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

Friday, September 26, 2008

If We're Talking Alaska, It Must Be About Palin

The rare snickering Alaska mooseThe afternoon mail just arrived, and in it was a postcard from Alaska.

Says my mate, getting ready to start one of his several-times-a-day anti-Republican rants, "If that's Sarah Palin asking for contributions, she can just shove it where the sun don't shine." (Yes, there is a downside to having two self-employed people in the house all day, every day: It's nonstop Rant-O-Palooza here, and it'll stay that way until after the November election.)

"Honey, wait," I reply. "It's from our friends Don and Lisa. Remember? They're vacationing in Alaska." (And as Democrats in Palin country, they had to remain undercover at all times.)

Poor mate. His reason for ranting was just taken right out from under him. Ah, well. He'll have plenty more reasons tonight, when we watch the presidential candidates debate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brain Scans for Presidential Candidates?

Brain MRI (image courtesy of Widipedia)Daniel G. Amen, a neuropsychiatrist and brain-imaging expert well known for his work with autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, suggests that all U.S. presidential candidates should be required to undergo brain scans so that we know if they have any brain dysfunction:
What do Rudy Giuliani's messy personal life, John McCain's temper and Hillary Clinton's inability to seem authentic have in common? Maybe nothing. They may be just overblown issues in the otherwise normal lives of candidates under the political microscope.

Such symptoms, however, may mean a lot—such as evidence of underlying brain dysfunction. Sometimes people with messy personal lives have low prefrontal cortex activity associated with poor judgment; sometimes people with temper problems have brain damage and impulse control problems; sometimes people who struggle with authenticity have trouble really seeing things from someone else's perspective. ...

Seems a bit too invasive to me, but then again, as Amen wrote:
Three of the last four presidents have shown clear brain pathology. President Reagan's Alzheimer's disease was evident during his second term in office. Nonelected people were covering up his forgetfulness and directing the country's business. Few people knew it, but we had a national crisis. Brain studies have been shown to predict Alzheimer's five to nine years before people have their first symptoms.

President Clinton's moral lapses and problems with bad judgment and excitement-seeking behavior—indicative of problems in the prefrontal cortex—eventually led to his impeachment and a poisonous political divisiveness in the U.S. The prefrontal cortex houses the brain's supervisor, involved with conscience, forethought, planning, attention span and judgment. ...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weekend Granddaughter Blogging

I haven't posted any photos of my granddaughter, Ana, in a while, so this shot's overdue. This is my adorable 16-month-old girl eating a fast-food lunch. She brought her mommy and daddy over to our house for a visit this afternoon. The way she runs is so cute, and she talks a lot. And of course Grandma and Grandpa just love it when she raises her little arms for them to pick her up. There's nothing more soft and snuggly than a toddler. She grins and lets me kiss her belly and her cheeks fairly often. I'm hooked!

Lunchtime for Ana

Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain Has POW Skeletons in His Closet

Sydney Schanberg, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who has been reporting on foreign affairs about as long as I've been alive and wrote the book (The Death and Life of Dith Pran) on which the 1984 movie The Killing Fields was based, has written a huge investigative piece about John McCain and McCain's alleged role in a coverup about American prisoners of war in Vietnam. McCain the Vietnam war hero has POW skeletons in his closet that need to come out before some people try to elect the man.

A big chunk of Schanberg's piece has been posted to the online version of The Nation; the print version is scheduled to carry the piece in the October 6 issue. Here are snippets from the online portion:
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW ... hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero people would logically imagine to be a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books. ...

The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a Special Forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington and even sworn testimony by two defense secretaries that "men were left behind." This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—probably hundreds—of the US prisoners held in Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain. ...

McCain has hardly been alone in this hide-the-scandal campaign. The Arizona senator has actually been following the lead of every White House since Richard Nixon's and thus of every CIA director, Pentagon chief and National Security Adviser, among many others (including Dick Cheney, who was George H.W. Bush's defense secretary). ...

And the full piece, with illustrating documents, is online at the Nation Institute, whose Investigative Fund provided research support for the story. A snippet from that longer piece:
... [Staff members of the] Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs ... made the following finding, using intelligence reports marked "credible" that covered POW sightings through 1989: "There can be no doubt that POWs were alive ... as late as 1989." That finding was never released. Eventually, much of the staff was in rebellion. ...
Schanberg's belief is that McCain made a deal with his captors to get him out of Hanoi and that McCain's helping keep secret records showing that POWs were purposely left behind is part of that deal. He implies too that the pressure of keeping all of this inside for decades is what makes McCain such an angry, bitter man.

