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My shorts, made in the USA

“I don’ feel real comfortable with this,” said Linda from Champion USA.

I have that effect on people.

I was asking Linda about my 1992 Dream Team shorts. They were made way back in the early 1990’s. So long ago, in fact, that they were actually Made in the USA. I told her that I was pretty sure that factory was not open any more given how the industry has changed, but I would like to know where it was anyhow.

“Perry, New York.”

That’s all I could get out of Linda. I tried to explain to her my quest, but I think it just makes my request to know where my shorts came from look crazier. In Linda’s defense, if some quack called me up and mentioned…

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Part 1: Dateline hidden cameras in Bangladeshi factories

Thoughts on PART 1 of Datelines “Hidden costs” report:

First let me say, shows like this get those guys with the deep Voices and anything they say is way too overdramatic. Not that the situation in Bangladesh isn’t dramatic, because it is. But when the voice says, “barely surviving” you expect someone to drop dead from hunger immediately.

-Nobody loves management. I don’t care if you work for a fortune 500 company or if you sew crotch flaps on boxers, you don’t use the word “love” to describe your feelings for your bosses.

-One worker says that she has to ask her supervisors permission to go to the bathroom. Is this different than any other factory line anywhere in the world?

-I didn’t see any child labor in…

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Happy 4th of July all you Ugly Americans

USA Tattoo

Today, we celebrate all things American. Namely, the cheeseburger! I’ll be eating me a few. (Actually, I’ll probably only eat one. I still have my travel appetite, which is that of an 85 year-old-grandma. That’s what rice for every meal does to me.)

In honor of American cheeseburger eaters across the nation, with their ketchup coated chins, an essay against the term “Ugly American:”

The Search for Ugly America

We’re fat. We’re loud. And we’re proud to be American. Screw the rest of the world! That’s what I say.

Think about Bram Stroker’s Dracula for a moment. Was it one of the tea drinking British twits that took out Dracula, the blood sucking Romanian, in the end? Heck NO! It was red-white-and-blue-bleeding, straight-talking, bowie-knife-toting,…

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Hidden camera in Bangladeshi factory

A little homework for you over the holiday (if you’re not American, sorry, enjoy your Wednesday): watch this Dateline produced video. They take hidden cameras into a garment factory in Bangladesh. There is also an article for you to read that accompanies the movies.

I watched it before I left on my trip and found it interesting enough, but now I’m sure I’ll have much more of an opinion on the piece. Shows like Dateline tend to sex things up a little for ratings. I’ll watch it again too and we can discuss further on Thursday.

When I visited the factories in Bangladesh I didn’t have a hidden camera, but I did have a hidden identity….

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I’m no doctor…but you should probably stop eating cigarette butts

I love reading newspapers in other countries. It’s especially fun when the English language is still somewhat a mystery to the papers’ writers.

Take for example this article:

Thirteen-year-old Chen Junyi has had to deal with an unbearable pain in her stomach since 2000.

That same year, this girl from Huashi Town, an impoverished town in Luoding, South China’s Guangdong Province, began eating cigarette butts. Her appetite for them eventually grew from about a dozen a day to more than 30. She also started eating uncooked rice.

Her body stopped developing, but her belly expanded so that she looked like she was pregnant.

Her frightened parents brought her to the town’s biggest hospital, but doctors could not pinpoint her illness.
Somebody call the Chinese Maury or Jerry Springer.

Actually, the article ends quite…

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Hong Kong to Chicago – 14 hours

Layover in Chicago – 12 hours

# of times I dozed yesterday as I fought off sleep until evening – 21, including 4 times during my haircut. (Yep, I got one.)

I’ll be posting some homecoming posts either later today or tomorrow. Until then, an essay I wrote about Home awaits you below the cut. I wrote it 3 years ago – it has some typos and flow issues, but seeing how we’re so close, I’ll let you read it anyhow.

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Heading Home

I spent today in Hong Kong snapping photos of glass towers and trying to find the longest escalator in the world. Tomorrow I fly home.

But fear not, the quest is far from over. Now the processing and research begins. I hope to be able to start discussing the apparel industry more in depth: the problems, what is being done, what we can do about them, etc.

I’ve only been able to share a little about my exploits with the factories and the workers and what I think about it all. I felt like I couldn’t post too often about the workers because it could hurt my chances of getting into factories. I do think the posts that I wrote on the workers and factories accurately…

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If you thought this was a vacation…

It wasn’t. I worked my tail off.

The old laptop I brought on this trip has a grand total of 714 Kb left on the hard drive. That means it has room for about half of one photo.

Some more stats…

I’ve taken some 3,000 pics.

Written 2 Mb worth of notes (trust me that’s a lot).

Posted over 22,000 words on this here blog in the last 3 months.

Recorded over 12 hours of audio….

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