KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Obama and Not Clinton?

Because life around my house is so hectic these days, other bloggers keep beating me to the punch in articulating why I will be voting for Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton. I applaud this open letter to Clinton, though I've backed Obama from the start:
... What is different? [Obama] calls me to my best. You ask me to excuse your worst. When he speaks, he is inclusive. He calls Americans as a collective to stand for better things. You tell me what you will do with the singular “I”. I have had enough of the singular. I have had enough disenfranchisement. I don’t want someone to do FOR me, I want to work toward a goal WITH someone. I want to see the rest of this decade and the next become a time in our country where we all sacrifice time, talent, and effort as a group to make this country better.

I want to pick up a newspaper and read what we have done to make this world better, not what we’ve done to hurt others. And I want the leader, the President, to lead that call and that charge. He will make mistakes. He will have the old-guard scorched earth remaining Rovians to contend with, as would you. But in this time, in this era, what I see is you and Mr. Clinton climbing into the gutter with them, and I see Mr. Obama stepping over them onto the next step toward a better country and a better life. ...

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union

Even the Lolcats' imitators are tired of Bushco.

I want my country back

Friday, January 25, 2008

What Were They Thinking?

If you intend to use the services of the U.S. drugstore chain Rite Aid, you might want to be aware of something really stupid that at least some of the stores in the chain do. This is what I just e-mailed to the company:
I'm concerned about something that I'm told is store policy and may be company policy.

On January 25, 2008, I went to store #XXXXX and dropped off several medication prescriptions to be filled. I handed the woman behind the pharmacy counter (I don't know if she was a technician or a pharmacist) my health-insurance ID card. I said that I would return the next morning to pick up my medications. I expected that she would record my insurance information and give my card back to me. However, she told me that it was store policy to keep insurance cards until customers pick up their medications, in case problems arise and the cards are needed for a double-check. I left the store with my card in her keeping, but it occurred to me later in the evening that such a policy puts customers and Rite Aid at risk.

What if I were to have a myocardial infarction or some other medical emergency overnight and was unable to produce my health-insurance card at the local hospital emergency department? After all, I am 48 and have several risk factors, including a strong family history of heart disease, for myocardial infarction. Would I be denied life-saving care? Now, I do have other family members who are covered by the same health-insurance policy, so one of them could produce their own card, from which the hospital could track down my insurance information. But what about someone who has no family and lives alone? Who would know about that person's insurance details to tell the hospital? Who would know that that person's insurance card was sitting in some local Rite Aid's pharmacy with the person's prescription medication?

I strongly suggest that Rite Aid consult its attorneys about the risk to customers of such a foolish policy—and about the risk of wrongful-death lawsuits filed by customers' families.
When I called the store back after getting home and before e-mailing the corporation, I asked why the pharmacy couldn't just photocopy my card. I was told that the store didn't have a photocopier and that if questions about insurance coverage arose and the card wasn't on hand, the prescriptions wouldn't be filled until the pharmacy could have me bring my card back again. I told the pharmacist that I wanted my card back and that my husband was out and about on errands of his own, so he'd be dropping by to get the card. They had my meds ready when he showed up.

If I get a response of any value from the corporation, I'll post it.

Updated 11:05 a.m., 1/27/08: I got an answer, by e-mail, from the chain's local district manager:
Thank you for contacting us and letting us know about your experience at our East Setauket location. Your concern is valid. We will speak with the staff at this location, and look into recording pertinent information from the insurance card while our patients are still in our pharmacy, as to not have our patients leave the pharmacy without it. We want all of our patients to feel comfortable about their experiences at our locations, as well as develop a trusted relationship with the staff. I apologize for the experience you had, and thank you for taking the time [to inform us about] your visit and allowing us to address the issue. We look forward to seeing you again, and if there is anything further I can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you, and have a great day.
I have to drop off another prescription at that store today. It'll be interesting to see what they want to do with my card.

Updated 4:49 p.m., 1/28/08: My husband dropped off another prescription for me today. The person behind the pharmacy counter handed back my health-insurance ID card, no questions asked. I guess the problem's resolved, at least at the Rite Aid near me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Master Cabinetworks, Inc.Woohoo! If I were in good enough shape, I'd be doing cartwheels right now.

I've posted (here, here, here, and here, if not even more places) about my household morphing into one supported by two full-time freelancers; I've been freelancing for 13 years, and my husband Ed just started doing so in late October after he was laid off. You've read my tales of all that's required to incorporate a business in New York State, of getting a business loan, of our adjusting to being around each other most of 24 hours a day, and our learning to juggle who's handling which parenting and household duties and when. Well, now all that hard work has paid off: Ed's cabinetmaking business has just landed its first contract for a big project!

Yeah, he's done a few very small projects since October, but those won't keep his business bank account full enough. As his bookkeeper and as our family bookkeeper, I've been sweating bullets day and night because we've just about used up the business loan by buying equipment, paying licensing fees, and paying for several insurance policies, and we still must pay 100% of our health-insurance policy premiums, pay our accountant's monthly retainer, and pay monthly insurance-policy premiums (liability, workers' comp, disability for Ed). I've been nearly our sole financial support since October, and just a couple of weeks ago, he took a part-time night job doing driving and delivery for a grocery-delivery service; he needs days free for marketing, estimating, and doing any small cabinetmaking projects that he can garner.

