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.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

End of an Era Parting Shot

Confluence of three events in this time in Land on Demand technology history:

1. Putting the brakes on this blog a few weeks ago.

2. Facebook notified me today that I joined six years ago. Ugh.

3. The czarina got me a smart phone. I'm sure the unintentional consequences will start soon enough. I suppose I'm just glad to have a flashlight and a stopwatch that runs into the double-digit hours. It's like a Swiss Army knife for someone with no useful skills.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Final Post?

Yeah, it just might be.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Another Pot-Boiler

A dialogue follows of questions about teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow of the bones, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, stomach, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, lymph, saliva, snot, synovial fluids, urine, and the brain.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Morning Musical Interlude

Today's strange find. And if you work in an office, you can listen to it without people thinking you're too weird, unlike the music-type sounds that I usually play.

Joe Pass and Roy Clark Play Hank Williams

I will presume you know who Roy Clark is. You should know who Joe Pass is, especially if you heard him about 25 or 30 years before this.

Please sit through the annoying first 30 seconds of crowd noise and then listen to what Oscar Peterson (p), Joe Pass (g), and Niels Henning Oersted Pedersen (b) do, which is almost literally unbelievable. Beginning at 3:25, Oscar Peterson plays a solo in which you can't imagine anyone playing a faster bass line, just bafflingly quick left hand . . . and then the right comes in.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Above and Beyond

In the midst of about 40 hours of doing nothing but fixing bibliography and notes for a massive volume. The book was translated from the Italian (and translated into Italian originally from probably five different languages [damn overachievers]), and I'm searching the Webz looking for translations of Italian, French, and Spanish (so far) minutiae, like documentation abbreviations. If I had a foot in the door in Sanskrit, I'd be there, too.

And I'm listening to Keith Jarrett at present. I can't tell if his groaning is his groaning, my stomach, or the mascot whining.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Today's Wisdom from the East

It is related of Chao-chou, another great Zen master, that when a monk once asked him, “What is the last word on truth?” he simply replied, “Yes”—Whereupon the disciple, thinking that the master had not understood, repeated the question. And Chao-chou, feigning anger, boomed back at him: “Do you suppose I am deaf?”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Not Exactly Cognitive Dissonance

But it feels very strange to jump between copyediting a biography of Daniel Berrigan and indexing a play-by-play of the activity in al-Anbar province, Iraq, circa 2006.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Reviewing Your Own Work Months Later

I've been proofreading, except for three years in college, for 43 years now. I'm not chatty, I don't edit, I mark it up as judiciously and quickly as I can and move on.

Tonight I am checking the changes on some 2-page corporate spreads that I first proofed some months back. One of the spreads has the word workplac.

Did I write, "insert e," or whatever my tedium was that day?

Nah, I went for "I'd like to buy a vowel."

"Strange figures, weird figures, Steel 186, Anaconda 74, American Cane 138 . . ."

If you get that reference, let me know. If you don't, let me know. No InnerWebz sleuthing allowed.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today's Index Entry

Subtitle: I'm Such a Juvenile

Fu, Q., 104

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Word of the Day

presenteeism = decreased productivity while at work.

Fill in your own memories at the comments section. The phrase "while at work" seems to indicate under the umbrella of paid W-2-type employment (aka "sap with a day job," which is an increasingly attractive status for me), not just slacking off while a freelancer. If that were the case, one could chalk up this entire blog as a testament to presenteeism.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Still Here

In case you're keeping score at home.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, I turn 57 years old today, and given the physical events of the last few days, I think my best bet for not waking up dead in the morning is to stay up all night reading an easy book on a difficult subject.

"Why is this night different from all other nights?" It's somewhere near Passover, right?

(Looks like even the rats' nest is hedging its bets. Zuckerberg hasn't posted greetings on my timeline yet. Maybe he still thinks I'm dead from some Facebook glitch last year.)

I recall an interview with Annie Liebovitz (no relation, that I know of [Land was changed from Liebovitz back in the '40s]) in which the photographer gave one-word answers to every question. My favorite:

"What do you like least about your family?"


Many of my fellow tribespeople can likely relate.

I remember Passover every year on the 23rd floor of my maternal grandparents' apartment building on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn -- greatest view ever, overlooking the lights of every neighborhood in Brooklyn with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop (although the view from the other side of the building was the entrance to New York harbor; not too shabby either). You'd get out of the elevator, and the odors of Jewfood lured you down the hallway.

We'd begin the seder with my 4-foot-11 great-grandfather chanting and davening in the old style. Family would pay attention for about 10 minutes. Then the kids got involved hiding the matzoh and asking the Four Questions, and my two great aunts would start in on the bickering. They despised each other: my grandfather's spinster sister and her other brother's wife. About the latter came one of the great putdowns I've heard and remember to this day: "Your aunt was blind as a bat, but she could spot a flaw in a diamond a mile away." About the former, she had an opinion on everything, offered loudly and with a voice that the word "raspy" doesn't begin to cover. And my poor little Grandpa Isaac, trying his best to maintain decorum.

