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.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

From a Neighborhood Close By, from a Neighborhood Website

Love the syntax. Use of "common" is not of this century, but it's Bristol, baby.

Christmas decorations stolen out our yard

I wanted to warn people of our area I'm at xxx xxxxxx Avenue and I enjoy decorating for everyone to enjoy and to show our Christmas spirit it's just so hard for me to believe theres some one around our neighborhood that's common enough to steal one of our very expensive light displays on side of our house. also I recently found my camper door opened at 5:00 in the morning I didn't notice anything taken probably because theres not much in there but I know it was locked so with all this please be on the lookout for suspicious people and watch out for your stuff I feel like with all the other stories on here theres definitely someone out there shopping around in our neighborhood.
And from one of the current projects—an index I'm almost enjoying. The book is set in two counties within an hour's drive of here:
Like Appalachia and the greater South, the Blue Ridge region has been perceived to have a strange relationship with modernity. Accounts of the region estimate that time was somehow warped there, yet its story mirrors that of much of the United States. As the ancestral home of the Cherokees, the Blue Ridge became a backcountry upon early European coastal settlement. It gained a reputation as remote even as it lay at the busy crossroads of early migration routes that transformed it from backcountry to frontier and then to backcountry again as settlers pushed further west. Men with money eventually turned up to exploit the mountains’ potential as a stage for industry. Missionaries followed, determined to redeem people who were already deeply Christian from the backwardness that the capitalists could not cure. By the twentieth century, folklorists had arrived to safeguard what they regarded as traditional culture, which was in danger of destruction by modernization. Government agencies declared a war on the region’s poverty in the mid-twentieth century, although they could not decide whether its backwardness or its exploitation by modern industry was to blame. Finally, environmentalists tried to repair the damage imposed by progressives of all kinds whose schemes had failed not just the people but the land as well.

How Tough Was He?

“Known as a 'rough hewn and stern featured man' who once tried to get the [Georgia Methodist] conference to censure a peer for shaving on the Sabbath . . .”

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Sentence of the Day

"Yes, I’ll face the contradiction that time can bring about a change, but until that day comes, I choose to engage in sweat equity with a penis on my own terms."

Friday, December 28, 2018

Technology Update

It's a twisted string of events, but I am now the owner of two smartphones, desiring two fewer. At least this latest one has the benefit of providing me telephone and internet service, something the former model seemed to find troublesome more often than not.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Well, Thank God That's Over


While it does usually result in some pleasurable moments, overall it's a season to loathe.

I spent a very nice five days in Denver with what constitutes pretty much the entirety of my family: my wife, our two sons, one daughter-in-law, and one daughter-in-law-apparent. While having such a small group keeps things simple, there's a little melancholy from not having a larger gathering. But both sons are with people who have large families -- and they can have them.

Neither my wife nor I came from small families, nor over-the-top large ones. We had our healthy share of aunts and uncles and cousins, and even siblings, growing up, and I knew all my grandparents into my teens. But now, for a variety of reasons, really it's just the two (or four) or us. Our kids have never had the regular presence of any family members during their lives, except for their parents and their maternal grandparents, until they passed last decade. They have exactly one first cousin, who is two years younger than me.

We went dogsledding in Breckinridge, Colorado, and I nearly only screwed everything up once, which isn't a bad percentage. Lotsa fun, and being around more dogs than people is always a good scenario. And those dogs love what they are doing and certainly lead healthier lives than I do.

But Christmas. What it's come down to is that I just loathe retail—and really, Linus, in 2018, that's what it's all about. And it's a secular holiday. Just ask any non-Christian if Christmas affects their lives. Then go ask someone at the Freewill Pentecostal Holiness Church of God the last time they had their lives interrupted by Yom Kippur.

Well, then again, Yom Kippur only covers two days. Christmas starts the day after Labor Day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Lattice Strikes Again

I'm copyediting a book that deals with national issues in 1943–1945. One of the players is Edward Stettinius, who for a time was secretary of state under FDR and Truman, and whom I have never heard of until this book.

I was distracted for a moment and landed upon Wikipedia's page for people from Staten Island. 

