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

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Clear Sign of Alzheimer's in McCain

Totally unprepared, unknown Sarah Palin, a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States. That choice is the clearest sign yet that John McCain has Alzheimer's disease. Please, someone in power—insist that McCain get a medical examination immediately, done by a nonpartisan physician.

Friday, August 29, 2008

One Hell of a Home Run

America's futureLast night, Barack Obama gave the best damn speech he could've given. For all of those folks who constantly claim (falsely) that Obama never gives specifics, he gave them again. Obama is a talented leader who cannot be knocked down. And he's one of us.

The specifics:
Let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes—cut taxes—for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy—wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American—if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses, and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime—by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less—because we cannot meet twenty-first-century challenges with a twentieth-century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility—that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell—but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice—but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush–McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans—Democrats and Republicans—have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future. ...

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise—the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

Yes, he can.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Only 88 Years

Hey, all of you American women watching the Democratic National Convention! Do you realize that we've had the right to vote for only 88 years? Today is our anniversary. We gained the right to vote 88 years ago today.

We've only just begun to show 'em what we can do. After Barack Obama has had 8 years to start turning this country around, we'll elect a fantastic woman for president, someone with higher ideals, fewer corporate ties, and much less Machiavellian than Hillary Clinton.

Monday, August 25, 2008

You're Never Too Old ...

Your account has been disabledYou're never too old to do something stupid.

I had recently set up a profile on Facebook. I've become addicted to playing the word games Scramble and WordScraper with my friends there. No, that's not the stupid part.

I pride myself on knowing better than to succumb to phishing e-mails or spam of any kind. I never, ever click on links in e-mails from people and organizations I don't know, and I use my antivirus scanning software on all attachments that I even think I might want to open. But we all know where pride goeth ...

This morning, before I'd had any caffeine (tea), I stupidly clicked on the link to a video in an e-mail purporting to be from a good cyberfriend and sent through the Facebook interface. It made sense to get such a message from her because she does sometimes send me links to funny and legitimate videos. And then the spam hit the fan, and Facebook disabled my profile. I'd fallen victim to a Facebook worm, which sent out spam to everyone on my friend list at Facebook.

I've written Facebook a polite message explaining the situation, noting that I've eradicated the worm by using Spybot Search & Destroy, and requesting that my profile be reinstated; I'm still waiting to hear back. I'm hoping that they'll find, in their files, my recent complaint about another Facebook profile illegally using my copyrighted artwork (a case that was satisfactorily resolved) and will think, Oh, well, no one complaining about copyright violation would go around spamming people on purpose. But that's just hope at the moment.

Updated 12:14 p.m., 8/26/08: I'm back on Facebook. Yay!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Freudian Prick ... Er ... Slip?

Oh, I love starting the workday out with a good typo-induced laugh.

In this Associated Press story (or here), scroll about halfway down and read the sentence with the appositive about Senator Joe Lieberman. Do you think that the reporter made a Freudian slip?

Hat tip to Words at Work

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Guide on the AD/HD Roller Coaster

Got a partner with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) or think that your partner might have it? Then get yourself over to these two new blogs: ADHD Roller Coaster and The ADHD Partner Survey: Charting the ADHD Roller Coaster's Thrills and Spills.

They're by Gina Pera, journalist and author of the new book Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? I find Gina's approach in the book and on her new blogs exciting: Yes, having a partner with AD/HD can drive you batty sometimes, but it's not all gloom and doom; things can get better. That's been my experience with my husband, Ed. Ed's 47 and I'm 49. We've been married for 15 years now, and his AD/HD was diagnosed when he was 39 or 40—yes, things were so crazy for a while that we can't remember the diagnosis year for sure!—but we've settled down and know how to cope with AD/HD. We're even still very much in love with each other. ;-)

Watch Gina's blogs. I'm betting, because I've started reading her book, that on her blogs she'll provide us with the same understanding, encouragement, and common sense that can be found in the book. And that's just what couples with AD/HD in the house need.

P.S. Subscribe to Attention magazine, produced by the advocacy organization CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder). Try to get the August issue, because you'll want to read the first in a series of articles by Gina about people who have AD/HD but insist that they don't. The article in the August issue is entitled "The Biology of Denial: Not Unwilling to See—Just Unable." Here's the August issue's table of contents.

Friday, August 15, 2008

How Publishing Doesn't Work

Bwahahaha! Here's a common fantasy of how publishing works:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Self-Employed? How to Avoid Overwork

An editor colleague of mine posted to an editing-related e-mail list that we both subscribe to, asking how to avoid overwork and burnout. My advice for her, which I'm sharing with you now, consisted of steps to take in both the work and personal arenas.

Like my colleague, I'm in the overload zone right now, through no fault of my own. An earlier project, a multiauthor monograph, didn't end when it was supposed to have done so; new article manuscripts from procrastinating authors are still coming in while I've already begun work for a new-to-me client on a single-author textbook with very tight weekly manuscript batch deadlines.

Work overload can damage your health and peace of mind, and that's what you need to pay the most attention to. After all, if you're not healthy or are burned out—or both—you won't be able to do your best work ... or any work, eventually.