Passover was hell. Not exactly a culinarily enticing holiday, either. All I wanted was a hunk of pizza, or to go to Nathan's -- about a mile walk.

Sooner or later, this blog might return to the editorial world. Maybe. In the meantime, I'm pretty darn certain this was the building:

And if you've ever seen the bizarre and horrific Requiem for a Dream, I'm also pretty certain that some of the street scenes were filmed on or very near this block -- although much of this part of Brooklyn was, or is, pretty interchangeable with whatever's on the next street.

Good times? Hell, not really. Although, speaking of childhood, I came to a strange epiphany last night that relates to a much earlier part of my life: my next Basset hound will be named Rosebud.

I mean . . . just in case I do indeed wake up dead and anyone tries to make any sense of . . . anything.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

There's Always Hope

"Subjectivity, if it has any real existence at all, is destined to be completely obliterated when the cosmos returns physically to the eternal sleep of original mindlessness" (emphasis added). The author doesn't agree with the statement, and I'm taking it way out of context . . . but on some level, it's got some real appeal.

The Day's Still Young, Though

Typo of the day:

"Like many college campuses, mine often hosted artistic showcases or open mic nights, but they were mostly geared toward aspirating acoustic songwriters. . . ."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Doubling Down on the Lattice

I'm working on a book -- without giving away too much -- about student poetry, and regular visitors to this space are well aware of my feelings about most verse, even that written by adults. Frankly, I'm not a fan, once you leave the canon (Western or Eastern). Sorry to say it, but there it is. I'm convinced that much of the poetry that appears in the New Yorker, for example, would never receive an airing if not for the contributor's name.

I also work not infrequently (a construction, I've come to learn, that baffles nonnative English speakers) at a local 24-hour bakery that must have Pandora's Great American Songbook on repeat, because I hear the same music every two hours, including what seems like thrice-hourly versions of "Mack the Knife." The bakery also presents serious distractions that earplugs can't cancel out, such as coeds from the local universities. One is about eight feet from me right now, blissfully unaware of the letch typing near her.

But down the row of tables I see another student agonizing over a laptop. As I just went to replenish my coffee, I noticed one of the books he is working from: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Poetry. I can't quickly formulate a witty response to that setup, but trust me, it's not for lack of material.

Ah, well. Back to the coed -- uh, I mean, work.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Thanks, Merriam-Webster's

Main Entry:hip*hop
Etymology:perhaps from 4 hip + 1 hop


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Indexing Thought

Sure is nice when an author decides to bring up new topics and new research in the last 10 pages of the book. At least I know it's not going to go on forever.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Post-Roadtrip Report

As a follow-up to the previous post, I threw deadlines to the breeze and made a hasty and wonderful trip to Chicago to see the Necks on Thursday evening with my son. An excellent weekend all around with fine food and entertainment, quality time with my 27-year-old (that's just so hard to believe), and some too-rare time with one of this blog's dedicated readers-- always a joy.

Actually, the last time I addressed my readership, I received a nice email from another follower -- whose own first issue shares a birthday with my own first issue, referenced above. So it all ties together.


I am working on a manuscript in which the author has misspelled -- more precisely, mis-oddly capitalized -- his own name.

Not often (I mean, I don't think about it that much), but I am occasionally grateful for having a name as simple as I do, although in the course of a lifetime, people have mangled it in a variety of ways. My favorite was when this son and grandson of automobile dealers was transformed into a v-hikl, which is what they call anything you drive here in Bristol.

My wife and I last November were boarding the ferry across the Gibraltar Strait from Spain to Tangier, Morocco. Boarding passes were printed out last name, first name. Remember from seventh-grade Spanish class that v is pronounced closer to b:


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

In this case, my elder issue. One nice thing about raising kids with a diverse musical palate (pallet? pallette?) is that they have enough time to keep you apprised of the really good stuff you miss.

Oh. My. God. This is what's happening in my head:

The Necks 30th Anniversary Concert

My son's name is Mitchell Land. If you're in Chicago, look him up and see if he's playing anywhere, either by himself or as (with) Joey Mitchell, whom (or which) you can find on the rats' nest (Facebook).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Two Questions

1. What awful dictionary did Microsoft Word base its spell check on that it doesn't recognize "diaspora"?

2. If you're just finding this blog and you arrived here via Facebook, please let me know how. You can leave a comment or email me.

The Proprietor

Today's Indexing Tongue-Twister

Seashore, C., 296

Sunday, February 26, 2017

On Classical Music

From the current project. Actually pretty interesting, although getting a little repetitive around page 350.

Goodman’s famous assertion that one wrong note or dynamic disqualifies a performance from representing the work, but that a vast latitude in areas not specified by the score is permissible, is a purely philosophical exercise of no interest or importance in the musical world. However, Urmson takes a more practical if also philosophically stern line in suggesting that performers have an ethical obligation to proffer the audience something as true as possible to what they believe is (e.g.) Handel’s Messiah if that is what is promised on the programme.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Oh, Where the Series of Tubes Takes You

From an issue of the American Physician, July 1907:

A certain young man of great gumption
'Mongst cannibals had the presumption
To go--but alack,
He never came back; 
They say 'twas a case of consumption.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Today's Chuckle

From the endnotes to a book on Mormon ecclesiology: a journal article titled, "Try the Spirits."

