Made in WhoCaresWhere, I Care!

Recently I looked at some leather jackets by the same manufacturer and noticed they had two models of the same style, one made in the USA and one in China.

Hang on, relax, this is not political.  I just want a leather jacket to aid in my efforts to look like, as Charlie Sheen says, a bitchin rock star from Mars.  (On an aside, when I lived in Honolulu in 2001 some Japanese tourists asked for my autograph thinking I was the one and only Charlie).

Back to leather.  The USA made one came with a “Made in USA” label, a designation of the union local that made it, and a price tag that was 25% higher.  Ah, but what about quality you say?

In this case the stitching was superior in the made in China one.  Not that the USA made garment was improper or flawed but simple things like loose threads were not removed and the excess thread on the reverse side of the buttons was not trimmed as evenly.  Am I picky you ask, no not at all, not unless I am spending $625.  Actually my picky gene kicks in around $100 truth be told.

Here is where I make some enemies.  That union worker is secure in their job and is looking forward to quitin time.  To keep the manager off their back they need to meet quota before the long weekend so they rush a few jackets though.  What’s the harm, it will be caught in the quality control phase right?  Besides, they can’t be fired for making a couple lousy jackets as they have seniority.

That same worker in China has a different motivation in that if they screw up their family goes hungry.  Now, who is more likely to make a better quality garment?

As far as buying in the USA to help keep that union workers job here, why not buy the jacket made in China and donate that extra 25% to help retrain the unemployed?

Oh yes, my friend who lives in China laughs as he tells me of seeing workers sewing in a label that says “Made in USA” right there in Shanghai.  Imagine that!

PS, go out and buy something made in Japan ASAP.  Samurai jeans is a good place to start 🙂

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Posted by on 15 March 2011 in Uncategorized


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Seven Eighths Perfect

So I got 7 of my 8 Oscar predictions right, including the three I told you that you could mortgage your house on, what does that say?

Either I was legitimately wrong on one account or (more likely) I purposely threw one pick into the gutter to avoid perfection and the heavy expectations that come with it!

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Posted by on 1 March 2011 in Uncategorized



Martyrdom is Not Served at the Cafeteria

Have you ever noticed how modern day martyrs tend to pick and choose when they throw themselves on the sword and not?

For example, the eco-martyr.  He loves to laud his love and care of the environment over you at every opportunity.  That is until he becomes a parent and starts using disposable diapers.  Oh he will jump all over you for not using a “green” product to clean your sink, but the fact that his child’s poopy diapers will hang around for 500 years is conveniently lost on him.

What about the nutrition-martyr, the one who reads every ingredients label and gives you that “look” every time you pick up something to eat?  Have you ever seen this person belly up to the bar at Starbucks?  A simple coffee or tea is beneath them as they load up on the fat with a 45 syllable drink?

Lets not forget the moral martyr, the one who would rather die then buy some foreign made product in Walmart.  That is until it is time for him to order a bottle of wine or pint of beer.

Most of these martyrs are not so much invested in their cause as much as they seek a hammer to hit you with.  Something to help define themselves, a chance to impose a misguided superiority.

Not to worry, it can be quite fun to remind them when their image slips, only to hear them try to justify that they did not check that box when they ordered their martyrdom at the cafeteria!

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Posted by on 25 February 2011 in Uncategorized


Beware the Tidal Wave

“Honey when you’re at the store please pick up some Tide”.

Simple enough huh?  Well just try following those instructions without calling, texting, sending smoke signals or a carrier pigeon for clarification from her.

I counted 52 different purchase options for Tide at one store!

It starts with powder and liquid, that’s reasonable.  Add into the matrix regular wash, cold wash and high-efficiency wash.

You want it to smell nice right?  Mountain fresh, April shower, Febreze or Downy fresh sent… Oh hell throw in an uncented option for good measure.

Now comes the complicated part, volume – how many loads do you want to wash?  Starting at 20 loads we then move to 24, 26, 32, 38, 42, 54, 68,72, and 96.  What! No 88 load?   What heathens!!!

