Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for August 2005

Travels of A T-Shirt

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tshirt.jpgToday I finished Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy. I happened to glance at it while reading in the Undergrad Library one day, read the cover and now I’m assigning it to my class.

It’s an interesting book that tracks the life of a t-shirt from the cotton fields of Texas to the spinning looms in China then back to America before ultimately being shipped off to Africa as a castaway piece of clothing. At each point the author stops to look around at the people, policies and economic forces that create and are being affected by the industry. It was readable, very interesting and pretty evenhanded.

I’m hoping that assigning this book will give students a less abstract look at the global economy by looking closely at one industry and the people involved. I’m hoping there is a similar book out there about global agriculture.

I wish I’d read something like this before I started grad school. It would have given me a little context for the reading I did my first year.

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Written by furthermusings

August 29, 2005 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Political Science

This Week’s Sign That the Apocalypse is Upon Us

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Car.jpg

In an email from my grandparents today my Grandmother wrote about my Grandfather,

“Charles has been wanting to get a smaller car (he has a pick-up “99). To my surprise he put a down payment on a Scion yesterday. The Toyota company makes them — you know, they look like a large box – moving. My goodness, he drove one home today to see how much more space it will give us in our garage. The grandchildren in Louisiana can not believe that “Papa” would buy a Scion – I find it a little hard to believe myself.”

LOL!

Written by furthermusings

August 26, 2005 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Laughter

Sweet Relief!

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I’ve just finished an incomplete from the spring a smooth week before classes start. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have that behind me.

Today Charity is working at her new job as she has been for the two previous days and I am sitting in the living room with the windows and doors open letting the breeze come through the house along with the smell of cut wood from the lumber yard behind us.

It is currently 81 degrees with 61% humidity. That might sound hot some places but for us in Chapel Hill it is a blessedly cool August day.

Written by furthermusings

August 24, 2005 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Political Science

Bald and Beautiful

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Bald Together

Last weekend I went up to see my parents in the mountains while Charity was in Lincoln for the wedding of her former roommate. As Mom has finished her chemo I reshaved my head so we could grab a few pictures together and bald.

Unfortunately Dad’s camera has a good bit of trouble focusing on people (an inconvenient feature in a camera) so the pictures were fairly blurry. This case it is probably just as well as my mother wouldn�t like pictures of her bald on the internet.

Mom�s radiation starts in early September shortly after her trip to Nova Scotia with Dad. After that life enters the wait and see phase for the family. If the cancer spreads and settles in another organ (lung, bone or liver) her life expectancy is three years. The only time we’ll hear a definite answer about whether or not she has cancer is if it is “yes, she does.” You are never “clean.”

I hope that this is the last time that she is bald.

Written by furthermusings

August 16, 2005 at 12:08 am

Posted in Pictures

An International Evening

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After dropping my wife off at the airport for her flight to Tampa tonight I went shopping at an art store, then at Best Buy and finally at Wal-Mart. Six hours later, as I get ready to go to bed, I’m thinking about how international my evening was.

When I got in the car with Charity I was wearing a Clemson shirt (manufactured in Mexico), underwear (Honduras), shorts (USA) and sandals (USA). We drove to the airport using gas that, if imported, had a 75% chance of coming from either Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Canada, Nigeria or Mexico.

After kissing Charity goodbye at the Delta gate I drove to the art supply store and bought paints (France), lacquer (USA), and a brush (China) before dropping by Home Depot to buy insecticidal soap (trademarked from a German company) which will hopefully kill the spider mites that have been excreting a sticky substance across the top of my dresser from their perch in the leaves of my schefflera (a plant species originally from Taiwan).

From the art supply store I drove over to Best Buy in search of a USB connector cable for my new HP printer/scanner (China) that I bought last weekend. The connecter cables at “Best Buy” were $32 and the headset I wanted for my computer was $50! Fortunately Wal-Mart (USA) is across the parking lot so I marched across the pavement; found my way back to the electronics department, and found a similar cable (China) for $9! (At that point I began praising Wal-Mart and markets.) I found a head-set for $20 which I will use to talk to my sister (Bosnia) for free via Skype. (Sweden)

Now this blog entry might not have been written if I had walked a different route from the back of the store to the front . . . but I wandered through the food section. At that point the Wal-Mart tax (which says you will always spend twice what you came to spend) was imposed upon me. I bought bread (USA and 86 cents cheaper than my normal grocery store, Food Lion, which is owned by a Belgian company), pretzels (USA), Lipton Tea (35 different countries but primarily India, Kenya, Tanzania) and “Sam’s Choice Tropical Trail Mix.” (Thailand, Chile, Argentina, USA, Philippines, Brazil, Canada, Turkey, South Africa, Costa Rica, Guatemala and “Africa”!)

When I returned home I began to unload my shopping. After an unsuccessful go at installing the printer software on my computer (South Korea) I spent an hour talking to Ankit (Delhi, India), the HP computer help man. As we waited on the software to install Ankit and I talked about Bollywood movies, different wonderful aspects of India, and mentioned many a country during the cricket portion of our conversation (countries I will refrain from adding to the map).

It’s late now and as I type this entry in my shorts (Pakistan) I am thinking about how international our everyday world is. It was reading the back of the trail mix bag that got me started on this entry, but it is Ankit who is on my mind as I finish writing. His accent was discernable but his words clear. He was accurate, helpful, clear in his directions.

As he works the morning shift in Delhi his wage is a large part of what makes it possible for me to own a “printer-scanner-copier” and have free tech support for $70. Looking up at the world map tacked to our wall I wonder at all the different countries and people that played a small role in my evening and am a bit awestruck by the vast geographic scope of my commerce.

worldmap.gif
25 different countries on five continents

Written by furthermusings

August 10, 2005 at 12:04 am

Via Adbusters

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A friend of mine has this posted on his office door.

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My friend brought it to our L’Abri style discussion group on Saturday night where we discussed whether or not money is an evil and whether or not loving money particularly is worse (or different) than loving the things money buys you. There were a variety of opinions and a nice discussion ensued.

Written by furthermusings

August 1, 2005 at 10:12 am

Posted in Pictures