Sunday, February 5, 2017

From a Twenty-Year Atlanta Resident

This blog has probably had fewer sports-informed than politics-informed posts (I think the score was 3-0, now about to be 3-1). But if you've spent any time around ATL sports franchises, you know that the outcome of tonight's game was not a matter of what the result would be, but in what shamelessly horrid fashion it would take place.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Well, Never Mind

Color me humbled.

This book on the American nonvoter has obviously been in development for years, and it ends at 2012. I was ready for it to be outdated from the get-go.

Instead, the authors must have been clicking their heels and clucking their tongues as election day 2016 unraveled -- entirely confirming their thesis, which, as obvious as it seems, they say has never been investigated.

Basically -- and I don't think I'll be cutting into their royalties -- they claim that uncertainty in the campaign climate is the greatest influence on voting participation. High certainty of what will happen with the election and its results leads to nonvoting. A situation like last year's mitigates against nonvoting. They nailed it.

And I'm actually, almost, enjoying the indexing.

Now if the damned news wasn't so alluring. I've lost more productive hours in the last six months to reading news than in any comparable period. Damn Internet.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

When Worlds Collide, or Not

I could go on for hours (well, maybe an hour at this point in my life) about the author who cowrote When Worlds Collide. If you ever want to read a novel set in the framework of open marriage among the wealthy during the depths of the Great Depression, and which came out the same year as When Worlds Collide (1934), check out a personal fave titled Finnley Wren. You can usually find it online for a few bucks. I've bought about six of them and I distribute them accordingly.


I have two audiences, which comprise maybe about eight people (accurately, more like three). I have four friends on the rats' nest of Facebook: my wife, my two sons, and my future daughter-in-law. My younger son and his fiance never post and rarely comment or like, so it's really more like two.

This blog (now in its 10th year, I s'pose, although not exactly a force) has a steady readership of which I'm aware of exactly one. God knows my family never looks here. They might learn something if they did, or they've probably heard it all before. So this gives me the opportunity to post something here that I've also put on the rats' nest, and no one feels like they're not getting what they didn't pay for.

My FB post:

I worked concessions at Virginia High tonight, and I heard this wistfully uttered remembrance of Bristol history: "Yeah, I was there the day Old Man Lilley opened his last pack of honey weenies."

From my one experience with honey weenies, they are inedible. My younger son -- the one who avoids Facebook -- and I once went to a local establishment called the Corner Dog House. It's been around here forever, although I've never heard it mentioned. He was around 9 years old.

We each ordered a hot dog, and when Harry bit into his, I said, "Nope. That's it. Throw it out. We're going somewhere else." I've never seen that shade of pink before in something passed off as food. It might have come from a Nazi lab.

I later came to find out that the Corner Dog House serves honey weenies.

And as the good doctor Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, you can tell a writer's in real trouble when he starts stealing his own material.

A Most Anticipated Title

I'm about to start an index for a book titled The American Nonvoter.  Umm . . .

1. A lot of them just voted.

2. Here we are.

Monday, January 30, 2017

This Year's Word Apparently Is


Every. Damn. Book.

It's like the 1980s, when I couldn't turn a page without running into Maslow's needs hierarchy. Enough already.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Today's Gripes

1. Publically. It's publicly, regardless of what alternative Messrs. Merriam & Webster offer.

2. The messianic Jewish bagel shop in downtown Bristol has changed hands. It seems now to be a theologically unaffiliated bagel shop, but some things don't change.

I very rarely salt my food (fried chicken mainly), but I like salty food. I've always liked salt bagels. At Manna Bagel, all the salt is on one side, so what you really have is half a salt bagel and half a plain bagel. I was in there yesterday, and the fetching (interesting pun) young woman behind the counter asked if I'd like some of the salt taken off of the salt bagel. After psychically recovering from that query, I told her that what I'd really like is a salt bagel with salt all over it -- the way they manage to make their everything bagels, their poppy seed bagels, et al.

I'm not often nostalgic for my geographic roots, and I can always sprinkle kosher salt on top of cream cheese -- a realization I came to about thirty years too late. But bagels and pizza are different -- and generally wrong, even if tasty -- everywhere else.

Curmudgeon out.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Some Nice Notes re: Recent Indexes

I got my reasons.

From a prominent Baltimore-based institution of higher learning:

Hi, Bob.

We're in good shape; the index is beautiful.

From an author publishing with that joint up in New Haven:

The index looks fantastic -- very comprehensive, especially with all the subcategories under key terms! 

Having said that, I still like to proofread and copyedit, if you get my drift.

Another Sign of Reverse Time Travel

I'm copyediting a book in which the author spelled the word as "marihuana."

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.