Controlling the Press

If a politician running for office won’t talk to reporters, the reporters – especially the good ones – will eventualy find someone to talk to. To wit: the NY Times profile of Palin.

[From Cynical C-blog – one of my most regular surf stops)

Walking with Dinosaurs used over 300 moving lights.

Coyotes have a language of at least 33 dsistinct yips and other sounds.

September 12, 2008

My wife had a much better 9/11post.

So, I’m proofing the galleys for my book (did mention I have a book coming out? I do.) when a co-worker started explaining proof-reading codes to me. Now, I’m not the proof-reader. The author’s job here is to just make certain the words and facts line up as he/she understands them. In this case, I’m correcting some things in the text, but I’m mostly looking for map errors. Stop yawning, I’ll get to my point…

My friend insisted that the numeric code 30 meant the manuscript was finished. That 33 meant give it back to the author for more revision, and that 86 meant reject the manuscript entirely. She then insisted that this was the origin of the term “86’d”.

Of course I looked it up.

30 is definitely proof code for done – print it. I couldn’t find any reference to 33.

86 definitely came from somewhere else. Proofreaders may have used it, just like everybody else, but they didn’t invent it.

Two prominent theories about where the term came from.

1) It refers to section 86 of the Uniform Code of Mlitary Justice, which deals with desertion and AWOL. Possible, but the term seems to imply an involuntary expulsion from something, where AWOL is presumably voluntary on the part of the soldier.

2) It refers to the street adress of a NYC speakeasy (and accounts differ as to the details), and this was what they yelled when the cops were about to barge in.

I’m not sure I buy either origin story. We may come back to this.

Meanwhile, here’s a good source for common proof-reader’s symbols:

The bony plates on the back of the Stegosaurus (a Jurassic era herbivore) had great blood vessels inside them, and may have turned bright red during stress (such as being attacked) as the plates filled with blood. A warning perhaps to Allosaurs, who still remain, in my mind, as the coolest of the predatory dinosaurs.

I know this because I’ve been babysitting Walking with Dinosaurs at the US Airway Center in Phoenix. They feature life-size animatronic dinosaurs walking around beneath a truly fantastic light show. The tickets are outrageous ($35+ in Phoenix) but worth it anyway. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to Jurassic Park.