘s,’ even if the last letter in the noun is also an ‘s’—e.g., “James’s girlfriend.” This is the preferred usage and is accepted or required by most major style guides. It is recommended, but not required, in the Chicago style. Many of us were taught that possessive singular nouns that end in ‘s’ should end with an apostrophe and no second ‘s,’—e.g., “James’ girlfriend.” This is not incorrect, but it lacks clarity and does not reflect the way that the phrase is spoken aloud, so that form will not be used on Off on a Tangent.
  • Off on a Tangent extends the Chicago style guidelines relating to political party and district affiliation as described in the ‘Political Style and Coverage’ section below.
  • The Chicago style includes a number of guidelines regarding ‘gender-neutral language.’ I follow the majority of these guidelines as a matter of practice, but I will not shy away from using masculine pronouns in the generic sense for effect or when the ‘gender-neutral’ alternatives would detract from the natural flow of the content.

Most content on this site published before June 2, 2012, was published according to the Modern Language Association’s MLA Handbook (6th Edition), although some older content predating my standardization on that style was written in other styles, or in no formal style at all.

Political Style and Coverage

The Chicago style allows for appending a political party abbreviation and state abbreviation after the names of members of the United States Congress—for example, Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA). Off on a Tangent extends this style as described here:

  • Off on a Tangent will apply a version of this style to all elected officials at all levels of government, both foreign and domestic, rather than only to members of the United States Congress.
  • Off on a Tangent extends this style to include an elected official’s represented state, city, county, district, precinct, or ward, rather than only their state. For example, Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10th).
  • Political parties will be shown as follows:
  • States, cities, counties, districts, precincts, and wards will be shown as follows:
    • U.S. states and territories will be abbreviated with their two-character postal code as defined by the U.S. Postal Service.
    • Numbered legislative districts in the U.S. will be labeled, following the state abbreviation, as ordinal numerals.
    • The names of cities, counties, districts, precincts, and wards, as well as foreign states, will be spelled-out.

In news-style reporting of election results, candidates will be listed alphabetically by last name.

In political endorsements, candidates will be categorized as ‘major candidates’ (those expected to receive five percent or greater or the popular vote) and ‘minor candidates’ (those expected to receive less than five percent of the popular vote). Candidates will be evaluated in the following order:

  1. Any incumbent seeking reelection, regardless of major or minor status.
  2. Major candidates, alphabetized by last name.
  3. Minor candidates, alphabetized by last name.

Independence and Conflict of Interest

The views expressed on this web site are mine and mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer (Web.com), its management, or its staff, or those of my religious community (the Catholic Church), or those of any other associations or organizations with which I am associated.

I do not receive or accept any payment, goods, or services from any company, association, charity, political party, or political action committee in return for writing on this web site. I do not accept any paid content. Potential conflicts of interest will be noted whenever they arise.

Weights and Measures

Unless otherwise indicated, Off on a Tangent uses United States standard weights and measures as defined by U.S. law and by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Both the International System of Units (SI or metric system) and the U.S. Customary Unit System (imperial system) are acceptable, but the SI system is preferred for most purposes. Off on a Tangent will use SI units in most cases, except when referring to aircraft altitude (feet), air or sea distance and speed (nautical miles and knots), U.S. highway distance and speed (miles and miles-per-hour), and temperature (degrees Fahrenheit).

Off on a Tangent measures time according to NIST standards for the Eastern Time Zone (ET; UTC-5), including daylight saving time (UTC-4) from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

Privacy Policy

Anything you post or submit here on Off on a Tangent isn’t private. If you want something to stay private, don’t put it on the Internet.

Advertising Policy

Off on a Tangent is funded, in part, by advertising revenue from services including Google AdSense. Advertisers contract directly with third-party advertising services, not with Off on a Tangent. Advertisers exert no editorial control whatsoever over the content on this site, except, of course, within the ads themselves.

Off on a Tangent voluntarily opts-out from publishing political, sexual, and religious advertising. If you see any ads that fall into these categories, please send the ad URL’s to me via the contact form and I will report them to my advertising providers.

