I was following the comments about stinky factories in the previous thread. It made me recall a line from an older Jim Harrison novel: If you think a belching smokestack is ugly, try one that isn’t. It was a fact underlined over and over when I was up north last month — good jobs for working-class people are likely to be smelly and/or ugly.
We pulled up to the foundry that’s the heart of East Jordan Iron Works, and it’s this big, steam-belching deal on the shores of a lovely lake. It doesn’t look right, but the parking lot is full of $50,000 pickup trucks and everyone who works there loves their overtime.
A few years ago, there was a photo story in the New York Times about the foundry in India where Con Ed, the local electrical utility, has their manhole covers made. East Jordan Iron Works makes manhole covers for virtually every city in Michigan and many more around the world. The NYT photos showed conditions that would horrify most modern eyes, of barefoot men working around cauldrons of molten iron, sparks flying, the whole bit, all for the usual wage of third-world peanuts. The plants in Michigan pay very well.
Work is frequently done in ugly, smelly places. We can’t all be college professors.
So, how was your weekend? The cold hung on and hung on and is supposed to let up…Tuesday. Well above freezing, 37 whole degrees. Woo! And then? Cold again. FML. I could use a week in Mexico right around now.
And then we went out to the movies. Saw “Maps to the Stars,” yet another David Cronenberg cup of poison that, when the lights go up, make you cackle bleakly. The screening was at Cinema Detroit, located in an old elementary school in the heart of the Cass Corridor — the film is shown in the school auditorium. But the seats are in surprisingly good shape. So much in Detroit is strange, and so much of the strangeness is being paved over by a certain pan-yuppie familiarity, it’s nice to see some things are still the old way.
News: Grand Rapids revels in its low murder rate, the headline says. For some reason, it makes me giggle.
And that’s what I got. I hope you got a little more, and a good week ahead.