Sunday, 20 July 2014

09:51 - Every Saturday I do the laundry, and every time I’m annoyed as I read the labels on our clothing. Not the vendors’ names. They’re mostly L. L. Bean, Lands’ End, Carhartt, Hanes, Champion, and so on, what used to be good brands. No, it’s the countries of origin that annoy me.

When Barbara and I married in 1983, nearly all our clothing and bedding was made in the US. There were a few items from Canada or England, with an occasional item from Denmark, Sweden, Australia, or some other first-world country. Now, other than a few old pieces of clothing, nearly all of it is from third-world countries. Yesterday, I noticed labels from Mexico, Honduras, Malaysia, Peru, China, India, Turkey, and Jordan. My Hanes underpants were made in Vietnam! Not all that long ago, those underpants would have been made in a plant in Winston-Salem.

Sourcing this stuff from third-world countries is bad enough. The textile industry used to employ tens of thousands of workers in North Carolina, almost none of whom still have jobs in textiles. Same goes for the furniture industry, which has also nearly been wiped out by so-called free trade. But the other bad thing is that product quality is a pale shadow of what it once was. Materials are thinner, stitching is shoddy, and quality control is next to non-existent. I have a new package of Hanes underpants. Twenty years ago, these wouldn’t have been good enough to qualify as factory seconds to be sold in the outlet store. Now, they’re considered firsts.

Just out of curiosity, I visited the LL Bean website and searched for items made in the US. There were only a handful on offer, mostly small accessories. The thousands of other SKUs they carry are all imported. Not a single one of LL Bean’s jeans is made in the US. So I checked the Lands’ End website. Again, the overwhelming majority of their stuff is imported. Lands’ End does at least carry a few lines of jeans that are US made. Their imported jeans sell for around $50, with the US-made ones around $75. Apparently, US-made carries a 50% premium, at least at Lands’ End.

So I visited the All American Clothing website, and found that they sell their US-made jeans for about the same price that Lands’ End and LL Bean sell their imported stuff. I know where my next pair of jeans is coming from.


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48 Responses to Sunday, 20 July 2014

  1. SteveF says:

    Introductory caveat: I know nothing first-hand about the clothing manufacturing industry, in the US or abroad.

    The topic of shoddy clothing comes up from time to time where I see it, with complaints about thinner material, thinner thread, and overall poorer quality in the products imported to the US from overseas. Sometimes people claiming to be knowledgeable will chime in and say the fault lies entirely with the US corporations. Hanes and whoever have explicit standards for material weight, number of stitches per inch, and whatever else makes up “quality”. If a shirt made in Vietnam is thin and flimsy, it’s because Izod specced it that way or because Club Room skimped on inspectors and allowed in substandard merchandise.

    Same goes for electronics. If MP3 players made in the PRC but carrying a US brand tend to fail within three months, it’s because the US company has decided that the source-side savings more than make up for customer dissatisfaction and the cost of handling returns. (Or else the US company has incompetent management, a possibility which cannot be discounted.)

      

  2. OFD says:

    “The textile industry used to employ tens of thousands of workers in North Carolina, almost none of whom still have jobs in textiles. Same goes for the furniture industry, which has also nearly been wiped out by so-called free trade.”

    Both of those industries were huge in Maffachufetts, especially, during the first half of the 20th-C; I was born in New Bedford, which had a slew of textile mills belching filth into the air and ground water, but employing tens of thousands. Gardner was known as “Chair City” and Winchendon was “Toy Town.” All of that was gone and moved down to the Carolinas in the 70s and 80s.

    More famous towns: Southbridge was the “Eye of the Commonwealth” (American Optical); Leominster was the Plastics Capital of the World; New Bedford itself was the “Whaling Capital of the World;” Route 128 was “America’s Technology Highway;” and Framingham, where I grew up, had GM. All gone now.

    The choices for standard-issue blue-collar people are Walmart, the convenience mart/gas station, the Army, or firing up a meth lab and selling oxy by the case. Or maybe they can somehow cobble together a blog and some kind of gig on the internet, the biggest money-maker being porn, of course.

    Thanks for that American clothing link.

      

  3. ech says:

    45 years ago today, men landed on Earth’s Moon for the first time.