McCain is a very frightening story in so many ways. Why is the mainstream media so in love with him that it never checks very far into his past?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cookbook by the World's Best Copyeditors

Cookbook: More Food for ThoughtI am pleased as pumpkin chiffon praline pie* to announce that the second Copyediting-L (aka CE-L) cookbook, More Food for Thought, is available for sale in the CE-L store. I was its production editor.

I am also pleased to say that it looks terrific. That's what Wire-O bindinghappens when professionals write and produce a book! The book is a very reasonably priced at $25 for 320 pages, with 225 recipes from 96 contributors from around the world. It's Wire-O bound so that it conveniently lies flat when it's open.

The CE-Lery (aka denizens of the Copyediting-L e-mail list) are some of the most intelligent, detail-oriented, and helpful people around. Of course, you'd expect nothing less than a fine and sure hand in the kitchen from such folks. In this cookbook, you'll find their favorite recipes for everything from Cheese Scones to Green Chile Bread Pudding, from Tomato Pie to "Mom's on Deadline" Tortellini, from Myke's Escargots à la Romaine to Plummy Mushrooms, from Moambe to Killer Jamabalaya ... and even recipes for potpourri and drain cleaners.

Generous folks that they are, the CE-Lery are donating all profits from cookbook sales (meaning all amounts above the base price charged by store host CafePress.com) and all other items in the CE-L store to charity: to the Grace Meredyth Lovegrove Scholarship at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. Grace was the daughter of CE-L listmate Richard Lovegrove.

Buy a copy for yourself; buy copies for gifts. Tell friends about the book. Send your relatives the link: http://www.cafepress.com/copyeditingl.303904398.

*There are no recipes for punch in the cookbook, so I can't be pleased as punch. ;-)

McCain Invented the BlackBerry!

McCain invented the BlackBerry
MIAMI (AP)—Move over, Al Gore. You may lay claim to the Internet, but John McCain helped create the BlackBerry.

At least that's the contention of a top McCain policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Waving his BlackBerry personal digital assistant and citing McCain's work as a senator, he told reporters Tuesday, "You're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create."

McCain has acknowledged that he doesn't know how to use a computer and can't send e-mail, one of the BlackBerry's prime functions. ...
Um ... reality? No, I don't think that McCain or his staff is familiar with it. Why do you ask?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How to Make a Grown Editor Cry

I want to go to BeijingCopyeditors edit for money and for the pleasure of dealing with words. But sometimes we do our work because we know just how much it helps authors. One of my repeat ESL (English as a second language) clients, an orthopedic surgeon from China who apparently just got a promotion, sent me this lovely message tonight:
Dear Katharine:

I just took a glance of the revised paper. I am deeply moved. You must have spent great effort on revising it.

Now I am the chief of the Adult Reconstructive Surgery department, I am fueling my junior staffs to do more research, so we will continuously need your help. If you get a chance to visit China, please kindly let me know. I am very happy to arrange some part of your trip in Beijing and invite you to visit our department.

That's the first author note that ever made me feel like crying. What a sweetheart! And what a humbling honor to be so trusted.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Don't Like Ike

Ike's bearing down on my familyEarlier today, this was the predicted path of Hurricane Ike, which may make landfall tomorrow night.

My sister, Becky (yes, my daughter is named after her), and her family live in the area of the lower yellow-and-blue star that I've placed on the map. My brother, Wally, and his partner, Roger, live in the area of the top yellow-and-blue star.

All of them went through the attempted mass exodus from the Houston area when Hurricane Rita blew through in 2005. This time, my sister's saying that she's staying put, but Wally and Roger plan try to head out for Lafayette, Louisiana, tomorrow morning.

I cannot allow myself to think anything but that they will all be fine, especially because Wally is not only my brother but also one of my best friends. I'll be keeping my cell phone on 24 hours a day for the next couple of days. I'll also be fingering the lovely stones on what I use as a worry chain that was made for me my a sweet friend when my nephew, Jordan (Becky's son), was shipped to Iraq as a member of the Marine Reserves.

Updated at 3 p.m., 9/12/08: Got a call from my brother. He, Rita (his dog), and Roger have made it to Lafayette, about 200 miles away from home. Both guys work for the same company, which has a branch there in Lafayette. The staff members there have put aside food and drink for the guys, and there's even a shower available, so they'll have a place to stay for a few days. I'm hoping that they'll be safer there than they would've been in the Houston area, and I really hope that when they get back, their homes are still standing and relatively unscathed. I've called my sister's house, but no one is answering the phone. She is directly in Ike's path. I'm scared.

