What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Am Certain I Have No Idea What He Meant

but i like the sound of it:

Nietzsche writes, “I am afraid that we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hitting a Little Close to Home

If people ask about my work regimen (or hear my wife reporting on it), I often say -- because it means something around here -- "At least I'm not in a coal mine."

From the current project:

Miners paid according to their productivity, on the basis of piecework, imposed working rhythms on themselves that were detrimental to their health—a dynamic that is true for any workforce. An intensification of effort came at a cost: increasing the degree of dust inhalation.

Now if you want to play Mad Libs,* you can substitute "editors" for "miners" and any number of effects for the last two words.

---
*Invented by a second (or third) cousin of mine, Leonard Stern, also an executive producer of the original Get Smart series and a number of others. Never met the man. But his mother was at my brother's bar mitzvah in 1968, and when I asked my father about him a few years back, I heard a story that was new to me. When my father was 12 he wanted a train set, and my grandparents took him to see cousin Leonard, who was working in a New Jersey department store. You people need to know this stuff.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

More Family News: Gender Inequality Begins at Home

A couple of years ago, almost exactly, I was posting sad news that Elvis had left the building. Now the nonhuman census includes

* Zooey, our most handsome and ridiculously eager-to-please mutt, who has been with us about six years.

* Franny, his younger miniature (thank god) Basset sister--the Land on Demand mascot and a complete pain in the ass when she's not the calmest, sweetest, and most beautiful creature on earth.

* Maggie the Cat, whom we rescued from a shelter to help battle a rodent problem in the house (problem solved on her first night out of our bedroom).

* The latest addition, an oddly striped and strange-faced gray kitten whom we named Suzzy.

We took Suzzy off the hands of a friend of ours; Suzzy was probably about 10 weeks old when Tere brought the feline home. The kitten was presented to us as a female. Tere saw our friend the other day, who asked, "So, can you tell yet if the cat's a boy or a girl?"

Uh, what?

Upon further research and inspection, Tere and our Korean exchange student -- who is fascinated and most enamored with this menagerie -- determined that Suzzy is a he-cat.

Well, hell.

But what's interesting is that Tere and I are both treating this cat differently now that we know it's a male. The kid gloves are off. Even the tone of voice is different.

The toughest cat we ever had was our first: a female who would catch bats and leave them for us. Good ol' Sadie. So why we'd treat this kitten any differently because of its gender makes no sense.

Now I'm gearing up for this animal to be crazy. And I suspect he'll live up to it. Like any boy named Sue.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I'll Say It Again: Bill Gates, Stay offa My Lawn!

If Word flags a correctly typed word as misspelled, typically when you unmisspell it the first time, Word leaves you alone.

I'm working on a manuscript that includes the abbreviation (or acronym or initialism; I don't keep them straight) IHS. I've got to fool this damn software into thinking I'm typing something else, because it keeps reverting back to HIS. Maybe this has to do with ignoring all caps in spell checks, although I can't recall how I'm clicked there.

Of course, I could leave HIS all caps and simply replace it later. I might do that.

But did you know that Word's dictionary -- at least none I've come across -- has "lynching" in it? And that Word's contextual spell-checker always flags "centuries" as possibly wrong? Do you know why? Hmm? Well, do ya?

The simple answer is that they should stick to ones and zeroes and stay offa my lawn.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Today's Public Health Moment

Just in case you ever wondered what a stethoscope was for, among other things, I suspect:

"Amphoric sounds in the lungs (similar to those made by blowing across the mouth of an empty bottle), which are a sign of a tubercular cavity, were now audible to physicians, having been sufficiently amplified by a stethoscope; a lack of murmurs and a dullness when a patient’s chest area was thumped were signs of the conversion of elastic lung tissue into more fleshlike tissue; diffuse whistling sounds were a sign of irritated and partially obstructed bronchi."

Monday, January 9, 2017

Case in Point

[Please reference first full paragraph of previous post]

I just received a request to index a book titled The American Nonvoter. I know a gentleman who has been politically active forever (he was in the Peace Corps when I was in diapers, with a roommate in Tanzania who was eaten by a lion [true story]), who worked the polls in this last election, as he usually does. People were coming out of the hollers who hadn't voted in 30 to 40 years and were amazed at the new-fangled voting machines. I wonder if the author is referring to these American nonvoters?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Silver Linings

A rare foray into things political . . . 

Say what you want about the current state of US domestic affairs, but the Trump campaign and presidency are going to generate a whole lot more interesting academic and scholarly ink coming across my desk than a Clinton presidency would have. I'm already reading books discussing Trump's effect on the body politic and that have been held up in production while authors made last-minute changes. For about half a dozen books I read during 2016, you could see some of their relevance slipping away because of certain presumptions about the way things usually work in the highest offices in the land.

I am wrapping up work on a wonderful book about the space shuttle era. In discussing the losses of Challenger and Columbia, the author mentions the US president's role as consoler-in-chief. Reagan, for all his other faults, was a master at this type of communication and had great speechwriters (I generally loathe Peggy Noonan as a columnist, but damn, she was a great speechwriter). George W. Bush, a man not known for gravitas, at least seemed in his heart to have compassion and a love for (some of) the ideals of this country. Both certainly had an immense respect for the presidential office, as has every president, and as do most Americans.

Upon the first inevitable national tragedy of the Trump administration, quite frankly, Donnie--who is indeed out of his element--should just throw Mike Pence out there. Again, not my kind of guy by any stretch, but about the last person I'd want setting the emotional tone for anything is our president-elect.

Monday, December 26, 2016

State of the Mascot


Happy holidays.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Today's Uncomfortable Truth

"Remember that medications are designed to enable you to continue to live a dysfunctional life, not improve it."