Recognized Holidays

Off on a Tangent commemorates various religious, civil, and cultural holidays with special images and statements. This includes Roman Catholic principle liturgical celebrations and holy days of obligation as recognized in the Diocese of Arlington, U.S. federal holidays, Commonwealth of Virginia holidays, and others. When holidays conflict with one another, religious holidays take precedence over personal holidays, and personal holidays take precedence over civil and federal holidays. This is the complete list of holidays being recognized this year:

Religious Holidays

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God – Recognized on 01/01Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God'

Celebrating Mary, mother of Jesus Christ and, therefore, mother of God. – More information…

Prayer for Legal Protection of the Unborn – Recognized on 01/23Prayer for Legal Protection of the Unborn'

Celebrating the dignity of every person, from conception to natural death. – More information…

Ash Wednesday – Recognized on 03/01Ash Wednesday'

The beginning the forty-day penitential & prayerful season of Lent. – More information…

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – Recognized on 04/09Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord'

Remembering Christ’s entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week. – More information…

Holy Thursday – Recognized on 04/13Holy Thursday'

Remembering Jesus’s last supper and the institution of the Holy Eucharist. – More information…

Good Friday – Recognized on 04/14Good Friday'

Remembering Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross in remittance of our sins. – More information…

Resurrection of the Lord – Recognized on 04/16Resurrection of the Lord'

Celebrating Christ’s resurrection and triumph over death and sin. He is risen, alleluia! – More information…

Ascension of the Lord – Recognized on 05/28Ascension of the Lord'

Celebrating Jesus Christ’s ascent, body and soul, to the Father’s side in heaven. – More information…

Pentecost Sunday – Recognized on 06/04Pentecost Sunday'

Commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit; the birth day of the Christian Church. – More information…

Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Recognized on 06/18Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ'

Celebrating the most holy body and blood of Jesus Christ. – More information…

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr – Recognized on 08/14St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr'

Remembering the life of my patron, a martyr who volunteered his life for another. – More information…

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Recognized on 08/15Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary'

Celebrating Mary’s assumption, body and soul, into heaven by the power of God. – More information…

All Saints – Recognized on 11/01All Saints'

Honoring all saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us into glory. – More information…

First Sunday of Advent – Recognized on 12/03First Sunday of Advent'

Beginning a season of penance and prayer in preparation for the coming of Christ. – More information…

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Recognized on 12/08Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary'

Celebrating Mary’s preservation, by God’s power, from the stain of original sin. – More information…

Nativity of the Lord – Recognized on 12/25Nativity of the Lord'

Celebrating the humble birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, in Bethlehem. – More information…

Personal Holidays

Our Anniversary – Recognized on 05/28Our Anniversary'

Melissa and I were married May 28, 2005. We still like each other. Happy anniversary to us! – More information…

My Birthday – Recognized on 10/28My Birthday'

Today is the anniversary of my birth. Twenty Internet points for guessing my age! – More information…

Cultural Holidays

Chinese New Year – Recognized on 01/27 and 01/28Chinese New Year'

Celebrating the new Chinese zodiac year. Happy Year of the Rooster! – More information…

Flag Day – Recognized on 06/14Flag Day'

Celebrating the American Flag as a timeless symbol of our liberty and freedom. – More information…

Patriot Day – Recognized on 09/11Patriot Day'

Remembering the Sep. 11, 2001, attacks and victims of Islamist violence. – More information…

Election Day – Recognized on 11/07Election Day'

Get out there and vote (if you are eligible). Let your voice be heard. – More information…

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – Recognized on 12/07Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day'

Remembering the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. – More information…

Official Government Holidays

Lee-Jackson Day – Recognized on 01/13Lee-Jackson Day'

Honoring distinguished generals, Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. – More information…

Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Recognized on 01/16Martin Luther King Jr. Day'

Celebrating the legacy of Rev. Dr. King and the ideal of racial equality. – More information…

George Washington Day – Recognized on 02/20George Washington Day'

Celebrating George Washington, first U.S. President, and all presidents. – More information…

Memorial Day – Recognized on 05/29Memorial Day'

Remembering the men and women who have died to protect our freedom. – More information…

Independence Day – Recognized on 07/04Independence Day'

Celebrating U.S. independence from England, as declared July 4, 1776. – More information…

Labor Day – Recognized on 09/04Labor Day'

Celebrating the important contributions of the American worker. – More information…

Columbus Day – Recognized on 10/09Columbus Day'

Remembering the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. – More information…

Veterans Day – Recognized on 11/10 and 11/11Veterans Day'

Honoring military veterans and thanking them for their sacrifice. – More information…

Thanksgiving – Recognized on 11/23Thanksgiving'

Giving thanks to God for our family, friends, health, possessions, etc. – More information…

New Year's – Recognized on 12/31 and 01/01New Year's'

Celebrating the changing of the calendar year. May God bless you and keep you! – More information…

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.