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, September 26, 2011

This Stuff Writes Itself

The previous post dealt with timing on deliveries of jobs from a particular client with a history of somewhat late communications on changing deadlines, not to mention the occasional expectation that I should drop everything I'm doing and read its stuff. I received the following note today from the same client:

Hi Bob, I don't know if you know about the ST job since it's not one we are using the Web for. It's on a very fast track. According to the schedule, you should have copyedited it and had it back to us yesterday.

So given this parameter, when do you think we could have it back? As always send us a clean copy and one with track changes.

Dear readers, I've been freelancing one way or the other since 1986 -- a quarter of a century, roughly half my life. This memo is without precedent. Never before have I been late on a job that, not only had I not received it, but the client never even made me aware of it.

I finally became privy to the original production schedule, which called for me to receive the book for editing on Saturday, September 24, and to return it on Sunday, September 25.

Do you think the fun ends there? Looking down the road, I am scheduled to receive the book for proofreading on October 17. The book will need to be read/marked up and FedEx'd back to the publisher. And when do you think the book is due back with them? October 19? October 18?

Stop it, you're killing me.

October 17.

PS: In all fairness, I do love this client, whom I made aware of the previous post. S/he got a kick out of it. I think.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Making It Worthwhile: A Client with a Sense of Humor

In response to a message in which I requested some vigilance about informing me of changes in schedule:

See if this helps: all text from us, henceforth and forever after, will be late by a factor of 29 percent, except when it's late by 153 percent. Late text does not mean final text. It just means what we're submitting is late but there's still more to come. Which will  be even later. There is, naturally, an inverse proportion of the percent of lateness to the amount of time the various vendors who come afterwards have to complete their job. The later we are, the less time you have. It's the way the word world works -- sadly. However, work being done in a rush by our vendors earns the vendor battle pay, which is really pretty much what you'd normally get, but you can brag about it to the literary set at the Dunk 'n' Dine. Except that you won't actually have money to spend at the Dunk 'n' Dine because your battle pay was late. Had you not been in battle, perhaps you would have seen that memo. When you finish editing our copy, you get what the poor SOB got when he finished stuffing envelopes -- more envelopes. And more copy. Yes, it's a vicious mother****ing cycle, but it beats (we hope) saying, "You want fries with that?" Maybe.

Feel better? Am logging off for the night and will be back in the morning to be late some more. And by the way, thank you always and with considerable gratitude for putting up with our messy, late ways. Which I'm late in saying.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011



For the most important goings-on in the Fred Neil world, go to

That's the Bag I'm In (Neff; forthcoming)


For Haiku Monday, Google/YouTube was adamant about not letting me embed a video. Trying again here.

And for display purposes, I offer you four extremely rare minutes of a very rare type of performer -- one heralded and revered within the industry and who sought no fame whatsoever, eventually disappearing from public view.

Most people are not familiar with Fred Neil, and I won't go into his history. But everyone is familiar with one of his songs: "Everybody's Talkin'," which Nilsson recorded for the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack, and royalties of which probably covered most of Fred's expenses until his death in the early 2000s.

The song here was prominently featured to nice effect in an episode of The Sopranos.

I only learned of Fred Neil and his reputation through a little book I read repeatedly in my early teens: Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia. Also from that book, I first found out about the Velvet Underground. That's a whole 'nother obsession.

Anyway, my words are merely keeping you from seeing the following, which is legitimately rare and precious footage. Some angel posted it on YouTube at the end of July 2011. I get chills every time I watch it, because this man has been a part of my life since the early 1970s -- whether reading about him, then searching used record stores in pursuit of his four albums, or ultimately bringing him to the attention of others. To actually see him in performance after all this time is bizarre and beautiful.

Watch concert video here.

9/24 UPDATE: A Fred Neil documentary is on the way that appears to include more footage from the concert below. Too good to be true.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Haiku Monday / DANCE: The Winner

First, thanks to all who participated and to our voyeurs. Some folks just like to watch, and some have time constraints. All understandable.

