In 1999, I acquired Les Poseuses by Georges Seurat. I feel lucky to own a museum-quality masterpiece; I discovered Tomorrow, the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein in the basement as a boy -- it used to belong to my father. It's one of the many books that fueled my curiosity about the future of technology; a DEC tape containing the program files created by me and Bill Gates in Boston in 1975 while writing the BASIC code for the MITS Altair 8800. It was sent to Albuquerque, where we founded Microsoft; this Etruscan head was the first antiquity I've ever bought. People often don't realize that many early sculptures, like this one, were painted. The 2,500-year-old piece depicts a man with red hair; my biggest musical inspiration, Jimi Hendrix, used this Fender Stratocaster to play his iconic rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock. ...Yes, the clauses on the same topic are separated with periods, while the unrelated clauses are connected by semicolons -- the opposite of the usual practice. Maybe you don't find this disconcerting, but as one brought up on the standard semicolon -- the one that joins related clauses -- I was reeling. Once I caught on, I could see the potential: There's a certain weird poetry to "The 2,500-year-old piece depicts a man with red hair; my biggest musical inspiration, Jimi Hendrix, used this Fender Stratocaster." But is weird poetry what you use semicolons for?
Since the WSJ is generally a well-edited paper, I’m guessing this is Paul Allen’s own tic. And I can see his editor thinking, what the hell, it’s only 200 words, why annoy him? (I sometimes wish I’d said that to myself, as an editor, more often.) But those semicolons make it 200 words of extremely odd prose.
*It's STILL LIFE on the web version, but in print it's STILL/LIFE; I don't know how you'd parse that, but I'm sure someone thought it looked classy.