Friday, December 30, 2016

Academic editing for those whose first language is NOT English (or, for that matter, for anyone else)

Dear International Students, Faculty, and Scholars:

I edit documents for students, faculty, and scholars whose first language is not English. My goal is to make your document read like it was written by a native English speaker. Most of my clients have been from China, Taiwan, Korea, India, and Latin America, but I will work on documents for clients of any nationality. I edit statements you write to apply for grad school and for faculty positions, papers you intend to submit for publication to an English journal, business reports, letters, white papers, dissertation chapters, job applications, statements of purpose, and research proposals. 

I edit documents in all fields. I have edited papers in engineering, nanofabrication, statistics, plant pathology, city and regional planning, food science, history, plant genetics, biotechnology, plant breeding, wildlife biology, biomedicine, near eastern studies, theatre arts, psychology, and more. Clients simply send me their document ( as an email attachment, I edit it in MS Word using Track Changes, and I return the document, usually within 48 hours.

Most documents take less than three hours of editing to complete, unless they are unusually long. My clients pay me by sending me a check or depositing money in my PayPal account, which is very simple to do. Also, if you want to send me your document, I can provide an estimate of how much it will cost and how long it should take me to complete the job. As I edit, I also suggest ways to improve your writing in English generally. If desired, I can provide references from recent clients.

I am currently Professor Emeritus from Cornell University.  I have published dozens of papers in refereed journals over the past 40 years, and I served as Associate Editor for the journal Ecological Applications for three years. I taught university courses for 30 years, and I conducted ecological research throughout the U.S. and in Costa Rica. I lived in Korea and Costa Rica for one year each and, recently, I have been visiting Taiwan to teach short courses on conservation biology at National Taiwan University.

All correspondence between the author and me, including the contents of any document, is kept strictly confidential. So if you think this is valuable, please pass the word along.

My charges for this service: individuals-$50 per hour; institutions-$75 per hour.  When I return your document, I inform you how much the bill is and I can provide an invoice if desirable.  I also have an express service.  For $75 per hour, I will guarantee that I return your document within 24 hours of receiving it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Occasional Holiday Letter #6 from DrTom and Robin for 2017!

Friends, enemies, even Republicans:

You will have to excuse this group letter, but it is the only way to go. If I were to send each of my FB friends a letter in the mail, it would cost about $650 in postage, and no holiday letter is worth that much. And I hate licking stamps, and I don’t have most of your addresses, and my postman would start spitting in our mailbox. Actually, I think he does that already, because the mailbox door is difficult to open and I refuse to replace it. I can’t think of any other way that the inside of that box could get so moist and putrid.

Most of us are utterly bored when we get one of those family-oriented letters. So let’s dispense with that part. Our kids are fine, our grandkids are even finer, we are fine, the chickens are fine, but our black lab, Zeus, is old and ailing. There, you are all caught up.

So, what a year, huh? You just knew that I wouldn’t be able to refrain from mentioning THAT man. But one interesting thing has evolved from the existence of this bizarre person. I now have a new item on my “bucket list”. I hope, somehow, to be included in one of the Donalds’ middle-of-the-night tweets about how much he hates me, and how I am going down, and how old and decrepit I look, and how my wife will never want to have sex with me again. I’m not yet sure how to arouse enough ire in him for me to make his tweet list, but I’m working on it. One idea is this: he can’t seem to get any musician to perform at his inauguration ball; they all refuse. So, eventually, my name will come up as one who plays a mean conga drum. And when he asks me to perform on that important day (and you know where this is going), I will haughtily refuse, which will piss him off to no end, and he will tweet about it at 3am that night while sitting on the toilet. Bucket list—check!

But the good news this week was the annual letter that Robin and I received from the Social Security Administration that tells us how much of a raise we will receive beginning in January. Raises for American recipients will be 0.3% in 2017. That’s right----3/10%, or about 1/3 of a percent raise. In my case, that amounts to an increase of $4.50 per month, about the cost of a LARGE bottle of ketchup. So look out homemade french fries in 2017, cause I am going to slather you in that red stuff like you have never been slathered before. And every time I do that, I will remember to thank the SS system for this dietary enhancement. Robin and I have been paying happily into the social security system for 53 years, and we are still paying into it. This raise is more than we deserve, and I sincerely hope that the fiscal conservatives in Congress will keep a tight rein on these increases; we must not let these raises get out of hand. A raise of 0.2% would have been sufficient, more than enough for a SMALL bottle of ketchup.

And what about this coming year? I’m told that we should all be full of hope, and good cheer, and optimism. After all, that is what humans do. We always hope for something more, for a better future, a brighter tomorrow. Maybe that brighter tomorrow is not going to happen in the location where we reside now. So these past few weeks, I have been researching what life would be like as a retiree living, at least part of the year, in Italy, Spain, Uruguay, and Chile (look out Silvas of Valparaiso). Costa Rica is always on the table, but we have been there, done that. It all sounds doable and encouraging. Good wine, good food, Cuban cigars, the music we like, mountains (except Uruguay), coasts, culture, interesting history, and that latino zest for life. Let’s at least stick a toe in the water. The worst that could happen is that the toe gets bitten off, but that leaves nine (see how this optimism thing works?). And with the recent social security increase, finances shouldn’t be a problem at all.

By the way, a couple of months ago I eliminated about 500 FB friends. These were people who I didn’t know at all, or they seemed to have no presence on FB any longer, or they were too right-wing for me to bear. Most of these were people I befriended years ago when I was truly a Facebook slut. Therefore, those of you who remain can consider yourselves the cream of the crop. Congratulations. Not sure how many deleted me for being obnoxious, too opinionated, or too far left, but it all works out.

Anyhow, Happy Holidays and have a great 2017. No need to send gifts to Robin and me this year (unless you really, really want to). Your clever comments on FB are all we need. And you old people, enjoy that extra ketchup!

Tom, Robin, and Zeus
December 2016