      

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As far as the corporations being responsible for the decline in product quality, yes but not intentionally. Hanes, for example, can spec whatever they want. What they actually get is what the factory in the third world decides to send them. So, you’re a Hanes manager, and you spec everything the way it should be. Months later, a ship shows up and starts unloading containers. You now have 80 billion pieces of underwear or whatever that doesn’t meet specs. What are you going to do? Send it back and let your wholesalers order from someone else because you can’t supply product? Bitch out the third-world factory manager and threaten to take your business somewhere else? Where, exactly? China is notorious for this kind of behavior. Apparently, it’s cultural. They delight in cheating. Indian factories are generally a lot better about meeting specs and doing good work. I’m sure there are other countries that do good work as well. I don’t care. I want to see products made locally by other Americans, even if they cost more. That should at least be a mainstream option. Sell the third-world garbage at Walmart, fine. But sell US made product lines at Costco, on-line retailers, etc. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, cheap third-world garbage ends up costing more in the long run than better quality US-made stuff.

      

  5. rick says:

    We were in China in February. We passed a New Balance store that advertised shoes Made in U.S.A. in their window. I should have taken a picture of it.

    I have been buying American made shoes for a number of years from Hersey Custom Shoes (http://www.herseycustomshoe.com/) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. They are not cheap, but they are truly custom made. They make custom lasts of your feet. You can either trace your feet and send them the tracing or, if you go into the shop, they will measure your feet. They keep the last and you can order shoes based on your last. Unlike the cheap (and not so cheap) Nike shoes and similar brands. the shoes are well made and can be re-soled. I have a couple of pairs that have been re-soled twice. They don’t make a dress shoe, but I almost never wear dress shoes. They even made me special shoes for sailing with white, non-marking soles and nylon uppers. It takes six to eight weeks to get a pair, but the cost and wait is worth it.

    Rick in Portland

      

  6. OFD says:

    “…Hersey Custom Shoes (http://www.herseycustomshoe.com/) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.”

    Wow, thanks for that link, too! I have a hammer toe on my right foot plus bunion and wearing shoes has been painful. The VA may be fixing that stuff for me this summer, though, so I’ll wait and see what they can do.

    Fitchburg is a tough and gritty New England mill town, or it was once a mill town. Unemployment and dope now, like so many abandoned and semi-abandoned mill towns in New England and north-country New York.

    I don’t buy clothes often so I don’t mind spending the dough for Murkan-made and seek to do so for other stuff all the time. We also try to buy local as much as possible.

      

  7. MrAtoz says:

    Wut up in Florida?

    A Florida jury awarded a widow $23.6 billion in punitive damages in her lawsuit against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, her lawyer said.

    The lawyer said the jury was “courageous”. I say they are stupid. Unbelievable. I’m moving to Florida and claiming the air made me sick. Sue the EPA for not doing their job for $100 billion. Just like the lawyer saying it should have been more. He’s probably getting 99% of the take.

      

  8. MrAtoz says:

    20 shot, two dead in Chicago and the weekend isn’t over yet. Ochooma, Holder, Lurch, anybody? Yawn.

      

  9. Miles_Teg says:

    The fags displayed in that story are on sale for $5.75. Here in Oz I don’t think you can get a packet for under $20.

      

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    When I moved to Winston-Salem in 1980, $5.75 would buy you a carton (200 cigarettes).

      

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Actually, it was worse than that. I think I remember that a carton of premium cigarettes was $3.65.

      

  12. OFD says:

    “…$23.6 billion in punitive damages…”

    Is that right, “billion” and not “million”? If so, it’s insane, and probably designed, like the rest of these suits, to put the tobacco companies outta business; same chit they’re trying with firearms manufacturers; sue them out of existence.

    “…20 shot, two dead in Chicago and the weekend isn’t over yet.”

    Say, isn’t Chicago one of them places they got them some really strict gun laws? Yeah, I thought so. How’s that working out for ya, Barry, Rahm, Eric, Lurch, et. al.? (crickets…)

    Easier to bust on Lynn or Bob or me and make our lives miserable, amirite?

    We got ciggies for a quarter a pack at the BX and PX sites in SEA back in the day. I remember they were .65 cents outta vending machines here.

      

  13. CowboySlim says:

    My next jeans will be Wranglers from the Boot Barn:
    http://www.bootbarn.com/Wrangler-Men%27s-Original-Fit-Rigid-Jeans/2000033,default,pd.html?dwvar_2000033_color=Blue

    I still buy long sleeve, button down shirts from Lands End and find there quality still quite high.

