Today is Sunday October 16, 2011

Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Salon Magazine’s Cary Tennis wrote in the October 13, 2011 issue titled “No, I can’t edit your manuscript for free.”

Cary writes about books for a living, so people think he’d love to critique their prose.

This was just what I needed to be prompted to write a blog entry on the subject. I read a lot, and am a member of  a book club (reading group) that really doesn’t have a name, but we do have a website the Facebook page” href=”″>as well as a Google Blog at .

Among ourselves, we speak of “the bookclub” in referring to our group. We’ve been meeting since 1989, usually on Thursday nights once a month (loosely followed).

In a typical month I get three requests for critiques, reviews, testimonials, etc.  I have  a full-time job, and am amazed to think that authors really think a complete stranger is going to spend a few hours to read their book and to write a review or critique as a courtesy (no compensation).

“Angry Books Writer”  wrote to Cary (Salon’s ‘Advice Columnist’ and wrote, in part,  “But, even if I had the knowledge they seek, why should I use it to benefit them? Reading and editing a manuscript would take a helluva long time. What’s more, it’s work, work that other people get paid for.

Cary advised the exact same strategy that I came up with. If someone asks you to do something you don’t have time to do, charge money for it so that it can realize a higher place in the hierarchy of your “to do” list. I figured out how much I make on an hourly basis, tacked on 30% (remember, this is overtime!) , estimated the time required, and gave a quote.

Nobody that I’ve sent a quote to has chosen to respond, and that is just fine by me. In my off time, I like to work out at the gym, go to salad bars on the weekend, go shopping, improve my house, and take care of my 110 gallon aquarium when I’m not working on web pages or participating in Facebook and Twitter, and reading multiple topics of interest.

If “they” do not feel the expense is justified, why would I feel the time and effort is justified?

When somebody asks you if you would do this kind of work for them, tell the person that you do occasionally take on such projects, in a selective way, and here is your hourly rate. And see what happens.




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I am not often moved to write on my blog, because nobody reads it. Well, I do feel strongly enough now to let people know that the underwhelming experience of magazine and newsletter reading on the Kindle CAN be DONE RIGHT.

Up to now, I considered the tiresome adjustment of point size and orientation while trying to read a single page ( on, for example,  Huffington Post, AOL news, CNN, Edcar Cayce (newsletter on PDF), was just the price I paid and nothing could be done about it.

But, the other day, while waiting to see a doctor to get Transcop (TM) for my trip to England/Scotland, I browsed and bought what looked like an interesting magazine. The magazine whose single issue I bought is called NVATE  .  Their layout and formatting is the best I’ve seen on Kindle, and the attention to detail makes reading this magazine. Most other non-book content I’ve seen is poorly proofed, the layouts are fraught with errors, and forget about seeing nice screen shots in documentation and being able to get any meaningful information. I tried this with Jesse Stays great book “Facebook Application Development” and while the content is truly excellent, the exhibits, the screenshots, etc. are crummy.  This work is simply not designed with the Kindle foremost in mind.

To repeat, while I thought that lousy formatting and sloppy editing were just things you had to put up with. NVate proves it ain’t so, Joe. When you see a picture (usually photographs rather than illustrations), they are professionally positioned and sized so they really add to the experience of reading your favorite article(s).

In short, if readers accept slop, they’ll get it. Publishers just seem to treat the Kindle as just another device, and don’t seem to know, care, or appreciate that they can do so much better, and that readers, the folks who pay the bills, will notice good work.

The magazine Nate can be found at

Thank goodness for those souls who have taken the time and spent the effort to do a great job, even though they could have save time and money by just following the sorry examples that others have set.

Louis Latimer Hemmi

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Clearly we need workers. But, only slightly over 50% of the population does work. Unemployment at high levels has destroyed a lot of the middle class. The rich are continuing to do well, although passive income (money they get for having money in the first place) isn’t quite as good. Few people have enough money for them to live off the interest alone.