  • Edward Stettinius Jr. – Chairman of US Steel; left to become Secretary of State to FDR Administration; former home is now Staten Island Academy, Todt Hill. . . . [from the famous people from Staten Island page]
  • Stettinius grew up in a mansion on the family's estate on Staten Island and graduated from the Pomfret School in 1920 after which he attended the University of Virginia until 1924. [from Stettinius's page]

I doubt his former home is now Staten Island Academy, because Staten Island Academy tore down its original big schoolhouse-type structure, which very well could have been a home, in the 1970s and rebuilt its entire campus — unless the school has purchased one of the grand old Vanderbilt-era homes that borders the now much more developed campus than existed there when I lived over the hill from it.

Perhaps the former Staten Island Academy structure was Stettinius's family estate, in which case that's where I attended first through fourth grades. I had repeating dreams of launching off the tops of the big stair landings there and being able to fly. And in real life I held Beth Leventhal's hand in second grade and spoke of marriage. Years later we were in summer camp at the same place and time and both were so painfully shy we couldn't even look at much less speak to each other. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Killing Time in the Twenty-First Century

The czarina and I watched Inside Llewyn Davis a few days ago. I think that's the right spelling. Coen Brothers movie about the New York City folk music scene in, well, really you can pin it down to a few days in 1960 or 1961 based on one of the closing shots of the movie.

Even though folk music right at the moment depicted in the film's days was way too earnest for my taste, the movie did take place in the neighborhood that kinda grounded my teenage years. As I remarked when watching the movie, "I was born in the right place, just about twenty years too late."

Anyway, I'm wasting time (see title) waiting for my goddamn phone to charge up so that I can get a VPN code to log into one of my work emails. When I was in Denver last month, I showed my younger issue how, considering different programs and phone codes and all that nonsense, I had to open up nine different computer screens and phone messages just to get started. And that's what I'm doing now. Waiting. For something to charge. That. I.



Wrong century, folks.

And I hate to harp on it, but I'm still not up on the world since November 7. This—in a construction that baffled the Eurotrash we housed for a few months—is not unlike measuring sobriety. I actually clicked on one of my usual news sites today and managed to click away before it loaded. It was like sticking your head in a bar wondering if you could get back out. I am learning firsthand about the phrase "ignorance is bliss." I think there's stuff my wife wants to talk to me about or show me on TV. She said, "You can't keep this up forever." I replied, "I can keep it up as long as I want to."

So, rather than give people hell under an assumed name and enjoying and not enjoying the game, I'm here, typing to no one.

Thoughts of authors are colliding. In the resurrection, does your virtual life go with you?

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Panikkar's Getting Close

After reading a few million words of Raimon Panikkar's output over the last six years (three more years to go) and after working on maybe close to a thousand books on religion and theology over the last eighteen years (and if I had an intern with hours to kill, I'd have that person catalog my reading over that time), I finally came upon a statement that just about sums it up for me (emphases added):

Though with no attachment to the word “theology,” I would like to use it in the sense of expressing any possible reaction of Man in front of the Ultimate Mystery. . . . But if theology is understood in our above-described sense of any possible reaction of Man in front of the Ultimate, then the name logos stands for a symbol that transcends its commonly accepted concept. 

Weather Report

Turned out to be a record one-day December snowfall. Just sent to a Northeast-based press that had inquired:

Everything's fine here. We received about 10 inches. The only time we lose power is when it's 70 degrees and sunny outside, with a slight breeze blowing. As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. Of course, my car and house are encased in and surrounded by snow and ice, but we have nowhere to go. The streets are clear. The dogs are confused.

All the snow and ice around the house will be gone in a few days when the rain comes. And the side of our house where we do 100 percent of our egress and ingress is all northern exposure and the driveways are blocked by the house, so they never see the sun this time of year.

Looks like the package will arrive here on time, if they can ever figure out how to eject it from the Nutmeg State. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Winter in the South

Forecasts are calling for anywhere from 3 to 10 inches over the next few days. I think it'll be on the high end, with my vast meteorological experience, which basically comprises studying the radar and making sure I have enough materials on hand to enjoy it.