DeepBlue -- the only one to link to a visual -- called me out for being fussy. I’ll own up to that. Personally I like the idea of the firm haiku rules, at least every so often anyway. It certainly has made the writing side tougher, and the judging perhaps easier. Moi said we need to make this whole gig more difficult because the competition’s become so good. I think the proper combination of theme and strict haiku observance makes this enterprise as challenging as drunk haikuing or haikuing on a ledge. We really don’t know what mind-altering substances people have been on up until now anyway, and with Moi submitting entries from 40,000 feet, no one’s getting any higher than that.

Speaking of DeepBlue, I’m glad he did link to his blog. Neat video, and I especially liked the music. Anytime you get more than two people working in a kitchen -- even at home -- a bit of a dance is involved. Nice to see when it all works for harmony and beauty.

First, the omissions.


Chickory! A true goddess of all things arts. Nada on dance and poetry?

And someone who for me has in a short amount of time come to represent an essential element of Haiku Monday, as much for himself as the people he’s brought along: Princess! Nothing? Really? We need you here.

Boxer . . . czar’s font of mystery and supporter of far-flung rants. I can certainly understand otherwise consumed. I don’t even know what I’m doing here right now.


Frankly, even in my dance ignorance (ignordance?), I thought these topic possibilities were obvious, and maybe even too obvious. For a combination of dance and season, how about Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring? Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker? How many of you are doing the facepalm dance right about now? Frankly, I thought DeepBlue was somehow evoking the Nutcracker until I saw the video.


We had a few; I expected more. Even though I’ve stated on previous Haiku Mondays and in some related correspondence that I’m perpetually oblivious to metaphors -- and I am -- I tried thinking of idiomatic expressions and relating them to seasons:

* dancing around a topic, and bringing a chill to a relationship?
* the heat of the bolero?


Many folks went for the fall theme, to nice effect. Some beautiful phrases emerged. It’s charming how, with the restraint of this haiku format, even simple strings of words assume a different air:

Curmudgeon’s “the aspen retire,” which swings and sways on its own (unfortunately, the 2nd line had 8 syllables)

the resignation inherent in foam 1’s “sighs . . . the rake in hand.”

Fleur, Fleur, Fleur: In a class by herself. Who else could toss off “Autumn’s mosh pit”?


foam 2 and karl hit similar funny notes about the act of dancing, and humor’s always good in the czarist universe.

I really like the way foam’s last line echoes the words themselves: “dog days hoedown stomp” = BUMP bump BUMP bump BUMP. That’s a stomp to me.

The humor of Karl’s verse is endearing. I’m wanting more punctuation there, not as an editor, but as a reader. I’m also wondering how the season and theme relate. The juxtaposition of crisp breeze and warm hand was one of my favorite moments this week. Maybe there are some fall dance memories in Karl’s past? “Oh sorry, your toe” is another classic.


I’ve already paid some homage to DeepBlue. “Fine Spoons’ arabesque” is great; “arabesque” by itself is a poetic word. As Count Basie was known for, sometimes you can just play one note, but if it’s the right note at the right time, you’re a genius. As DeepBlue acknowledged on his own account, the rules were secondary. Still a great verse.


RafaDe enters the metaphorical realm, it seems. Another excellent line: “Writhe in flames of blasphemy.” One of the other haikuers mentioned some rule about not using the theme word in the verse; I’m not holding that against RafaDe, as I didn’t mention it. But I am missing the seasonal reference here. If I’m overlooking it, it wouldn’t be the first time. (Late thought: season of the witch?)


Interesting that Moi and Uncle went back to junior high and high school, respectively, for entries. Both place the reader in a specific time and place . . . crucial.

My musical library and Moi’s only barely intersect, but I figured that something must be up with the Limburger reference; I didn’t think it was meant to refer solely to the smell of a southwestern junior high gymnasium, thick with sweat and socks and hormones. And I wasn’t disappointed: took a minute amount of research, but the reference is to a 1979 B-52’s lyric — which is smack dab in Moi’s wheelhouse. Did I get that right, Moi?