We have millions of unemployed, but the lights are still on, the trash is getting picked up, the cheap burgers are being dished out to overfed consumers, etc. If all those people who used to be employed were busy, it seems we’d notice a drop in products and services, but I’m working, and I don’t see prices going down, or fewer things to spend money for.

I suggest that participation in the American experience used to be work, but now I’m thinking we need to examine what is important to us as a people, and what we require for people to really enjoy being Americans.

“No man with an empty stomach is free.” Unknown

“An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.” Albert Einstein
“A man’s worst enemy is his own empty stomach.”
Norman Douglas (1868-1952), ‘Alone’

“No man can be a patriot on an empty stomach.”
William Cowper Brann, ‘The Iconoclast’

Some teabaggers and the Fox network suggest that unemployment compensation discourages people from drifting down the food chain, taking jobs at whatever the going rate is. Thus, their vision is that of a ruling class that controls most of the wealth of the country, and the worker bees should shut up and accept their place in society since only moral reprobates solicit handouts from the government. Drifting ever downward on the food chain, the eventual bottom is of course welfare, food stamps, etc. However, do we as a country value our people to keep and enhance a welfare system, or to continue to pour billions of dollars a month on foreign adventurism?
Throughout most of our history, there has been a very small middle class. What we know as a middle class arose from FDR’s actions to lift the country from the Depression and through a popular war (though with some determined dissent)

But, the teabaggers seem to endorse the following verse, from a hymn no less! Sharron (where’d she pick up the second ‘r’?) Angle is said to have a needlepoint cushion with this motto stitched into it:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

If current trends continue (they never do), we will have a mercenary class (enlisted servicemen who can’t get jobs paying as well in the private sector), a server class (lawns mowed, dinners cooked, cruises piloted, etc.), and a reduced manufacturing sector since the rest of the world’s workers can do things better, faster, and cheaper.

The middle class plays the victim well, accepting and even embracing principles and policies so incredibly counter to their own interests. I’d say that Darwinism dictates that they just wither and submit to the superior beings, except that I’m a member of the dwindling middle class, and I’m smart enough to know what’s good for me, even if many of my cohorts don’t.

Some, however, will seek to target the IRS, the president, the government, etc. just like Timothy McVeigh and that nut who ran a plane into an IRS office. The pilot of the plane was defended by a sitting congressman; I wonder what would have resulted if the pilot had been a Muslim!.

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Back to work after almost two weeks off. It’s a weird feeling. I tell you, for a Monday, I feel really bushy tailed and invigorated. I look forward to the challenges hanging over from last year, and getting a handle on new process innovation — in my life and career.

My most fun task today was putting my Franklin Covey organizer together, revising a program that needed to be updated to reflect new IRS mileage pay rates, and a lot more . . .

I picked up my new computer from after the disastrous bad start of not being able to configure it correctly. I never even got CMOS to come up. Sigh. Lucky it was only $65.00 — a true bargain as I think back of the carcass I had on my hands over the weekend. I think I could have gotten it right if I had not had help 🙂 Nobody wants to help me unless a) I pay them and b) it’s easy. Hey, if it was easy, I wouldn’t need their help.

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I hope that all those whom I care about find this season happy, and that 2010 will be a year of continued intellectual challenges, prosperity, and spiritual growth.

In 2010, I want to help writers to use the WEB effectively. I urge you to send me email or post on the blog. I abandoned a newsletter approach as I do work more than fulltime, and blogging is easier. Blogging allows me to be truly spontaneous, whether I have a lot to say, or just a quick burst of enthusiasm about something.

I’ve only been blogging a short while. I like the medium, and I decided that I’ll make the effort to keep up with it. I have urged many people to be careful about rushing into blogging. Blogging for the right reasons is great, but I see so many blogs that are started with high hopes, and then languish due to the bloggers focus on more pressing issues.

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