    Outside of that, it’s Lacoste for the tennis courts, but that was never made in the USA.

    And, when married 5 decades ago, all our TVs were made here. Actually, one time took our Admiral 5 miles down our nearest through street in Chicago to the factory for repair. Mostly women in babushkas in their doing the soldering.

      

  14. CowboySlim says:

    But wait there’s more:

    All my boots are USA made:
    http://www.whitesboots.com/
    http://www.murgaboots.com/

    About the shootings:
    My wife and I left Chicago for SoCal 52 years ago, before the self-genocide. I still have two sisters living there, but they are in supposedly safe neighborhoods and stay off the streets after dark.

      

  15. MrAtoz says:

    Out playing bingo with wife. In comes a woman in one of those joystick scooters. Except this one is TWICE as wide as any I’ve ever seen. She had this big blanket over her. Turned out to be blubber. Biggest woman I’ve ever seen. Probably need all of Mr. OFD’s taxes to pay for that thing. Couldn’t fit down the aisles so she had to park by a wall table. Probably will sue the casinoe for lack of “handicap parking” for her battlewagon scooter.

      

  16. OFD says:

    The prices at the Boot Barn seem pretty good; tx for the link, podner.

    Shootings: IIRC, the four Murkan cities with the toughest gun laws have the worst violent crime and gangsta activity; those with little or no gun laws are the safest. Gee, ya think criminal types know which citizens are more likely to be armed themselves? They’ve done surveys inside the prisons and very few of these guys will choose to take on a possible gun owner/carrier when the pickings are so much easier elsewhere. Good luck to criminal zombies fleeing north into Vermont and NH; they’ll be shot to shit within a few miles of crossing the state lines.

    “Probably need all of Mr. OFD’s taxes to pay for that thing.”

    No doubt. Plus all the crappy junk food she gobbles every day. But the typical libtard fem reaction is either “Oh that poor soul…” or “Stop being such a pig; large people are beautiful, too!” Yeah, I know; I’m large, hon, but if we go by proportions, and I was as huge as the woman MrAtoz saw today, I’d be seven feet tall and a thousand pounds. Is that beautiful to you, hon? Make your thighs twitch in fevered anticipation, does it?

      

  17. Alan says:

    From Wisconsin Public Radio on “to the best of our Knowledge”

    Lab Lit
    http://www.ttbook.org/book/lab-lit
    Science is moving out of the lab and into the pages of literary fiction. This week, we introduce the “Lab Lit” movement and talk about why fiction needs more realistic portrayals of scientists and science culture. Plus, novelists Andrea Barrett, Elizabeth Gilbert and Lucy Jane Bledsoe discuss the ways science inspires their fiction.

    http://www.lablit.com

      

  18. Roy Harvey says:

    My next jeans, like the last three pair I bought, will cost $15 and say Kirkland on them. No boot-tops, no faded, no stone-washed, just a basic pair of jeans. My only complaint is that the coin pocket was renamed a cell-phone pocket and made too deep to retrieve my change.

      

  19. SteveF says:

    Roy, that coin pocket was a watch pocket before that. Because many people use their phones as watches, the pocket is once again a watch pocket, and for you to deny that makes you sound like a global-warming-we’re-all-gonna-die denier. And a sexist member of the heteronormative patriarchy, too, more likely than not.

      

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    They’re mostly L. L. Bean, Lands’ End, Carhartt, Hanes, Champion, and so on, what used to be good brands.

    I have a lot of these also. The last shirt that I got from Lands End sucked. I will never buy another shirt from them.

    I am looking for short sleeve, vertical striped, button down XL shirt in Tall. None of that no iron crap either.

      

  21. OFD says:

    “…for you to deny that makes you sound like a global-warming-we’re-all-gonna-die denier. And a sexist member of the heteronormative patriarchy, too, more likely than not.”

    Yah, for sure; we gotta keep an eye on this Mr. Roy character; he’s a wrong one, eh?

    Word out on the political hustings is that Fauxcahauntus Warren would be the cat’s whiskers or the cat’s meow for the Dem cretins but they’ll “settle” for HILLARY!, of course. And I saw that Drudge headline on Governor Moonbeam possibly running; what a hoot; this is gonna be great! I’m stocking up now on Moxie and pretzels to watch these candidates and whoever the Repub dildos come up with. With no teevee! All via net and shortwave! It CAN be done!!!

