My All-American Cambodian Blue Jeans

(With the relaunch of the new blog I’m highlighting old posts. I wrote this one in May of 2007 while in Cambodia.)

In the USA we didn’t invent the blue jean. We just made ‘em cool.

Jeans were first worn by the Italian Navy. But riveted jeans were first produced in San Francisco by Levi Strauss. He was a German immigrant. So, maybe blue jeans aren’t as All-American as I’d like to think, but I’ve got two words for you: James Dean.

Here’s one more: Fonzie

Levi’s has such a connection with the average American that they were one of the last companies to start sourcing internationally. The delay hurt them. It’s impossible to compete when your competition can make their product using labor that costs a fraction of…

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A fresh look at "Made in Italy"

Today, like every day, I’m wearing glasses.  They were made in Italy and I just made a horrible discovery: they are Dolce & Gabbana glasses.

That’s not “horrible” you’re probably thinking to yourself.

Obviously you don’t subscribe to Esquire Magazine.

Anytime I see D&G on a shirt or handbag my mind is flooded with the image that greets me each month I crack open a new Esquire. There’s this fella, who also looks like he was made in Italy, floating in what appears to be a life raft, but he looks too busy casually flexing his abs to be concerned about his life, so maybe it’s just a raft. Anyhow, he’s sweaty and is wearing a white Speedo (he definitely must be Italian). The Speedo has two strings with tiny metal…

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And the winner of the iPod is…


Chuck wrote the song “Albino Sasquatch” (a great name for a band) which had the judges – Dan at Rule29, Larry, at Wiley, and me – rolling. I’ll send out emails to the runners up in the near future so they can choose from the other prizes: ARC of WAIW, Moju Project T-shirt, or writerly advice.

Without further ado…ALIBINO SASQUATCH

Kelsey is dancing to an autobiographical song that he wrote himself. Kelsey wrote the lyrics and Elton provided the melody. He plays it whenever he goes to a new place. It’s his way of introducing himself to the people.

I am the Albino Sasquatch
I’ve roamed all around this land
Be not afraid! I am friendly
Come shake my furry hand

I’ve been spotted down…

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Zoo Rant: A tale of Two Elephants

I was walking down the street in Jhalakthi, Bangladesh, when an elephant asked me for a dollar bill.

The elephant’s snout was smeared with red paint and two smiling locals sat atop his back.  The crowded streets managed to make way for the elephant. Kids smiled and pointed. Rickshaw drivers piled on the sidewalk.

They all stared at me.  The tiny proboscis at the end of the elephant’s trunk wiggled with anticipation.

I reached into my pocket, pulled out some money, and the elephant ever so gently picked it from my hand.

I pitied the elephant.  She was trapped in a life of cheap tricks and crowded streets. I can still see the coarse black hairs bristling her trunk.  I can hear her breath and see her snotty snout.

This weekend I was reminded…

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iPod contest update

Okay, so I should have announced a winner last Thursday. What do you want to hear?

1. I should pay attention to my own contest rules and forgot that Thursday was the deadline.
2. There were so many great entries that it’s taking awhile and I had to enlist some assistance choosing who should win.
3. I was busy on Thursday and went to the zoo on Friday.

Actually, I’m going to plead all of the above.

I’ll announce the winners soon enough. Look, I should just keep the iPod for myself, seeing how the day this contest was conceived coincided with the washing and drying of my own iPod. My iPod is clean, but that’s about it.

Random thought: has anyone ever skipped an iPod like a stone. I bet those…

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Faces of Honduras

I’ve been watching/listening/browsing the news a lot lately for updates on Honduras. Usually after talks of Michael Jackson and Iran the coup gets a brief mention. When I hear the stories, I think back to my time in the country in 2005, which I briefly mention in my book, and I see faces.

These are a few of those faces…

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"Guess where my undwear was made?" is the new "What's your sign?"

When you write a book about following the tags on your clothes around the world you get a lot of questions.  The most common is “Why?” which acts as a constant reminder that there is a fine line between first-time author and crazy.

At a book reading a woman asked me to check the tag on her bra.  In case there are some fellas that think this might’ve been a good thing, it was not.

People continually ask me where I am wearing.  I normally know.  I’ve pretty much committed to memory the countries of origin of every item in my wardrobe.

I also get “Guess where my shirt was made,” as if I were a carny that guessed things about people including their age, weight, and country of origin of their…

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