Watchin’ the State o’ the Union, drinkin’ a second glass of wine, thinkin’ some thoughts. Among them:
Hey, there’s my congressman. Hansen Clarke. Big clapper. Well, it’s a big night for the D, on all fronts. We get major shoutouts in the SOTU, and the Tigers sign Prince Fielder. Here’s a rerun the Freep dug up from the vaults, about young Prince when he was a Little Leaguer in the Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League. Note the photo. He has a great look in his eye, but clearly took that McDonald’s ad he did with his father to heart. On the other hand, one of the things to love about baseball is that some great players look like they enjoy an extra Pabst Blue Ribbon or three on the off days.
And it’s a good day for my darling daughter, entering the homestretch of midterms week. Today is history and gym. Yes, gym. They’ve been doing parts of it for the last week or so, and today is the 20-minute run, followed by the written test.
“A written test in gym?” her mother asked. “What sort of questions?”
“About stretching and stuff,” she said.
I hope she aces it. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her she’s getting off easy, gym-wise. Our system required .75 credits of gym to graduate, and every year was .25. You got senior year off, if you didn’t skip it chronically, which my friend Jeff did, to avoid getting his ass kicked for being an obvious homosexual. When they threatened to withhold his diploma, he signed up for six weeks of summer-school gym, which consisted of riding bikes and playing cards indoors on rainy days. No locker rooms, no ass-kicking, and the diploma arrived in August instead of June. I asked if he’d do it all again, knowing he missed “Pomp & Circumstance” at Vet’s Memorial and the all-night party.
“Absolutely,” he said.
Tells you everything you need to know about gym.
If she completes this year satisfactorily, Kate will never have to set foot in another high-school gym for anything but dances and pep rallies before graduation. So I hope she remembers how to stretch.
Bloggage? Oh, I’m sure we have some:
The SOTU featured warnings that “the middle class is under threat because of growing disparities between the rich and everyone else in America.” You don’t say. Did I link to that piece in last Sunday’s NYT, about Apple and its work at Foxconn, the Mordor-like Chinese factory where our favorite devices are born? No? You should read it, if you have the chance. It’s long, but like a horror movie, it’s hard to tear your eyes away. When Steve Jobs demanded an scratchproof glass screen for the iPhone, and demanded it be perfect in six weeks, they knew where to turn:
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
…When an Apple team visited, the Chinese plant’s owners were already constructing a new wing. “This is in case you give us the contract,” the manager said, according to a former Apple executive. The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory. It had a warehouse filled with glass samples available to Apple, free of charge. The owners made engineers available at almost no cost. They had built on-site dormitories so employees would be available 24 hours a day.
That’s why the middle class is in trouble — because we cannot compete with slave labor, essentially. What? You don’t want to live in a dorm attached to your workplace (eight to a room) and be roused at midnight to work a 12-hour shift in the factory that was built by the government? Lazy, lazy, lazy.
I missed Our Man Mitch’s rebuttal last night. Was it any good?
This makes me immediately seek detox with celebrity gossip. Here’s a photo of Demi Moore, and even though it is only head and shoulders, shows the outsize-head-on-tiny-body prototype so common in movie stars. Bonus: Patton Oswalt’s tweet stream after being robbed of an Academy Award nomination.
Time for work. Hump day!