    I’m slowly weaning myself off the blue jeans; going for the tactical pants and shirts now and the heavy-duty belts and to the “appendix-carry” method. Highly recommended, the latter, I mean.

    “…button down XL shirt in Tall…”

    You is XLT?? How can that be? Haha, just kidding. I’m 2XLT. What’s hard, at least in the stores, is finding pants in my size, and for dress shirts, the right neck size and sleeve length combination. Life is hard.

      

  22. Lynn McGuire says:

    You is XLT?? How can that be? Haha, just kidding. I’m 2XLT. What’s hard, at least in the stores, is finding pants in my size, and for dress shirts, the right neck size and sleeve length combination. Life is hard.

    American made, XLT. Not American made, 2XLT.

    40×33 pants. Difficult to find. Jeans are a freaking disaster. Need to lose 20 lbs so I can get back into 38×34 (that is 230 lbs). Another 20 lbs down and I am 36×34, what I weighed and wore in college.

    Went and saw the new Ape movie with Dad this weekend. Was ok, not great. Next will bring out the chains for the humans. Too bad Roddy McDowell is gone.

      

  23. Lynn McGuire says:

    BTW, after potluck for lunch at the rents church and potluck tonight at my home church, you may just have to role me home. Plus the wife made an exquisite banana cake with cream cheese icing.

      

  24. brad says:

    I think RBT is being a bit naive here. First, for US quality – remember when Japanese cars burst onto the scene, as the solution to the crappy US cars available at the time? The US has plenty of companies willing to produce lousy quality locally…

    Second, overseas manufacturers will indeed hold to specifications, because they otherwise won’t get paid. The purchasing business has the gold, and he who has the gold makes the rules. And if the factory in Pakistan won’t do what it’s told, then the factory in India, or Vietnam, or China certainly will.

    We order quite a lot of stuff from Lands End – the quality has always been quite good. Since they were taken over a couple of years ago, the selection seems to have been reduced somewhat – I expect some MBA with a spreadsheet was told to optimize inventory. The result is that we order less than we used to, because their (never very adventurous) selection now really only contains standard stuff. Like Lynn, I also like short-sleeved dress shirts, and they have almost none.

    One item I like a lot from Lands End are their “colored” jeans. They only offer them in black, but they are dyed with a permanent dye and do not fade. I like to wear jeans to work – for comfort, not as a fashion statement – and faded jeans eventually start to look unprofessional, even when the fabric is still just fine. Wish they’d dare to offer these in blue as well…

    CowboySlim’s link to Boot Barn may be a treasure – I’ll have to try them and see.
    I really like western style shirts, especially those with snaps instead of buttons, and the few I have from my last trip to the US are wearing out fast.

    I see that Boot Barn hase the same bizarre shipping price strategy as Lands End: the more you spend, the more they charge. In what MBA universe does that make sense?

      

  25. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    What’s hard, at least in the stores, is finding pants in my size

    You think you have it hard? Try finding a hat in my size, XXXXXXXL. Seriously.

      

  26. Greg Norton says:

    The return policies at LL Bean and Lands End used to be their final quality control mechanism, but LL Bean recently changed the policy, quietly, to issue store credit for anything more than four years old.

      

  27. Roy Harvey says:

    Lynn McGuire says:
    I am looking for short sleeve, vertical striped, button down XL shirt in Tall. None of that no iron crap either.

    Perhaps this?

      

  28. Roy Harvey says:

    None of that no iron crap either.

    My wife has an iron, somewhere, but I do my own laundry. I have never owned an iron, and anything I buy that needs to not be wrinkled will be the best no iron crap I can find.

    All my shirts are tall, except my undershirts. They are all Extra Tall. No problem finding them with mail order from JCP, but as has been observed quality control continues to fall.

      

  29. Roy Harvey says:

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Duluth Trading Company.

      

  30. OFD says:

    Good links here, outstanding!

    We have a JCP in our town just up the road and they have a fairly well-stocked B&T section; still a problem finding my size pants, though, and sport coats that are BOTH XL and T or “Long.”

    Another sunny day with blue skies here; turned 61 the other day and last night and today we have Princess and three of her friends visiting; one each from Chile, Germany and Greece, but all currently living in Montreal. Two chicks and one guy; the guy looks kinda weird but speaks normally; older blonde German chick and the Greek chick are sorta cute. They’re going out kayaking in another hour or two; then we gotta get the mutt to the vet and then Mrs. OFD is driving them all back to Montreal later this afternoon, when I can have blessed P & Q again.