He's been doing loads of cold calls and calls to potential clients that he knew through his former employer. He's sent out mailings and business cards; he's handed out Master Cabinetworks coffee mugs. We've put together several project estimates and are waiting, for all but the one I'm writing about, to hear whether he will be awarded the contracts. The estimates range from $8,000 (the one that's just been accepted) for multiple cabinets in one room to nearly $100,000 for cabinetry in multiple rooms in a mansion. Oh—when he picks up the down payment of 50% of the total job cost tomorrow, he'll be taking measurements so that he can bid on another project from the same contractor. Another woohoo or three!

I can breathe now, at least long enough to say this: If you're a freelancer, keep up the marketing, no matter how scary things look, and get damn good at estimating project fees for the potential clients who come your way. It's exhausting, time-consuming work, but if you're good at what you do, it will eventually pay off, even in an economic recession.

And I know our webmaster* will be ticked at my saying this, but I'm so happy that I don't care: Please go look at Ed's business web site, which is under construction. The placeholder page is here. The work in progress can be accessed here; note that the text on all pages is mostly just a placeholder—fake Latin—for copy I'll be supplying later. Be sure to check out the Projects page. (If you like the work you see there, just wait. Those are photos of work he did 10 or more years ago; the delicious newer stuff will eventually be shown there too.) Compare the marketing strategies used for structuring his web site versus those used for mine. If you target them, they will come. ;-)

*I say our because she redid my site several years ago and is doing Ed's too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Iraq Vets Say War Crimes Are U.S. Policy

Several members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, speaking at an event in an Upstate New York café recently, said that committing war crimes in Iraq is the unofficial policy of the U.S. Army:
"The killing of innocent civilians is policy," veteran Mike Blake said. "It's unit policy and it's [a]rmy policy. It's not official policy, but it's [what] happens on the ground [every day]. It's what unit commanders individually encourage."
Read the news report and weep at how morally bankrupt America has become.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why Don't Editors Always Catch Plagiarism?

Allegations of plagiarism leveled against romance novelist Cassie Edwards have been in the news lately, causing those unfamiliar with book publishing to wonder why editors don't catch plagiarism.

For one thing, there are different kinds of editors (including acquisition editors, managing editors, production editors, and freelance copyeditors [such as I am]), each with different job responsibilities. For another, even if every editor of every stripe read 24 hours a day, none of them would be able to read everything in print everywhere, much less remember it all, to be able to compare new manuscripts against it.

Columnist Anne Marble, moderator of All About Romance, explains why completely stopping plagiarism is an impossible task for editors, though technology is making it easier to find it sometimes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Feminist's Dilemma

I support Barack ObamaStill buried under work, as seems to perpetually be the case for me lately, I did take time to read Rebecca Traister's piece in Salon today about the eagerness of the old boys' club to see Hillary Clinton defeated:
... The glee with which [Hardball's Chris] Matthews and other angry male pundits prematurely danced on Hillary's grave [before the polling places in New Hampshire closed last night] made me—for one night only—a Clinton supporter. ...
Excellent article, and I agree with a lot of it. I am decidedly a feminist ... but I can't get behind Clinton, because, as Traister wrote,
there has been nothing in [Clinton's] steady, ineluctable move to the center that I could embrace; I understood why she did it, but it cost her my support.
Clinton sold out over the years so that the boys would "let" her play in the big leagues. Even if I do think that Matthews and his woman-hating/-fearing colleagues are asses, I can't vote for Clinton out of sympathy. She's moved so much to the right of where she professed to be years ago that I now see her as mildly Republican. In light of how evil Republicans have become, that's a sin I can never get past.

Obama, you've got my vote come February 5, and here and here are a lot of the reasons.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Adolescence and My First Boy Child

I just barely succeeded this morning in keeping a grin off my face and a certain remark from rolling off my tongue, and if my 13-year-old son knew, he'd thank me.

For Christmas, his sister and brother-in-law gave him a cologne set. At the time, he thanked them but was embarrassed at anyone's thinking that he'd intentionally use scents in an effort to smell attractive to other people. So my spouse and I said nothing and put the cologne away in a bathroom cabinet.

This morning, as our son finished putting styling gel in his hair (which has become a weekday ritual just this school year) before the arrival of the school bus, the fragrance of an unfamiliar cologne wafted out of the bathroom and into the kitchen and living room. I'll do my best not to say anything, when he gets back home this afternoon, about our having had to turn on a fan to disperse the considerable scent cloud that he left behind. I'll probably manage to keep quiet; I haven't yet remarked to him how surprising I find his recent about-face on the desirability of deodorant. He used to scoff at suggestions that he use it.

If we don't pay close attention, it won't be long before the kid is shaving. And then driving. I feel old.

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