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 and proofreader, and occasional indexer. 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.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Proofreaders in history, and a lesson

Readers: Chime in with your own lesson from the story below, and -- without looking it up on the series of tubes -- who can name famous people who used to be proofreaders?


Value Line’s Sam Eisenstadt Says He Was Fired After 63 Years

By Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Samuel Eisenstadt, the research chairman of Value Line Inc., said he was fired from the investment advisory firm where he worked since 1946.

Chief Executive Officer Howard Brecher informed him on Dec. 4 that his services were no longer required, Eisenstadt, 87, said in an interview. Brecher took over as acting chairman and CEO last month after the New York-based firm agreed to pay $43 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that its mutual funds charged investors “phantom” trading fees.

“There was no explanation,” said Eisenstadt, who was not involved or implicated in the SEC settlement. “I’m not retiring. That would imply that I’m ready to leave the business, which I am not.”

Eisenstadt helped develop Value Line’s quantitative models that provide independent stock evaluations and recommendations to individuals and other investors. Value Line, whose predecessor was formed in 1931, sold its recommendations by subscription to investors and became a household name in the 1970s and 1980s. The flagship Value Line Investment Survey covers about 1,700 stocks, according to the company’s Web site.

Value Line spokesman William McBride said the company does not comment on personnel matters.

SEC Charges

Apart from selling investment research, Value Line also managed mutual funds. Last month, the SEC said Value Line improperly billed investors for trading services. As part of the settlement, Value Line’s Chief Executive Officer Jean Bernhard Buttner and Chief Compliance Officer David Henigson were barred from the industry.

Buttner became Value Line president in 1985 and took over as chief executive officer in 1988 after the death of her father, Arnold Bernhard. Bernhard, who founded Value Line’s predecessor in 1931, hired Eisenstadt 63 years ago as a proofreader. He rose through the ranks, and became research chairman in 1987.


Sam, welcome to the world of freelancing. I suspect someone else will snatch you up in no time. According to the actuarial tables, at 87, you've got years of productivity still left in you.


Another Sam:

Mark Twain's comments on proofreaders:

"Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer's proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, & I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray." - 1889

"In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made proof-readers."- 1893

That notwithstanding, perhaps my favorite Twain quote comes from his impressions on first seeing the Atlantic Ocean. His companion asked, "What do you think?" Twain's response: "It appears to be a success."


moi said...

Oy. Spammers. In SUCH need of proofreading. So, spill the famous proofreaders, because I have no idea.

czar said...


Sorry for the delay. My crack ISP is probably so busy cutting down on my spam and delivering my emails 6 hours late that I missed your comment.

Famous proofreaders? I've come across a few in my time and have managed to forget most of them (was hoping some of my loyal readership would chime in with a few), but the one who always sticks in my mind is Jesse Helms.

And apropos of our ongoing Summer of Sam conversation, my brother (actually, another famous proofreader) passed along a book to me one time about the Berkowitz case. I read around in it--God forbid I should ever read a whole book that I'm not paid to read--and at one part the author stated one theory that the .44-caliber killer must have worked as a proofreader or typesetter, because his letters to the papers showed evidence of types of written composition most normal serial killers (like that phrase?) wouldn't often use, such as bulleted or numbered lists, with the text aligned after the bullets/numbers.

I've definitely proofread some books that would make me want to kill strangers, given that I don't usually have access to the authors. And our next-door neighbors have a Corgi that they leave outside 24 hours a day, 363 days a year. I think if it gets below 5 degrees, they bring him in for a little while. So anytime our kitchen light goes on (could be 3 in the morning) or he sees feline Elvis creeping around, he starts barking his head off. Good thing he's a sweet dog, even in spite of the fact that his humans don't care a lick about him. Sometimes he'll get out of the backyard, and I'll bring him into the bunker with me until I can contact one of the humans. I'd rather talk to the dog in this case. Nice people (sorta kinda), but, well, you know.

Although it does give me a chance to scream in the middle of the night, "Shut that dog up!" And watch the "Davey and Son of Goliath" video on YouTube again.

moi said...

I want to bitch slap this spammer, that I know for sure.

Dude, you should keep the Corgi. Seriously. Do you actually think his owners are going to give a shit? Nah. Then again, the marooons will most likely just go get another innocent animal to neglect. Grrrrrrr.

Our neighbor has this tank of a Great Pyrennes (or however you spell it – French again) that for the past six freakin' years has barked non stop, day and night because he lives outside, day and night. Thankfully, we can't hear it in our bedroom, but he's audible from other parts of the house and when we have guests, that's when I get real pissy. The barking will stop for a few nights (maybe they put him in the garage, I dunno), but it eventually starts up again. I'd steal the dog and use him as transport, but times are tough and he'd eat us out of house and home.

Maybe all bad dog owners go to hell with Berkowitz, where they suffer under his proof-reading whip for all eternity.