I have learned that if Gail says it, it must be true.
So when I trip over something she says, I worry that I am misunderstanding something. She said:
"It's not recommended to do joins in the where clause any more. Especially since, in 2005 and higher, the old style outer join (*=) does not work."
The original query used the form FROM tableA,tableB, which yields a cartesian product which gets pruned by the subsequent WHERE clause. (No debate on depreciating the old style outer join notation, and in the case under discussion, as you suggested, an INNER JOIN is clearer.)
But I think the phrase "joins in the where clause" is misleading, the join is being done in the FROM clause.
I find cartesian product joins extremely powerful and useful in many situations, and I don't understand why I should replace one keystroke (",") with 12 (" CROSS JOIN ".) Is the "," construct now being discouraged?