Uncle 1, on the senior prom. Uncle, you cad.


Uncle 2: Again, placing us not only in a specific season and time and place but in a crucial few seconds in time . . . bringing us up to the moment slowly . . . then climax! . . . the resolution and the celebration. As far as using the word “dance,” see RafaDe above.

Uncle 3 and Aunty rewrite: Sure it’s sappy. But it could just have easily gone blue:

Last dance, hold her tight;
does she feel my heart beating?
[Fill in here your own snide 5-syllable comment about lust-inspired throbbing organs.]

Okay, Uncle, pick Aunty up off the floor and offer her a fan and something cool to drink.


Aunty: I do love your verse, but as was pointed out some weeks back, some phrases are too good to split across lines. With “Ancient choreography” — a beautiful combo — coming in at seven syllables, why split it? Same goes for “chill night air.” May I be so bold (I feel like Uncle cutting in at the prom):

Owl swoops, mice skitter:
Ancient choreography —
Night-chilled matachin.*

*Matachin = Spanish ritualized sword-dance or battle dance (I had to look it up).

If you like the edits, keep me in mind for that book you’re certainly writing. Maybe I’ll make an exception and grant you special Auntian rates. :-)


CoreyJo, whose name alone is poetry, presents a beautiful take on the fall theme begun above. The clinging and falling evokes some dances whose names escape me. (I wish I knew more.)


Not too late, Pam, not at all. I really like the way you stop the reader with that comma immediately after the first syllable, as well with as the word “waltz,” which is an attention grabber and seems to impose a hard stop anyway (and is a good word to remember for Scrabble). The many little words on line two could be seen as wasted syllables, but they serve very effectively to slow . . . time . . . down, in anticipation of the tempo accelerating on the last line. Quite nicely done.


So . . . where has this late-night dance led us? Another great week of entries, and as usual, I’ve strutted and shuffled on too long. What’s the bottom line on this pas de deux of the judged and the judge?


Fourth an' goal to go;
two seconds left on game clock—
Dive play! End zone dance.

Uncle, your prize, courtesy of the czar, is you get to lord it over Aunty for a week. Our prize, kind sir, is to see you declare the theme and be the judge for next week. Presumably Aunty will let you rent her space for a spell.

Thanks, everybody, for a grand time as always. I'm going to do-si-do back to work. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Haiku Monday: 9/19/2011

I couldn't find a few things I wanted for the videos below -- and the word lends itself to much more than is represented here. If you're on a PC, right click to open links in a new tab or window:


John Renbourn

The French Mistake

What a Pair (pardon the sound)

Rules, as Aunty wrote 'em:

First, of course, is the proper [syllabic] scheme of 5-7-5. Next is the use of Kigo, essentially a seasonal reference. Thirdly, the subkect matter is subjective but oughta have a universal ring to it--the best Haiku (accordin' to the Masters) oughta have an "aha!" moment where the reader/ listener recognizes the moment conveyed. An' a final consideration is a "cutting" --a division of the poem into two independent parts, but each enhances the other.
On visuals: I've changed my tune from the original posting a few hours ago (Aunty, take note). Of course, feel free to post visuals on your blog, but for them to be considered in the context of the haiku contest, please provide a link to them in the comments section along with your haiku. If it's a short YouTube clip or something from Google images or a photo you've uploaded to a Flickr account, whatever. That saves me the time of going back and forth to your delightful blogs and getting consumed with nonhaiku content, which I invariably do.

As I said, I've selected a topic about which I am ignorant, so visuals could help me understand your verse. Links to your blog, though, will not work in your favor, so don't even go there.

Not for nothing am I the czar -- more than a trace of Russian totalitarianism courses through my veins. 

But I'm not entirely evil: Post as many haiku as you please, all open for judging. Window for entries closes at 11:59pm, Pacific Daylight Time. That's a minute before 3am Tuesday on the U.S. east coast, and god only knows when sometime next week for our dear friend(s) in Australia.

