An American Editor

February 4, 2015

Should Editors Eat Donuts?

Filed under: A Humor Interlude,Editorial Matters — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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Not too far from where I live is a Dunkin’ Donuts. I rarely eat donuts these days. I find them too sweet and, more importantly, too fattening. Needless to say, like many Americans who work at sedentary jobs, weight is a problem. I’m a bit more than a tad overweight.

Regardless, there are times when I crave donuts — maybe twice a year. My wife takes the position that I eat them so rarely, if I have a few, it will do me no harm. Of course, that is the argument I give whenever I want to eat something that I know isn’t good for me.

The problem is compounded by the donuts being sugar coated — take a bite and the sugar is everywhere — over the keyboard, on my fingers, on my shirt, even on my black cat! Which brings back memories.

I wish I could say the memories are fond memories, but they aren’t. They are memories of when I first started freelancing and worked on paper. What a nightmare the combination of coffee, donuts, and paper was. Especially the jelly donuts that had a tendency to leak out the opposite side from that I was biting. I still remember trying to catch the jelly before it hit the manuscript only to also knock over my coffee cup (that was in the days when I drank coffee, before I wised up and began drinking only green tea).

There it was — manuscript that I had to return to the client quickly coated with a brown stain topped with red jelly and a dissolved sugar coating that could no longer be simply brushed off. And because the manuscript was in a pile, the brown stain was rapidly making its way through the stack.

As you probably have guessed, I never did get repeat work from that client. But I did learn a valuable lesson: donuts and editing didn’t mix when editing on paper.

I rapidly transitioned from editing on paper to editing onscreen. In fact, the transition was complete within 6 months of my beginning freelancing. I admit that fear of recurring jelly catastrophes was one motivating factor to my transition to onscreen editing only, although the major reason was that in those days very few editors were willing to edit onscreen and my doing so enabled me to get more work and charge more, something I considered a winning combination.

But the transition didn’t solve the problem. In those days, too, I was in great physical shape and didn’t worry about extra pounds (30 years later, I worry about everything I eat), so I could indulge my donut cravings with abandon. But the jelly donuts didn’t cooperate. I’d bite in one and out would come the jelly from the opposite end — kerplunk on my keyboard. It didn’t take long for the jelly to become like a superglue and keep keys from working.

Cleaning those old keyboards was virtually impossible so I did the next best thing: I bought a large quantity of keyboards at wholesale so I could junk a sticky keyboard. Given the choice, I’d scrap the keyboard before I’d give up my donuts. Of course, coffee and soda spills also occasionally happened, but at least no manuscripts were getting destroyed — just keyboards.

I finally had to rethink my priorities when the manufacturer of my favorite keyboards went out of business (Do you remember Gateway Computer’s programmable keyboards?) and I couldn’t buy any more of them. Sure there were other keyboards but these were special because they were programmable.

Eventually I gave up eating donuts while working. I still like a cup of tea, but I haven’t spilled any tea on my keyboard in a couple of decades. But then came last week and I had that craving for a donut. Should I give in to it? Should I just take a break from work and eat it away from my keyboard? Should I gamble and continue working while enjoying a donut or two?

My questions got me thinking about the overriding question: Should editors eat donuts? Let’s face it, donuts aren’t particularly healthy, especially not for an old-timer like me. And no matter how carefully one eats a donut, some of it will end up on the keyboard. Besides eating while working is a distraction. Concentration is broken with each bite and it is so very easy to put sticky fingers on the keys.

After due consideration, I have come to the conclusion that an editor like me should not eat donuts while working, and probably not at all. There just isn’t an upside other than the fleeting sensation of sensory satisfaction. Having thought that, however, didn’t stop me from lusting after a sweet. (I think it was just an excuse to stop reading about hematology!) So I decided to poll the family and see what advice the family would give.

Alas, the “family” these days is my wife, my dog, and my cat. My dog almost never speaks and I haven’t got telepathy mastered, so she didn’t give an opinion. My cat was sleeping and protested at being disturbed. No advice there. That left my wife. In her case, action spoke louder than words — she gave me a donut.

I took the hint, ate the donut, drank some tea, lamented having eaten the donut as it repeated for what seemed an eternity, and swore an oath that there would be no donuts in my future. And to demonstrate the firmness of my decision, I threw away the coupon for free donuts.

I wonder how long my resolve will last.

Richard Adin, An American Editor

November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: A Humor Interlude,A Video Interlude — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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At An American Editor, we are taking a holiday break to enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family. We’ll be back on Monday, December 1, with our usual informative articles.

To tide you over until then, sit back, relax, and enjoy —

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

and for those needing to review their history, a crash course:

When is Thanksgiving? Colonizing America: Crash Course US History #2

Happy Thanksgiving!

Richard Adin, An American Editor

June 20, 2014

The History of English + A Surprise

I found the following video “educational” and thus worth repeating here. In 10 minutes, one can learn the “history” of English.

Now that you have fulfilled your job requirements for the day, let’s move on to some entertainment. The following videos star the ultimate winner of Italy’s version of “The Voice.” Although there are a lot of videos, they are worth watching (although I would just watch while they are singing, not the after remarks, which reduces the time needed to get through them).

If the videos are blocked in your country, but you can access YouTube, try searching for “suor cristina the voice.”