Where things get tricky in the South is the lack of preparation. I was in the middle of Snowjam '82 in Atlanta, which was an epic clusterfnck. Plenty of stories. I forget if it was during that or another weather event in Atlanta when I worked the solo 16-hour shift at Dittler Brothers, home of the late, lamented airline timetables; rigged scratch-off games; and one of my two great collections of fellow staffers. (Again, so many stories, especially from when Atlanta was still in its very early crazy-growth stage, on the cusp of the AIDS era, and I could and have and will go on.)

I loved the 16-hour shift, alone. The same South Atlanta crackers who ran the proof room said good-bye to me in daylight at 4pm, then returned at 8am the next day to find me still there. When they asked where everyone else was, I said, "Some couldn't make it. The others called in and asked me if they should come in, and I said, 'Don't bother. There's not much to do, and I'm here already. No reason to risk it.'"

8 hours @ $6.25/hr = $50
8 hours @ $9.375/ hr = $75
1 days' work (1982) = $125

And we were often told, at the last minute, "You're working 12-hour days for the rest of the week, then 12-hour days all weekend." At one point, we'd worked 42 consecutive days, often at 10 and 12 hours a day. We were the only hourly nonunion people in the printing plant. Only one person refused to work any additional hours, and that was the late Bill Leonard, whose passing was covered in this blog. He was a great proofreader and always gave off the air of, "What are you actually going to do about it?" Never received any blowback.

Monthly expenses at the time:

$150 rent
$90 "incidentals"
$60? utilities and insurance
gas and food

As I've said, I never had more money in my life than when I was making $6.25/hour: mostly because of forced perpetual overtime, no time to spend the earnings, and nothing particularly I needed to spend it on.

Oh, and I forgot the entire purpose of the post: I suspect that today's Bristol Christmas Tour of Homes will be canceled due to snow. Around here that's known as the War on Christmas.

Today'z Message from the Tubez

Something very metaphysical going on here.

"Game only saves when you enter a detainment cell."

Friday, December 7, 2018

Another Sign You're Leading a Pathetic Existence

Heaven knows that commerce ain't my bag. I'd just as soon write over everything I make to some central power if I never had to pay for anything or owe anything again. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.

I just finished signing up to pay on one of our credit cards; my dear esposa has been handling it for years, not that I'm Mr. Money Management. But the card does have my name on it . . . and it is my credit score.

So, for the infernal security questions, a ladder of four appears. Suffice it to say that these questions scare the hell out of me, unless they are the most obvious of notions:

  • In what city did you meet your wife?
  • What was your first car?
  • What's your mother's maiden name?

On all of these, I think I'll score 100 percent until I can't answer questions anymore.

For this credit card, each of the four questions offered six choices. Out of twenty-four possibilities, I could maybe answer, much less remember, four authoritatively. I tried to leave the last blank. The rest posed too many possibilities:
  • What was your first manager's name? (Hmm, what do they mean by "manager"?)
  • What was the street name where your favorite job was? (Did I have one? Which one? And what was the address? How much information do they want? What if I forget to abbreviate?)
  • After your immediate family, who would you call if you won the lottery? (Can I say the IRS?)
  • What was your favorite place to go on vacation as a child? (Geez, that's a fraught question.)

And on and on. If I knew the answers—or even had any—I'd probably remember more of the questions.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Why Everything Has to Change, Part I

You do not want to be around me when I've spent a day negotiating the US health care system and the vagaries of homeowners insurance.

Homeowners Insurance Makes No Sense

We have a quasi-ephemeral waterbound asset that was almost legislated out of existence a few years ago. Getting insurance on such a structure is not easy, and for a reason I may or may not go into here, we find ourselves needing insurance after having it for fourteen years—and unknowingly not having it for the last two. Very few insurers offer such policies, and usually then only in combination with a homeowners policy.

We went to an independent agent who said its company that insures floating cabins would not co-insure a house with an asbestos shingle roof (which has been protecting the house for ninety years). 

Whaddya think is gonna be here ninety years from now? This?

brick georgian 1930 two-story gray trim azaleas in front springtime Bristol VA USA
the old home place

Or this?

Houseboat, lake, South Holston Lake, TVA, Harris pontoon boat, reflection on water, Prius in background
the wyfe pleaser, TVA no. 4-H-174

(Although it's a little more finished now, and about ten years older.)

