The USA is a pucker and China is a hemorrhoid

I had someone email me today asking about where our clothes come from. Here’s the short answer: 97% come from outside of the U.S., mostly from China.

And here’s that answer visually, courtesy of worldmapper:

Worldmapper Clothing Exports

The map is accompanied with this interesting tid bit:

Of all earnings from international trade, 7% is earned from clothing exports.

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The sweet stink of memories

This morning the smell of dew and skunk triggered the memory of a stinky encounter I had one morning jogging before high school.

I recounted the experience in a column that has run in Endurance Magazine and the Dayton City Paper. Here it is…

Skunks Stink
An early morning trail run gone wrong

By Kelsey Timmerman

I didn’t have a chance. Evolution was against me as I faced one of nature’s most terrifying animals.

Tens of millions of years had sharpened its glistening teeth and long claws into serrated flesh-tearers, but it’s not a frontal attack that inspires the terror. Nature perfectly placed two glands around the anus capable of packing a punch that would be far more remembered than any bite or scratch. A racer stripe of white runs down the animal’s coat…

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The delicate art of "thank you"

I’m writing my acknowledgments for the book.

Annie wants me to thank Oreo – the cat that owns me. But what if you think I owe you a “shout-out” and you turn to the acknowledgements expecting to read how you’ve inspired me only to find that I’ve thanked the cat and not you?

I’m proceeding with caution.

While I don’t want to leave anyone out, I also don’t want to thank everyone in my entire life that has helped me. Droning on name after name, thank-you after thank-you, could seem pathetic. It might be the only time I’ll ever have a chance to thank my childhood baby sitter in print, but I feel like I should act like it’s not. Like this is the first of many such…

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Worth more dead or alive?

My life is officially insured now. If something were to happen to me in the near future, please point investigators in Annie’s direction, since she is my sole beneficiary.

I don’t expect that she would harm me, but it’s never really been to her benefit to do so until now. Also, she possesses super-human pregnant lady strength, which, as everyone knows is the best kind of strength because no one can fight back lest they be accused of fighting a pregnant lady.


(Note: This has nothing to do with my most recent death threat)…

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Nightmare on Sesame Street

Ernie Building Set
K’Nex, makers of Lincoln Logs, are in the cross heirs of the National Labor Committee for the poor conditions under which a Sesame Street play set is produced. The play set in questions is Ernie’s Building Set.

From the story in the New York Daily News:

“Every single labor law in China was being violated at this factory,” said Charles Kernaghan, director of the committee.
The report says that 600 workers – including 100 16-year-olds and some children as young as 13 – are forced to work seven days a week, up to 15 hours a day, often going for months without a day off.

The workers are allegedly paid 43 cents an hour and sometimes forced to work 23.5 hour shifts.

The Ernie Building…

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Ohio companies selling sweatshop wares to state

It’s not everyday underwear workers in Bangladesh make the news in Ohio, but there are exceptions:

This story in the Hudson Times

Of all of the Anti-sweatshop movements, I think protesting against how the government spends their money is the most effective. Voters should have a say where their money goes. Besides, if anyone should support American business it’s the government.

The main champions of this cause are the passionate folks at Sweatfree Communities….

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Social Butterflies

I’m not really sure about this whole social networking thing.

I realize that statement is so 2005, but I’m a little late onto the scene here. Now you can be my friend on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. And I want to be your friend, especially since my newly opened accounts are relatively friendless. Heck, with only 4 friends, I’m a MySpace hermit.

I guess that my issue is, who really cares what I’m doing this very second? Who am I to think you care?

Look at me trying to have my humble pie and eat it too. You’re reading this on my blog, at the domain name I registered, hosted by a travel community that I pitched an idea to. …

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Budweiser: Belgium for beer

I’ve probably drunk less than half-a-case of Budweiser in my life. I know, I know that’s very un-American of me and very, very un-Midwestern American of me. But Budweiser has brought me great joy, all the same. (And NO, Annie did not fall for me after a night of heavy Bud drinking either.)

I’ve enjoyed Budweiser’s ads, especially the Real Men of Courage ads – brilliant.

And I always enjoy being in a foreign country and seeing Budweiser listed under the imports. Do foreigners actually pay more money to drink American beer than their local flavor, which probably tastes better (and less filling), anyhow? Why? Does it help them capture some of the rugged, do-it-yourself boot-strap-pullin’ up, raw Americanism?

Alas, those days are gone.

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