Clearly there is sound logic for this.  Let’s pull out our Mayan calendar to see when the world will end, then work backwards.

“Sweetie get the 24 wash size instead of the 26 because Armageddon is near and I hate to get stuck holding two wash loads worth of Tide when the grim reaper shows up”.

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Posted by on 11 February 2011 in Uncategorized



And the Winner Is…

With the Oscars around the corner, and having seen 9 out of the ten nominated movies, here are my selections including three “take it to the back” sure thing locks!

It really was a great year for movies, best in a decade in my opinion. There were some sleepers that did not make the awards circuit (The Town, Money Never Sleeps and Unstoppable), but the ones currently getting attention deserve it, with one exception.

The Kings Speech was a good movie a solid B+, but under no circumstances is it a great movie. A movie about the King getting aid for his speech impediment, OK that grips me for 20 minutes, then what? Very pedestrian.

Best Picture: Who will win – The Kings Speech, why – the voters are pedestrian.  Who should win – Black Swan was artistic, visionary, and truly inspired film making and would not be unwarranted, as would Inception (even though the premise was in no mans land between fiction and sci-fi).  It was the Social Network however that made me feel like shit for 48 hours after watching it, during which time I wished I had not seen it.  Art creates a reaction, and if these awards were given for artistic merit then The Social Network wins in a landslide.

Best Actor: Who will win – Colin Firth after all, he had to stutter.  To me however the award is about who gave the best acting performance, not who mastered the gimmick.  Jeff Bridges was brilliant and unrecognizable in True Grit, but playing a broken down drunk is his gimmick, as seen by his win last year.  Jesse Eisenberg was believable and unlikable, both marks of a great performance, he should win.

Best Actress: Who will win – who cares?  People don’t go to movies to see women act, sad as the truth is.  They may go to see sexy women on the big screen, but generally speaking movie stardom is a man’s game.  Natalie Portman will win and should.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress:  Lock, lock, lock – take it to the bank honey.   Christian Bale and Melissa Leo from the Fighter. There is a less then zero chance of both of them not winning.

Best Screenplay: Adapted, The Social Network. Original, Inception.

Original Score: Lock this one up and back your tuck up to the bank,  Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor for the Social Network.

Director:  David Fincher for the Social Network.

Movies to see, in order. The Social Network, True Grit, Black Swan, The Fighter.

Still the best entertainment value out there. Like they say “go big or stay home”.

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Posted by on 3 February 2011 in Uncategorized



How Much of a Good Thing is Illegal?

I just bought a new CD today, John Lee Hooker if you must know, and within two minutes it was obsolete to me. All new CD’s of mine have a usefulness of a few minutes before they become coasters.

The music lives, but the physical CD gets ripped to my iTunes library and there it sits. Pumped through my stereo and synced to my iPod, enjoyed both at home and on the road, but the actual CD is never touched again.

Today I asked the store if I came back with it would they  re-shrinkwrap it for me so I could give it as a gift, but then it occurred to me, is that illegal?

Imagine this: I buy it and rip it, all legal and above board right? Then I give to a friend as a gift, still breaking no laws right? Then he/she repeats the process.

In theory that one CD could pass through an infinite number of hands and rest on an equally infinite number of hard drives and iPods. At what point are copyright laws broken?

Now how do you get that toothpaste back into the tube again?

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Posted by on 2 February 2011 in Uncategorized


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The Power of the Blues

When NASA launched Voyager they included “earthling” content in the event it was ever found – things like scientific data, images, and music.

The music ranged from Bach to Chuck Berry with one of the songs being “Dark Was the Night” by Blind Willie Johnson.

He was 7 years old when his stepmother blinded him by throwing lye in his face. His life ended the way he lived it, penniless and unknown. He was 47 when he died of malaria and syphilis, his body found in a burnt out building wrapped in wet newspaper to cool from the Texas heat.

His music has now left our solar system.

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Posted by on 28 January 2011 in Uncategorized


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