Thursday, March 28, 2013


The new buzzword is officially hip. The Prez likes it, the talking heads are expanding on it, and the public is promoting it. And the funny thing is, the Chinese are doing it, too...

I was speaking to a supplier of mine recently. He is an American citizen of Chinese descent, educated at USC and living near LA. He has a blossoming business in China, opening yogurt shops in major cities while continuing factory work near Hong Kong to produce consumer goods for eventual sale in the US. He is an honest, hard working guy with a beautiful family and thriving businesses. I asked him why US companies were frustrated with Chinese production, moving product back to the US, and he said it was because the Chinese just don't need that commerce as much as they used to. They are thriving on domestic indulgence, no longer relying on foreign entities (well, not as much) and building their own economy right in their backyard. No nit-picky US producer wondering why the factory hasn't hit six-sigma black belt levels in quality. No pesky emails in the middle of the night complaining about delivery. No exchange rate to haggle with. No tax problems to run from. No quota or export license to deal with. In all honesty, I can't say I blame them. We'd do the same thing.

Years ago, when I first traveled to China. I realized how interconnected we were with other countries. I worked in textiles looking for a low cost alternative to the wages paid in the US. We were always looking for that new frontier. Better, faster, cheaper. What we got might have been all that, but we got a whole lot more as well that we didn't want, or realize we would get. We found out that trading our higher wages for down-and-dirty low was attractive, but it came at a higher price when we realized the conditions those folks worked in. We found we could make things better (sort of,) but only because we allowed the environment to suffer. We discovered we could build it faster with hundred of works focused on it, but none trained properly to do the job right. The difference between work cultures was large and the expectations we dictated not necessarily achievable, but we were on a mission to get what we wanted. The unfortunate thing was we traded problems. Now we just have to travel 10k miles and stay up all night to deal with them.

I am excited to keep our jobs and product in the US. Not because anyone wants to hurt the Chinese, but because we are helping ourselves. Sounds like they are doing the same thing. Perhaps the next time I travel to China I will go to see the Great Wall, eat duck blood soup in an open market in Shanghai, and cross the Yangtze in a river boat cruise complete with music and food. And not once will I care about what is being produced, because it won't make that much difference.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Dog Has A Facebook Page

Yep. Chance, my dog, the family dog, browses the friend web on FB whenever he gets the chance. Well, whenever his assistant logs in for him, on account he's a dog, and can't read, write, or do much of anything beyond that which a dog does. While this may seem ridiculous, and it is, somehow humans are determined to personify our pups and make them our peers.

I am not sure when I fell off the truck and hit my head, allowing this to happen, but I can tell you I really don't mind it at all. If this is the worse of my offenses, so be it, I don't think I'm offending too many people.

the moral of this story is that we all have our quarkiness, and as long as we are not injuring orinsulting others, I think most can be forgotten as quickly as recognized.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Dont Golf Much, But David Feherty Might Change That Plan...

It was some time ago when my dear friend Joe Vacossin (RIP Jo-Jo) introduced me to the Golf channel. There is nothing more unbelievably boring to me than 24 hours of golf programming, however, I have always loved the game and admire the many characters involved, so I force myself on occasion to visit this often ignored channel. During one of my forced watching events that I discovered the Feherty show - A lighthearted, often comical and self-deprecating interview platform between Mr. Feherty himself and a target of his affection. While golf seems to be a common thread, the show itself goes far beyond the boredom of back swing and putting, and dives deep into the personalities that Mr. Feherty chats with - flaws and all. I believe it is one of the more brilliant shows on TV today. The show has also reminded me that golf is a great platform for rekindling and strengthening relationships, and the game itself is less important than the lives you surround yourself with while playing.

That being said, I still remember my first day on an 18 hole course. I was paired with my friend Zac, himself an avid golfer and moving quickly towards proficient, when we were introduced to a couple of vintage players that would complete our foursome. They were a seemingly nice couple and we began play as you would. By the 3rd hole it was clear to me that the husband was less than a gentleman. Seeing my lack of ability on the course roused his anger and he let a few tirades go like a child might when a toy is taken away. Not sure how I was supposed to be good at the game, or at least his assumption that I might be, since it was my first day on a true 18. I did my best to cobble some shots together and reach the green, only to be disappointed by my putter, and his further disdain. His wife was cordial, often joking and pleasant, and I was aware that his temper did not serve her liking as well. After one errant putt he let out a strong curse, swung his club angrily at the ball, and walked away in disgust. I could not help think that was somehow his reaction to him enduring my ineptitude. We did not see either of them after the turn. Bummer.

My initial impression of the 18 hole grind may not have been great, however, my love for the game grew over time and my swing and game improved, although marginally. I left the game when moving to the north west as I didn't see much hope in soggy lawns and wet windy days improving my low position in the world rankings, however, I have rekindled that interest almost unbelievably so just by listening to David Feherty make it sound fun again.