    Truck to shop tomorrow and wife to the airport, three days in Philly. Another week-long trip to northern NB to close out the cottage up there and then a couple of weeks in Mordor and Albany.

    Before we know it the leaves will be turning again here.

      

  31. Chad says:

    My 2¢…

    1) Americans don’t want to work in textile factories anymore. Generations of Americans told their kids to go to college so they wouldn’t have to work in a factory. Consequently, we’ve stigmatized manufacturing jobs to be jobs for “losers.”

    2) Unions have inflated wages in American manufacturing so much that they’ve priced their labor out of the market. When a blue collar employee is making $35/hour to stand in front of a machine and pull a lever, then their job is going to be off-shored.

    3) Where it’s manufactured has little to do with quality. Apple demands and gets top quality from its manufacturing centers in China. Clothing wholesalers don’t get that quality because they don’t enforce that quality. They should have employees on the ground in China inspecting quality at the factory and that level of vigilance should be in the contract.

    4) Made in the USA can be quite deceptive. Sometimes those jeans are simply cut and stitched together from denim that is made in the third world. There’s a lot of “Made in the USA from foreign materials” stuff being sold as simply “Made in the USA.” Frequently, “Made in the USA” simply means “Assembled in the USA.”

    5) My biggest pet peeve with clothing isn’t the stitching. It’s easy enough, and cheap enough, to walk into a local sewing shop (lots of these here because of the demand created by the military base for uniform alterations) to have them fixed up. Heck, they’ll hem pants while you wait for $5. Also, I am lucky enough to have both a mother and mother-in-law that love to sew. My peeve, as a tall man, is that nothing is made to be altered. It used to be that sleeves and pant legs had a few inches of fabric rolled up at the end so they could be let out an inch or two. Now they barely have enough fabric to make a hem and “letting out” is no longer an option at all. So, I have a limited selection of what I can buy and wear as I have to stick to “tall sizes” which so few retailers have. I can almost never wear a souvenir t-shirt as they’re always too short and no venue sells souvenir shirts in tall sizes. My other related peeve is that pre-shrinking is a joke anymore and most of the stuff that I buy that fits well no longer fits after its first trip through the washer and dryer. Expecting consumers to wash everything in cold and hang it to dry is absurd bullshit from manufacturers that are too cheap to properly pre-shrink their garments.

    On a related note, this started off as a Kickstarter project. It’s a hoodie guaranteed to last 10 years and Made in the USA: http://www.flintandtinderusa.com/ten-year-hoodie

      

  32. dkreck says:

    Black jeans for work. I agree they look good enough and they are about all I ever wear. In the eighties I had to wear slacks, mostly casual as I avoided dress styles. Later that evolved to Dockers as did most of the guys I worked with but by the late 90s I just went to jeans. Mostly Levis back then. I had bought some High Sierras at Mervyns and they were pretty good and really cheap. Still have some that I wear for kick about. Several years ago Levi started being made in Columbia and the damn fit changed. Hated them, too long in the crotch and wide in the leg.. Went to Lee and found the regular fit was right. Always can find them at Sears and on sales often. Yes they fade but not too fast (wash them inside out on cold). Must have a dozen pairs, some retired to non-work. Put on the black Roper boots and I’m as dressed up as I’m gonna get. Well maybe a casual sports coat on top, for weddings and funerals.

      

  33. OFD says:

    All good points; I’ve always maintained that the “made in the USA” stuff is deceptive; esp. w/regard to vehicles, and this was during a period when there was rather vociferous caterwauling from the unions to “buy American.” They priced themselves out of the market, as have the gummint union stooges, at the city, state and Fed levels, and now at the town and city levels the gummints are going bankrupt, which is a great thing, good riddance.

      

  34. Ray Thompson says:

    When a blue collar employee is making $35/hour to stand in front of a machine and pull a lever, then their job is going to be off-shored.

    You totally fail to understand the union shop and the mindset. Let me set you straight on what is totally wrong with your statement.

    A good union shop would be paying someone $35.00 an hour to stand and watch a machine that pulls it own lever. A good union worker does not want to be doing any manual labor at the level of pay.

      

  35. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Our textile workers weren’t unionized, and they never made $35/hour or anything close to that. At a guess, they made maybe 125% to 150% of minimum wage and few or no benefits, but that was enough to support a family if both parents were working.