Updated at 3:55 p.m., 9/13/08: My brother has spoken with people from his neighborhood who stayed put, and his house is fine. He, Roger, and Rita will head back home from Louisiana tomorrow or Monday, depending on road and power conditions.

My sister, who stayed in her home with her children, said her home is fine too. There was some water seepage under her front door but no flooding or wind damage to her home.


"In the Seventh Year"

And in the seventh year after the fall, the dust and debris of the towers cleared. And it became plain at last what had been wrought.

For the wreckage begat greed; and it came to pass that while America’s young men and women fought, other Americans enriched themselves. Beguiling the innocent, they did backdate options, and they did package toxic mortgage securities and they did reprice risk on the basis that it no more existed than famine in a fertile land.
On the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, each of us needs to read all of Roger Cohen's column in the New York Times.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Admiring Talent, Continued

The finished work of artEarlier this week, I posted a new entry from the files of My Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm. Ed finished installing the dry bar–media unit today, so go check out the last two photos on this page of his business web site to see the unit in its full glory.

The middle section has glass shelving all around the wine rack, and the four top cabinet doors—one larger one on each side of the wine rack and two small ones above the wine rack—have been installed. All of them have glass faces inside wood frames.

Ed is done for now. The home owner will have to choose knobs for the cabinet doors, which Ed can later install. And the painting subcontractor will install that really tall crown molding—the molding that is atop the beigy wall behind the dry bar–media unit—across the top of the new unit.

And now comes the sweet part: the contractor paying Ed the final portion of his fee.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Admiring Talent

dry bar–media unitYou know, I've been married to Ed for 15 years now, and I'm still quite impressed with his cabinetmaking skills. So it's time for another episode from the files of My Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm.

I just threw together a quickie page on his web site because I wanted to show you his latest project: a combo bar and media unit. Its lines are very simple and elegant. He's almost finished installing it—needs another day—at the Hamptons summer home of a family from Philadelphia.

The middle photo on that page shows all the lower cabinets, including a small bar refrigerator (the one with vents at the bottom), installed. The top cabinets are in place, but their doors aren't yet on; the doors will have glass inserts.

The bottom photo shows the wine rack glued into place and held there with clamps and a jig (defined by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, online, as "a device used to maintain mechanically the correct positional relationship between a piece of work and the tool or between parts of work during assembly"—in other words, a pattern of sorts) from the project. The mini fridge is out of the way temporarily to allow Ed to climb onto the countertop. The beadboard (wood with vertical lines) inside the left and right top cabinets wasn't bought already done; he scored the wood himself.

When the installation is complete, the job's painters will install that really tall crown molding, which you now see atop the beigy wall in the third photo that appears to head back to the entryway, across the top of Ed's unit, up where it meets the ceiling. I wish you could see the unit in person. The colored varnish that he used on it went on smooth as glass. If you touch it, it feels as if there's no wood under it. It's not my taste—I like to see the wood and its glorious grain without staining—but it's gorgeous.

My guy sure is talented. ... Oh—and he's nice too. :-)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Recommended by the Big-Leaguers

Chicago Manual of Style, 15th editionHey, freelance copyeditors! Dithering about whether joining the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) is valuable? Well, dither no more. A colleague just posted this to the EFA mailing list, and I repost it here with her permission:
Check out this new question on the Chicago Manual of Style Web site. At first I took offense at the question, but then I read the answer!

Q. I've been unable to find any competent freelance editors. Do you offer any editing services?

A. No, I'm sorry—we pretty much have our hands full here with Chicago's books. You might try the Web site of the Editorial Freelancers Association: http://www.the-efa.org/.
One of the major style manuals in the United States thinks that the EFA is worthy of referrals. And if you become a member (as I have been since 1995), your entry just might be the one that potential clients choose from the online member directory.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Understanding the Roller Coaster of AD/HD

Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?If you know very little about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) or even nothing at all about it but are in a long-term relationship that's hitting too many road bumps, this post is for you.

Mental-health professionals have been doing married couples and long-term romantic partners a huge disservice for years by not mentioning the possibility that some of the hurtful behaviors in these relationships can be symptoms of AD/HD. And if a therapist brought up this issue to you and your partner, wouldn't you then feel relieved because you had something to work on together to make things better? In all fairness, though, not that many therapists knew, until recently, that adults could have AD/HD, so with all good intentions and without meaning to, they sometimes sent couples in which there was AD/HD down the path to hell—because it was the wrong path.

If this sounds like your life, get yourself over to this web site and read about an essential book: Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? I've been married for 15 years to a sweetheart of a man whom I've known for 7 years has AD/HD, and Is It You is still helpful to me.

You'll also want to check out author Gina Pera's blogs, here and here. And then buy the book and start understanding your life.

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