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Non Sequitur of the Day

“His family name actually was Tie and his personal name Ying but he had taken the pen-name ‘Patcher of Decadence’ after the monk ‘Lazy and Decadent’ of the Tang dynasty, whose name was associated with baked potatoes.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Theological Lattice

Indexing consecutive books, one of which is rather intolerable and dense, while the next is breezy and ethereal. First is where Christian theology meets nuclear physics. Interconnectedness. Second is where Christian theology meets Zen Buddhism. Interconnectedness.

Monk at Gethsemani to blogger six years ago: "People keep trying to fit themselves into holes. They need to look at what's behind the holes. The rush to organized religion will ruin you."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Childhood Reflux

Not a good couple of days for memories. (Links do not contain videos, although I'm not responsible for ads.)

First this: Fear and Loathing in Dyker Heights. Ages 9-17 in the belly of this environment. I knew/know almost everyone in the article. I've known about the story for years, but other than a New York Times article on the lawsuit, this is the most national coverage of the horrid events that occurred at my school while I was there to people I knew well. Not that there's any winner in this kind of comparison, but I think the scope of what happened at my alma mater was far greater and more sinister than what happened at Penn State.

Next: Two Thousand Maniacs! My then-stepbrothers and I were exposed to this movie as the second half of a Kung Fu-led double feature in about 1975. We walked out after 15 or so minutes -- no small feat of revulsion for a piece of content plopped in front of three teenage boys with high tolerances for weirdness in some crumbling old theater on Staten Island. I'm now indexing a book that uses this seminal horror/gore/slasher film to further its point. Hallelujah. After avoiding the film for 40 years, I now know the rest of the story.

The good old days
Are good and gone now.
That's why they're good,
Because they're gone.

--Loudon Wainwright III

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mind of an Indexer

To authors who concisely summarize all their arguments in the last two pages of each chapter:

1. Thanks, because I don't index summaries that add nothing new to the argument. I also don't generally index questions, so I love seeing a paragraph full of them.

2. If you started out using concise terms rather than ending with them, my life would be much easier.

And thanks to all for accurate subheads. For inaccurate ones, a pox on you and the editor.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Spain, Impressions 2

Wine is as cheap or cheaper than water or Coca-Cola in Spain. We spent more in the TGIFriday's at the Atlanta airport coming back than we did for all but one of our meals in Europe.

I was listening to an incredibly tedious Canadian couple on a 2-hour bus ride talk about their travels (thankfully they were talking to someone else), and how it was cheaper for them to go to Europe than to come to the US for travel. Once you got past the plane ticket, lodging and food were far less expensive in a small city in Europe than for the same in the US -- and over the course of a week or so, it adds up.

I also never quite figured out tipping in Spain. I don't think it's common. To wit, when you hand them your plastic, there's no line for adding a gratuity. And staying off the computer, I never bothered looking it up, nor did we get a straight answer from anyone we asked, including the locals.

So when you consider already inexpensive food and wine, and you're not throwing 20 percent on top of it . . . makes for a thrifty-by-comparison vacation.

As does having someone else pay for airfare and lodging.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Innocence and Experience

I wasn't going to post the following quote, as it's a bit humbling, but I loved the response it generated.

From an author for whom I've done one index -- although we struck up a fast friendship while doing so:

XXX is a good egg, and I think you'd like her book. I hope it works out for the two of you to work together. I told her the truth about you: that I've met no one better at their job than you are at yours. Also, how easy, fun and stimulating it is to work with you.
 
I passed that comment along to a managing editor for whom I've done hundreds of indexes, copyedits, and proofreads. The response?
 
You are good, but you are very strange...

Monday, November 14, 2016

Latest Celebrity Stalking

Blogger, Jonathan Richman, Mrs. Blogger


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Impressions, Spain 1

You can listen to this while you read (or not). John Coltrane, "Impressions."


Between a week in Spain, with a one-day trip to Tangier, and the more recent events in los Estados Unidos, I've got material for a year. On the matter of silver linings, the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath should be a boon to the scholarly publishing industry for the rest of my productive lifetime.

-- which, according the Ratsnest [Facebook], ended yesterday, as I was caught up in the SNAFU of FB posting death messages on people's accounts:

Remembering [insert social media nom here] . . .

We hope people who love Jim will find comfort in the things others share to remember and celebrate his life.


That was news to my long-suffering wife, who thought I was somewhere in the house working. My 27-year-old son originally was puzzled and then found that some of his contacts were experiencing the same thing. I told him to keep his zombie friends offa my lawn.

Spain . . . 

We were on the southern coast in the town of Torremolinos, near the city of Malaga. Right on the Mediterranean. Nice place. Cheap food. Wine is cheaper than water or Coca-Cola.

Reluctant capitalist that I am, I was pondering what would make me rich in Europe. Two franchises: cigarettes and hair gel. European males under the age of 35 don't know how to leave their hair alone. I am convinced that hair salons in Europe are papered with Skate Park Magazine, because that's what many European men's and boy's heads look like. Some little kids had hair styles that probably would have scarred me for life. Hell, I think I wept after leaving the barber's chair until I was about 12 years old. In my head: "But, Mom, I just want to be a hippie."


Pick an angle, any angle. Maybe two.

More to come.

Friday, October 28, 2016

That's Fine; Enough Already

A pair of PhD authors demonstrates at every chapter opener and chapter conclusion, and before and after every A-head, that they can write a summary and transition paragraph-- or three or four of them.

Authors: Since you address the content in a logical manner, forget the filler and save 20 or 30 pages off the book.

Geez.

Yet Another Stop-the-Presses Moment

Porn typically follows the standard pornographic script.