      

  36. OFD says:

    “A good union worker does not want to be doing any manual labor at the level of pay.”

    Say, this Mr. Ray guy bears watching; a real cynical cuss; we can’t have that in the New World Order and it detracts quite a bit from our Hope and Change focus.

    “At a guess, they made maybe 125% to 150% of minimum wage and few or no benefits, but that was enough to support a family if both parents were working.”

    Again, can’t have that. Foreign drones and slave workers will do that work for a pittance with zero bennies and be glad of it and the libertarians on FaceCrack rejoice and slam anyone for suggesting that this isn’t quite right, say, in terms of national sovereignty and “looking out for our own people.” Their mindset is totally “free market,” and let the chips fall where they may, break a few eggs to make an omelet, and no such thing as a free lunch and globalism is the bold new wave of the future, etc., etc., and thus pretty much indistinguishable from the corporate overlords’ manner of thinking. So those blue-collar workers who supported their families and thought sending their kids to college would mean a better life for them, those blue-collar workers in New England the Carolinas….can go pound sand. Screw them.

    BTW, they weren’t unionized up here, either.

    Then the next greatest thing was high-tech, and all those firms along America’s Technology Highway, Route 128, outside Boston and M.I.T. and Harvard enclaves of engineers and scientists. Where is it now? A mere shadow, a vestige, of its former self. They moved out to Kalifornia and Hong Kong and Singapore and isn’t this just the most wonderful thing ever?

    We make nothing here anymore, other than fiat currency, tee-vee shows and movies, and government interference and repression.

      

  37. Ray Thompson says:

    Say, this Mr. Ray guy bears watching; a real cynical cuss;

    I have been reading too many of your posts Mr. OFD. You are becoming a bad influence. :)

    When I lived in San Antonio there was a Levi factory on the south side of town near Kelly AFB. South side was lower income area of San Antonio so the plant never lacked for workers. Unfortunately, it was unionized.

    Some union leader decided the workers were not making enough so they organized a strike against Levi. The company said, truthfully, that if they had to pay higher wages the plant would no longer be profitable and would close. Levi even exposed the books on the plant operational costs.

    The union took it to arbitration, which Levi had agreed to, and got a bleeding heart liberal judge (or whatever they call arbitrators) to rule against Levi in spite of the cost records being exposed. So the workers go their increase in pay and went back to work.

    Six months later Levi closed the plant. I suspect it took Levi six months to ramp up, or relocate, production elsewhere. The workers screamed that Levi had stiffed them. Levi explained that this was all brought out during the hearings. So these people, rather than having a job, now had nothing thanks to clueless greedy union leadership.

    The plant stayed closed for two years. Levi reopened the plant, non-unionized. The laid off workers demanded their old jobs back. Levi told them they could apply but that was no guarantee they would get their jobs. Very few actually got their old jobs back.

    Same basic thing happened in Oak Ridge. Boeing had a plant that supported the nuclear weapons facilities. They went on strike for about six months. I passed them everyday and would yell at them as I went past. Boeing just closed the plant rather than submit to the union. The union bosses basically conned everyone into losing their jobs for want of $0.25 more an hour. The plant has not reopened 10+ years later.

      

  38. OFD says:

    So basically what we’ve had here in this country is first one side, management, and then the other, the unions, playing hardball, and becoming increasingly vicious about it. So be it. Now we know how it all works.

    On a personal history note; I was a founding member of a small police union in the mid-80s down in MA, and our issues mainly had to do with gross mismanagement by department brass (drunk sergeants on duty, discharge of firearms at random, falsified and missing reports, falsified crime reporting statistics, etc., etc., plus vehicle and officer safety problems). We felt we had no choice at the time; once we got it established, the management pulled out every stop and trick in the book to sandbag us, from sending the brass to union-busting legal seminars free of charge, with the instructor being their own lawyer, to scheduling meetings with us to coincide with our days off or lasting all day after we worked a midnight shift, stuff like that, plus continued falsification of documents. We then went into “working by the book” mode, so thereafter it was just a continued miserable battle every frigging day with them over everything.

    That was my last cop job and I finally just got the eff out in ’86; most of the accumulated stress derived from that whole long episode; robberies, rapes and brawls, with the occasional homicide or suicide causing zero stress by comparison. That plus Affirmative Action and the beginning mass worship of the Goddess Diversity, which saw us saddled with minority and women officers who couldn’t tie their shoes and couldn’t be relied upon for backup. Pencil-whipped through the training academies, of course, and then just set out on the streets with us.

