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.

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.