In Your Work Life
You need to do two things regarding work:

  1. Continually market your services, even when you have plenty of work, so that you don't end up with the dry spells that you have had and rightly fear. Do a little bit of marketing—from brainstorming about how to reach new clients to actually reaching out to them—every single workday.
  2. Learn to say no when you have to.

    Contrary to the conventional wisdom among editorial freelancers that you should never turn away a client because you are too busy, or that client will never come back, turning away work (or postponing it or referring it to a colleague) can make you more attractive to clients. After all, if you're in that much demand, they'll reason, you must be good! I know that things have worked this way for me, and I know a couple of other colleagues for whom they work the same way.

    When you have to tell a client that your time is booked (which I'll have to tell my other clients shortly, because my time is tentatively booked through late November for upcoming book projects), thank them for once again having sought out your services, see if there's a way to postpone the work or refer it to another colleague, and make sure to get back in touch with them again soon so that they don't think that you've forgotten them. Doing this has ensured that clients I've had to turn away do come back to me. In fact, the new-to-me client whose textbook I'm working on right now first approached me a few years ago. Several times, we tried to line up a project, but either their schedule or mine couldn't accommodate a joint venture. I kept in contact and so did they, and now here we are, working together happily at last.

    Don't be afraid of making referrals, either; when I've done this for clients, it's only increased my value in their eyes, because they see me as an experienced freelancer with good connections, someone with whom they should keep in contact to get the help they need and someone who cares about their business needs.

I've been following these two policies for years now, and it's been years since I've had a dry spell ... and the United States is even in a economic recession at the moment.

In Your Personal Life
You need to do two things regarding your personal life:

  1. Streamline, because not everything has to be done to the nth degree.

My husband and I use a grocery-delivery service because we don't have time to physically go up and down the grocery aisles once a week to collect food for four people. Clicking buttons beside products on a computer screen is much faster! Plus, we can add items to our online shopping list as we notice that they're running low, so grocery-shopping night online doesn't entail doing all of the shopping in one sitting—just finishing up what was already started earlier in the week.

My self-employed spouse and I juggle various tasks that keep the household running. But we've loosened our definition of the phrase clean house.

We shop online for office supplies and lots of personal supplies because we don't have time to go running around to stores—plus, it saves on gasoline. I find that having more time to work, when there are time crunches, and more time to relax is worth paying shipping or delivery charges.

  • Delegate, because you alone can't do everything.

  • My mother-in-law (in-laws live in our house) runs to the bank to make deposits for us; makes mini runs to the store for soy milk, bread, etc., on our behalf; and sometimes takes our sons on outings in the summer.

    Our children help with chores around the house—doing laundry, cleaning dishes, sweeping floors, taking out the garbage.
    If you're single and don't have a roommate or don't have relatives nearby, you probably have friends with whom you can trade off tasks. Set up a safety net of friends. It'll help you and it'll help them.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    An Olympian I Can Cheer For

    Swimmer Michael Phelps; photo by Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty imagesI haven't been watching the Olympics on TV or reading online coverage of them because I'm unhappy about China's records on human rights and pollution. (As if the U.S. has done loads better in those two arenas!) And like some of you, I'm not fond of all of the American TV networks' penchant for doing all of those life stories on the athletes.

    But a sports story about American swimmer Michael Phelps and all of his gold medals did catch my attention, because Michael has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), which my husband, two sons, and both in-laws have. Around our house, we're always looking for success stories about people with AD/HD, especially to show our sons that even with a neurobehavioral disorder, people can do well with their talents and a lot of determination.

    Then I was sent a link to this feature story in ADDitude Magazine on Michael, a story that I can cheer about:
    No doubt about it, Michael Phelps has made waves in his chosen sport. In 2004, at the age of 18, he swam his way to eight medals (six of them gold) at the summer Olympics in Athens. Now 21, he holds 13 world records, including the 200-meter butterfly and the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay.

    Yet Michael might not have loved swimming at all, were it not for the ingenuity of his mother, Debbie Phelps. "At age seven, he hated getting his face wet," says Debbie. "We flipped him over and taught him the backstroke."

    Michael showed swimming prowess on his back, then on his front, side, and every way in between. But in the classroom, he floundered. An inability to concentrate was his biggest problem.

    "I was told by one of his teachers that he couldn’t focus on anything," says Debbie. She consulted a doctor, and nine-year-old Michael was diagnosed with ADHD.

    "That just hit my heart," says Debbie. "It made me want to prove everyone wrong. I knew that, if I collaborated with Michael, he could achieve anything he set his mind to."
    Be sure to go read the rest of Michael's story.

    Page 1 of the article is about Ty Pennington, star of the TV series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and another AD/HD hero around here. As wild and crazy as Ty can be on the show, that's with medication to help focus him. ;-) The severity of his AD/HD reminds me of my older son's. Page 3 is about Danielle Fisher, the youngest person to have scaled 7 of the world's highest mountains.

