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.

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

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.


Yet Another Stop-the-Presses Moment

Porn typically follows the standard pornographic script.

Thanks, CMOS

View image on Twitter

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Index Entry of the Day

Martin, Luther, 94

Monday, October 24, 2016

Damn Authors

Sometimes I just don't even know what to say.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I've About Had It with Excuses

1. I have a client that owes me about $2000. Invoice was sent in April with plenty of advance warning. After a month or so, the client asks if I've deposited the check -- which I'd never received. What happened? Here's the story I was told and have experienced. A regional energy company (not in the client's region) got a check made out to Bob Land, cashed it, and stonewalled my client for four months about a refund of the money. I contacted the energy company, which knew nothing about the situation but offered to follow up and to pay me or my client immediately. Once the client started getting calls and emails from the energy company to track down the check, all of a sudden the client says the situation has been resolved. Client is waiting for the check from the energy company. Client receives the check. I receive a check for half the amount invoiced. "It's all I can afford."

2. I am in a war with a national pest control company, which has agreed to refund me $1220 for useless services rendered. I received a check today . . . for $1020 -- which I will not cash, so as not to indicate acceptance of an offer. I am in touch again with corporate customer service.

3. I presently have no health insurance. We have COBRA through my wife's former job, but claims are being denied because the insurer canceled my wife's former employer's policy after a premium was misapplied -- so the employer says. It's taking weeks to remedy the insurer's error. So the employer says.

Some days (most days? all days?), I really do yearn for an escape from capitalism and a whole lot of other stuff.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Today in Literary News

[n.b.: Cribbed from an email to a former reader of this blog. Lo, the world has passed me by. Won't somebody get up and fix the rabbit ears?]

Well, with Dylan winning the Nobel and everything . . .

This band I'm playing with -- very local, very informal -- has a Facebook page I recently discovered. 250 likes, so you know we're not burning down the world.

You know whose name just showed up for liking it? Barbara Kingsolver. Our guitarist/songwriter/lead joker seems to know everyone within about a 50-mile radius. Actually, now that I think of it, it was at her restaurant that I first heard the band last year and told Tere, "I think I could play with them."

So, in case you want to throw in with Barbara Kingsolver,


Friday, October 14, 2016

When, as an Indexer, Planning Ahead Helps

Thankfully, the press said up front to watch out for overlapping names:


John, Gospel of, 18
      chapter 21, 3, 6, 46, 55, 86–89, 100, 102, 129–34
      on Peter, 81–89
John II (the Beautiful; emperor), 268
John II (pope), 188
John II of Constantinople (patriarch), 185
John II of Kiev, 261–62
John III Vatatzes (emperor), 295, 299, 301
John IV (the Faster; patriarch), 190, 191, 194, 264
John IV (pope), 199
John IV Lascaris (emperor), 296n73, 301n102
John V (emperor), 318–21
John VI Cantacuzenos (emperor), 313, 318–20
John VII (the Grammarian; patriarch), 219
John VIII (emperor), 324–25
John VIII (pope), 229–30, 231
John X (pope), 233, 234
John X Kamateros (patriarch), 278–80, 284, 286
John XI (pope), 233, 235
John XI Bekkos (patriarch), 305–9
John XII (pope), 235–36
John XIX (pope), 242–43
John XXI (pope), 307
John XXII (pope), 310
John XXIII (pope), 12, 357n158, 369, 379–80, 383
John of Damascus, 120
John the Deacon, 210–11
John of Montenero, 333–34
John Paul I (pope), 406
John Paul II (pope), 13, 367n214, 369, 392, 406, 409–12
John Tzimisces (emperor), 236

Not Knowing at All

I'm sitting here negotiating the uphill slope of six consecutive indexes -- none of them short, none of them nonscholarly -- and thinking back on one of the many times I've submitted an index on a topic about which I had no clue.

After decades of doing mostly nothing but reading scholarly tomes, I've learned to identify minor concepts about which authors feel a particular warmth. When they see the term in the index, I imagine them getting that tingle up their leg.

So I'd plucked out some obscure term used once in the book and threw it in the index, because I knew the author enjoyed putting that bit of text in the book.

Author's response: "It's good to work with an indexer who understands the material."

Monday, October 10, 2016

Word of the Day

irredentism: a political principle or policy directed toward the incorporation of irredentas within the boundaries of their historically or ethnically related political unit.

Uhhh . . .

irredenta: a territory historically or ethnically related to one political unit but under the political control of another

I'm surprised I've never seen this word. My vocabulary ain't too good, but I'll remember a word if I've seen it, even if not the definition. And I certainly won't remember this one.

From a surprisingly easy-to-read (and -index, so far) monograph on the treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan -- not that I care a lick about the topic. But I am very happy for cutting and pasting subcontinent names. Any spelling errors, courtesy of the author

Thursday, October 6, 2016

True Dat

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.: "Objective truth is a pure ideal that if everyone was as clever and educated as you they would agree with you and then the universe would be conquered. But even if we all agreed in everything, I don’t see the guaranty that this universe would agree with us.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Catch of the Day

The song titled “Half Breed” and recorded by Cher in the 1970s resulted in great strides being made in overcoming, if not totally eliminating, the presence of this stigma. Like Cher, my mother was not afraid of her heritage; in fact, she was quite proud to be a Native American and always wore her heritage as a badge of honor. [QY: Note, from imdb.com: “Cher is of Armenian heritage on her father's side, and of English and German, with more distant Irish, Dutch, and French, heritage on her mother's side.”]

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Author Doesn't Get It

Query: Is this a direct quote?

Answer: Close enough, yes.

Class, what is wrong with this answer?


A client I've had since Atlanta days is a fabulously successful businessman who came here from South Korea in 1976 with $200 and barely passable English. He got off his flight at Indianapolis and wondered, "What do I do now?" Forty years later, he's an institution in Atlanta, in his chosen industries nationwide, and in his family's hometown in Korea.

Very dignified gentleman, I guess now in his mid-70s.

Just received an email from him with a :-) . I'm horrified, but at least when it comes to cutesy keyboard stuff, he's a few years behind the times. Of course, not as far behind the times as I am. My idea of an emoticon is "[insert emoticon here.]."

People read what they want to anyway.

We've had three teenagers from other countries staying with us roughly since the beginning of the school year. My wife and I recently told them to leave their phones and computers downstairs and they can use them only for a few hours a day in the common areas.

Law of unintended consequences no. 1: Left them without alarm clocks.

Law of unintended consequences no. 1a: Do you know how hard it is these days to find AM/FM alarm clocks? Smartphones have killed them. Finally found a few at Walmarx. You can get just alarm clocks (no radios), and of course you can get all kinds of digital crapola and stuff to plug your phones into.

Get 'em while they last
A big kick for me growing up was listening to AM radio late at night to stations from different cities. Between 1969 and 1977, I lived on the 10th story of an apartment building on Staten Island, NY, facing away from the Empire State Building, which was the primary broadcast tower for NYC at the time. For major TV networks we got Philadelphia TV, not NYC, and at night I would spin the radio dial and pick up the clear-channel stations from Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, et al., and on rare occasions, I believe, Salt Lake City.

I posted a picture of that building very early in this blog's history. I wonder if the Google has taken it out, along with pictures of my dog and John Cale, although they are not together. That would be a sight.