By the way, feel free to suggest a price on either, much preferably the former. If you live in a city with a six-figure population, you'd be amazed at how little the top joint would cost you. Come live in an area of natural beauty, deep-rooted culture, and some of the roughest-looking civilians you will ever see. And that's the septuaginarians at Kroger at one in the afternoon.

Been quite a day. And four to twelve inches of snow are in the forecast. Flushes 'em all out of the hollows to stock up on body-killing consumables.Image may contain: outdoorImage may contain: outdoorImage may contain: outdoor

How to Deliver a Timeless Rant

Reprinted without permission of HarperCollins, although I don't think Dirty Al would care. Of no particular note, this was written on my parents' second wedding anniversary.


America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.   
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.   
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.   
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.   
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?   
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid I’m not sorry.   
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.   
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.   
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over from Russia.
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?   
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.   
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.   
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that jetplanes 1400 miles an hour and twentyfive-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother Bloor the Silk-strikers’ Ewig-Weibliche made me cry I once saw the Yiddish orator Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have been a spy.
America you don’t really want to go to war.
America its them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.   
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.   
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.   
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
Berkeley, January 17, 1956

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Six Steps to Enjoying Your Editorial Work Environment

1. For a variety of reasons, have the thermostat set at 57 degrees through about four or five winters in one's home.

2. Develop Reynaud's Syndrome, so that the longer digits on one's right hand turn a deathly, pasty, waxy white while sitting in one's office, which is surrounded on three sides by brick and drafty ninety-year-old windows, with no insulation above and garage below.

3. Go into hock to get the damn heat pump replaced.

4. Turn thermostat to 68 degrees.

5. Puzzle through about half an hour of not knowing how to respond to the climate change without weeping.

6. Get over it, and get back to the production line. Too bad the line is suffering temporary difficulties because the current project is a complete nightmare.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

State of the Mascot

If you think taking a decent selfie with a basset hound might be hard, try walking one.

Make Your Donation to Wikimedia

I just did. Any editorial professional who doesn't give at least something to these folks should be ashamed. You know you use it.

As Damon Runyon might have written, "Do not be a welch."

And a Happy Hanukkah to All

Shiksa goddess and I just lit the first night of Hanukkah candles. Each year when I put out our Hanukkah flag, I am reminded of the time that our flag was set on fire. This was not a random occurrence; the perps were former classmates of my older son. Nor was it isolated: a few years later, another of his former classmates left a flare on top of one of our cars. Even though I got the license plate as it drove off, the police said that the plate itself was not an indicator of who left the flare. When I asked if the owners had reported the car stolen, no answer was forthcoming.

We'd taken these boys on vacation, etc. Hate conquers all.

And from the "Oh, that's no big deal; boys will be boys" department, in eighth grade, when the class was asked in art class to do something in the style of a well-known artist, the latter perp did a Warhol Campbell's Soup can, with the final s in Campbell's and the first s in Soup in the style of the Schutzstaffel. Nothing to see here; move along. When I saw the reports from Charlottesville in 2017, I could clearly imagine that kid's face among the tiki lights.

Such it is that, after 58 years and in this time in our nation's history, I'm fairly damn proud of Jews making it this long—and to be one of them.

I remember the words of my dear great-aunt Etta Kaganov: "Bobby, it doesn't matter what you say you are. When the Nazis come back, they're gonna get you too."

Not if, but when

Aunt Ettie was one of a kind—and probably no small influence on where I've ended up in my life. Aunt Ettie was a New York City schoolteacher for 50 years or so. When I was four years old, she used to take me to her principal and others in the school system who didn't believe I could read the New York Times at that age. Now I'm scared to look at it.

Still haven't seen the news. That's since November 7. Shiksa goddess and I were going out to eat yesterday, and I noticed the flags were at half-staff. She told me that H.W. had died, figuring I'd at least want to be informed of that and that it wouldn't harm me too badly. I had some problems with H.W. (I don't think any former CIA chief should be president), but in retrospect, he may have been the last of the liberal Republicans—at least in the 1980 primaries. What I'd give for a few of those right now.