    These three people are successes because they got a diagnosis, got assistance, and have families who stand behind them. It just goes to show that personal success is all about ADDitude!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    A Day in the Life of a Freelancer

    I bring to you an "ick" moment in the life of a freelance copyeditor:

    I got up from my desk to get something. I happened to glance at the floor, and I spotted a plop of something there. If I hadn't immediately recalled that my teenage son had recently walked through the area while eating peanut butter and that he tends not to notice the messes that he leaves behind, I'd have been grossed out at the thought that maybe our cat had developed diarrhea and had not had the time to make it to the litter box.

    Things like that don't happen so much in employers' offices. Don't you wish you were self-employed too? ;-)

    Wednesday, August 06, 2008

    Happy Birthday to Me!

    I'm 49 and I'm feelin' fine. :-))

    Monday, August 04, 2008

    Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?

    Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?Holy distraction antidote, am I ever pumped! I just received an advance copy of what looks to be a great new book, Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder, by Gina Pera (publisher: 1201 Alarm Press).

    Gina and I corresponded by e-mail a few months ago, and she told me about her soon-to-be-published book (it's coming out August 31). Like me, she is the partner of a wonderful, brilliant, good man who has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). I've been living the roller coaster for 15 happy but crazy and sometimes extremely frustrating years, especially because like my husband (Ed), our two sons, ages 6 and 13, also have AD/HD, and so do my in-laws, who live in the downstairs apartment within our home. Ed and the boys all take medication for the disorder and we all work on behavioral modification for all of them. My father-in-law takes an antidepressant that helps a bit with his AD/HD, but he refuses to take any of the first-line AD/HD meds, some of which he can't take because of his high blood pressure (treated by other medication). My mother-in-law's AD/HD is undiagnosed, but it's obvious that she has it. Also, I take an antidepressant, partly because I'm apparently genetically prone to depression but also because of situational depression caused by being the sole occupant of the House of AD/HD who doesn't have the disorder.

    I'm so excited about Gina's book because there is very little out there for non-AD/HD partners of people with AD/HD about coping with these intimate relationships. After all, it has been only a decade or so that the medical literature has admitted that if children have AD/HD, they usually don't outgrow it. That means that there are loads of adults who feel like square pegs forced into round holes—who have undiagnosed AD/HD that affects every aspect of their lives, including long-term intimate relationships. For years, even therapists didn't know how to deal with couples in which one or both partners had AD/HD, because they didn't know that adults could have AD/HD ... and so they often gave counterproductive relationship advice to these couples, including Ed and me.

    My wonderful Ed and I have, over the years, cobbled together our own way of dealing with the effects of the neurobehavioral disorder, but now, it will be great to see what Gina's "support group in a book," as it is billed, has to say. Finally, someone else who has lived my life and knows that I'm not insane or evil for both loving my husband yet simultaneously feeling sometimes as if he's intentionally trying to drive me bats! That's a comfort, because I'm totally open about AD/HD and its effects on my marriage and family life—with Ed's full permission—in an effort to inform people about AD/HD and make it real to them, yet some real-life listeners and some readers here have felt uncomfortable. They don't understand because they haven't been where I've been. They don't know how to separate the disorder from the person who has it, so they've sometimes mistaken my complaints about AD/HD behaviors for complaints about Ed. Nyah, nyah! I haven't been making up the stories I've been telling for years! Told ya so! Told ya so!

    You can bet that I'll be diving into Gina's book immediately so that I can review it here. Meanwhile, in just skimming, I see enough good things about it to tell all of you non-AD/HD partners of people with AD/HD to run—yes, run—to the bookstore or your computer to order a copy of the book. Here's an excerpt from the table of contents:

    • Financial Loop-the-Loops: "It's Only Money, Honey!"

    • Peaks and Valleys: ADHD in the Bedroom

    • Strategies for Right Now

    • Psychological Denial: The FEAR Factor

    • New Ways to Broach "The Conversation"

    • Why the Wrong Therapy Is Worse Than No Therapy [a hot spot for Ed and me]

    • Therapy That Works for ADHD

    • Making Connections Between Brain and Behavior

    • Rx: Treatment Results That Last

    • In Their Own Words: Three Views from Decades on the ADHD Roller Coaster

    Friday, August 01, 2008

    Friday Funnies

    This is how an STM (scientific, technical, medical) editor might approach the Declaration of Independence as a manuscript:

    July 10, 1776

    Mr. Thomas Jefferson
    c/o The Continental Congress
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Dear Mr. Jefferson:

    We have read your "Declaration of Independence" with great interest. Certainly, it represents a considerable undertaking, and many of your statements do merit serious consideration. Unfortunately, the Declaration as a whole fails to meet recently adopted specifications for proposals to the Crown, so we must return the document to you for further refinement. The questions which follow might assist you in your process of revision:

    1. In your opening paragraph you use the phrase "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God." What are these laws? In what way are they the criteria on which you base your central arguments? Please document with citations from the recent literature.

    2. In the same paragraph you refer to the "opinions of mankind." Whose polling data are you using? Without specific evidence, it seems to us the "opinions of mankind" are a matter of opinion.

    3. You hold certain truths to be "self-evident." Could you please elaborate. If they are as evident as you claim then it should not be difficult for you to locate the appropriate supporting statistics.

    Read the rest here.

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