This first video was the original blind audition. Be sure to watch the expressions of the judges when they turn around and see the performance.

Bon Jovi gets the treatment in this song:

This is the first “battle” between contestants, the winner of which moves on to the next round:

These show a great range of talent:

This was the winning performance:

And when she was interviewed about her future after winning “The Voice,” her response was that she hoped to return to working with the children. Sometimes the most impressive people are found in unexpected places.

Enjoy!

Richard Adin, An American Editor

January 11, 2013

Humor Interlude: British Commentary on American Politics

Filed under: A Humor Interlude,A Musical Interlude — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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The following video, although not directed at our increasingly dysfunctional Congress, might well have been so aimed. Anyway, it is short, worth enjoying, and captures the sentiment of a lot of Americans —

December 19, 2012

Saying Goodbye to the Twinkie Defense

Filed under: A Humor Interlude — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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Not every editing job goes smoothly. Occasionally, I find that I think I did an outstanding job only to hear from the client about the problems the client discovered. Of course, I always fix my errors at no charge, so that is not a problem, but I have several times defended my lapse by saying I must have eaten one Twinkie too many while editing the book.

Now I can no longer claim the Twinkie defense with the end of Twinkie production as a result of Hostess Baking going out of business.

For younger editors, I suspect that Twinkies are an unknown quantity. They are simply angel food cake wrapped around a creme filling that is loaded with sugar. Twinkies are the original sugar high for baby boomers. Like most “miscreants” I simply grasped at any defense as a way to justify my actions (in this case, lack of doing what the client expected), and so it was the Twinkie defense.

It is well known that sugar highs cause people to do strange, weird things. What could be weirder than a topnotch editor like myself missing what should have been an obvious error? Alas, I will now have to own up, I’ll have to confess to misjudgment. Definitely not a good thing to do.

At the same time, I will cry over my grandchildren not being able to defend their misbehavior using the Twinkie defense. I was already prepping my granddaughter by whispering, when her parents’ backs were turned, “Twinkie, Twinkie” — and if caught, I could easily respond that I was saying “twinkle, twinkle” as in “twinkle, twinkle, little star.” But no more. Now my grandchildren will be defenseless and have to face the dire consequences without a good defense.

The Twinkie was the ideal vehicle for excessive sugar ingestion. The Twinkie defense was also the best defense against a lot of misdeeds. Alas, the time has come to say a final goodbye to Twinkies and my Twinkie defense —

Goodbye!

November 21, 2012

A Humor & Musical Interlude: A Turkey Thanksgiving

Filed under: A Humor Interlude,A Musical Interlude — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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As we get ready to celebrate Thanskgiving — and a 4-day holiday weekend, Black Friday, and the beginning of the final Christmas shopping rush — I thought some fun would be warranted.

Since the original video, “I Will Survive,” was removed by YouTube, here is a replacement starring Daffy Duck in 1949’s “Holiday for Drumsticks” —

Next is “You Can’t Gobble Me”

And “U Can’t Stuff This”

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Filed under: A Humor Interlude,A Musical Interlude — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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Time for a video interlude. Enjoy the following Halloween-related videos — one each from song, cartoon, and humor. Enjoy the trick or treatin’ but go easy on the candy — too much sugar will show up everywhere!

First, a song from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

How can one resist a Dr. Seuss cartoon?

Ms. Swan does it again. Some Halloween comedy —

October 12, 2012

A Humor Interlude: Mitt Romney’s Neighborhood

Filed under: A Humor Interlude — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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This video of Jimmy Fallon satire of Mitt Romney is amusing, and plays off of Romney’s desire to scuttle funding for public television and radio, which currently accounts for less than 0.001% of the federal budget, not enough to pay for his proposed tax cuts. (I wonder how many gold-plated toilet seats and hammers the defense department buys and what percentage of the budget those items account for.)

October 3, 2012

On Language: Drop Your Foreign Accent

The following poem was brought to my attention by Tony Cole of eBookAnoid. It was originally published in 1929 in Drop Your Foreign Accent — Engelse Uitspraakoefeningen (5th revised edition, H. D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon, 1929), which was written by Gerald Nolst Trenite, who was also known as Charivarius. The poem illustrates some of the peculiarities of English. Enjoy.

The Chaos
Gerald Nolst Trenite

Dearest creature in creation,
studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse;
sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear,
so shall I!! Oh, hear my prayer.
Pray, console your loving poet,
make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare, heart, beard and heard,
dies, diet, lord and word,
sword and sward, retain and Britain,
(Mind the letter, how it’s written)
Made has not the sound of bade.
Say‑said, pay‑paid, laid but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
with such words as vague and ague,
but be careful how you speak,
say break, steak, but bleak and streak,
previous, precious, fuchsia, via;
Pipe, snipe, recipe and chair,
cloven, oven, how and low,
script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation — think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough —
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!

April 20, 2012

A Humor Interlude: Amazing Ukrainian Talent

Filed under: A Humor Interlude,A Musical Interlude — americaneditor @ 9:08 am
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I try not to post multiple posts in a day, but sometimes I just have to. This video is an outstanding example of what talented people can do. It is hard to believe that this is a puppet. This is a must-watch video.

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