Have at it, funsters. The theme for Haiku Monday is DANCE.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Personal Interlude: My First Few Cars

My dedicated reader, Moi -- who has a delightful blog and who juggles more talents, skills, and interests than I could dream up in five lifetimes -- is a fast-car freak. I sent her an article that I thought would interest her, and it prompted a quick email exchange.

Moi had mentioned her lust for the present series of Jaguar E-class vehicles. I relay here a slightly modified email response of mine.


Growing up, when I barely cared about such things, I always thought Jaguars were the most elegant cars on the road. Their standard sedans would have done me just fine. Something like this:

As far as I'm concerned, most sedans since -- from the Lexus on down -- tried to match this look.

Here's a display of the first few cars I received from my dad, the Chevy/Olds dealer. Unlike most other car dealers' kids -- who had nice cars -- I always got the stuff Dad absolutely couldn't sell, even on the used car lot, or that he might have been too uninspired to unload on the wholesale market at Jerome Avenue in the South Bronx, at the time (and perhaps still) one of America's worst neighborhoods. But I could never beat the price, and until I got out of college and wanted actively to wean myself from the corporate/parental teat, they always came with gas credit cards.

My first car appears below, which I had for the last three months of high school and then until I went off to college. Seven miles a gallon. Car weighed 5700 pounds. If the driver's door accidentally closed on your leg, your next stop was the prosthesis store:

Next stop: Summer after freshman year. I was very surprised to receive a foreign car, as my father naturally thought that they were manifestations of the antichrist:

I had the Audi for about a week. Dad asked me what I thought. I was pretty pleased, but I mentioned in passing that the radio didn't work that well. Dad's response? "OK, give it back. We'll take care of that."

He sure did:

So I drove around the Pinto in the height of the exploding-gas-tank scare; Dad didn't care. I'll always remember this car because one time when I was on the FDR Drive in Manhattan, driving at a pretty good clip, I went into a dip and came out of it in mid-air, seemingly shifting half a lane to the right in the process. Good thing it was late at night and no one was in the lane next to me.

And the vehicle for which I was famous, the body of which was festooned with duct tape to cover the rust (remember, at this point I am the potential heir to a GM dealership that had been in business for 50-something years): I give you the affectionately monikered "Ghetto Cruiser," which lasted me for about four or five years:

The quality of cars courtesy of my father finally improved when I had a wife and kids who were riding around in them.

A gas credit card billed to someone else's account sure sounds good now, though.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Something about This Rang My Bell

Quote from the work desk. Longtime followers of this blog -- hell, my life -- know that the matter of religion has disturbed/fascinated me since before the bar mitzvah that I was committed to for all the wrong reasons. How many functioning atheists of Jewish descent see the Abbey of Gethsemani as the ideal retreat?

Hang in there with this. It starts off a little rocky, but there's a payoff:

No theory is truly falsifiable or rationally justified, because there is no ultimate commonly agreed standard of rationality or set of premises to adjudicate on whether a theory has been falsified. This would let theology off the hook, had Bartley not gone on to formulate his own nonjustificational approach, dubbed “pancritical rationalism.” The pancritical rationalist refuses to commit to any position and holds everything open to criticism—not just any theory that he adopts, but also the criteria for rationality and the premises from which he starts.

I believe that Bartley goes rather too far. Yes, our beliefs, including our most cherished theological beliefs, should be open to criticism, but that ought not to preclude our being committed to them—otherwise, intellectual and moral paralysis set in. Commitment ought not to constitute a retreat so much as a launching pad for further inquiry. As Michael Polanyi puts it in Personal Knowledge, “The principal purpose of this book is to achieve a frame of mind in which I may hold firmly to what I believe to be true, even though I know that it may conceivably be false.”

So, there you go. Maybe "agnostic" is a better term. I've read books about Polanyi, not that I could understand a word of them. Sounds like this quote is from a preface anyway. I probably couldn't get past the roman numerals.