    Two quick copchick vignettes:

    1.) We’ve detained three suspect skells, possible wanted for B&E’s and assaults in the ‘hood; I tell the copchick to radio in our location and situation. She tugs on the other officer’s sleeve and asks “Where are we?” Within hearing of said skells, natch. Jesus wept.

    2.) Blonde copchick who thought her shit was ice cream. Hardly ever actually on duty and doing actual police work, but very busy visiting with officers in other jurisdictions, arranging social events, and being involved not only with wrong State Police dicks selling coke but also hooked up with sequestered mob figures in Boston, awaiting various trials, the Italian opposite numbers of the Irish Winter Hill Gang and Whitey Bulger’s crew. She went on to some training council gig for the Commonwealth, natch, and then to ATF; last heard she retired (younger than me by years) on disability.

      

  39. Lynn McGuire says:

    Perhaps this? http://www.jcpenney.com/men/dress-shirts-ties/dress-shirts/stafford-short-sleeve-oxford-dress-shirt-big-tall/prod.jump?ppId=pp5003940601&catId=cat100250017&deptId=dept20000014&topDim=Collar&topDimvalue=button+down&dimCombo=Collar|Sleeve+Length|&dimComboVal=button+down|short+sleeve|&currentDim=Sleeve+Length&currentDimVal=short+sleeve&colorizedImg=DP0317201418301839C.tif&urlState=/men/shop-clothing/dress-shirts-ties/dress-shirts/short-sleeve/_/N-1nopepZ1z140a9Z1mt/cat.jump

    Nope, bummer. Forgot my other requirement, 100% cotton. Yes, I am a primma donna and have sensitive skin. Otherwise I would just wear Columbia shirts.

      

  40. Roy Harvey says:

    Then none of these probably work either.

      

  41. OFD says:

    “…and have sensitive skin.”

    Yikes, how does that work for ya down in sunny ol’ Texas?

    I’m a redhead so I gotta be careful even up here in benighted Wintuh Wunduh-Land.

      

  42. SteveF says:

    Try finding a hat in my size, XXXXXXXL. Seriously.

    Back when I had hair, my Army hat size was 7 5/8. I’m not sure what that was supposed to be, as it wasn’t quite the diameter if the hat was held circular, but bottom line was, pretty stinkin’ big. The clothing sales usually had to special order them for me.

    Now that I don’t have hair (not totally bald, but it’s receded enough I just buzz the rest off) my hat size is irrelevant because I don’t wear hats. Pull up the hood on my hooded sweatshirt if it’s chilly. (Yes, I wear hoodies. Does that make me an honorary coulda-been-Obama’s-son?)

      

  43. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Hat sizing varies a lot, but typically 7-1/2 to 7-5/8 is XL. 7-3/4 to 7-7/8 is XXL. 8 to 8-1/8 is XXXL. 8-1/4 to 8-3/8 is XXXXL. 8-1/2 to 8-5/8 is XXXXXL. 8-3/4 to 8-7/8 is XXXXXXL. 9 to 9-1/8 is XXXXXXXL. And so on.

    I used to wear a 7XL (9″), but I think my head has shrunk.

      

  44. SteveF says:

    Hmm. I certainly could be rembering wrong. Maybe it was 8 5/8. Quite big and often not stocked, so a single XL doesn’t seem big enough. -shrug- Hardly matters. Big head full of yummy delicious brains makes me Zombie Target 1, that’s all that matters.

      

  45. OFD says:

    I wear either the XL or XXL hat depending on the fit; I read somewhere that whether or not our heads get smaller, our skulls get thicker.

    So….when do the missiles start flying between Grand Forks and Vladivostok?

    And didn’t A-Q or I.S. or one of them wacky hadji groups threaten to hit us again here, big-time?

    Will Jerry Brown run for Prez?

    Can HILLARY! manage OK on the $12 million she made last year, as…um…SecState? I dint know da gig paid dat much…

    Has Eric Holder ever seen a copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, much less read them?

    And this last: take a look at a pic of Ronan Farrow and tell me it’s Woody Allen’s son…

      

  46. SteveF says:

    Eric Holder surely took a Con Law class, but misunderstood what the Con part meant.

      

  47. OFD says:

    Sorry, dude, but Mr. Holder’s position would be that YOU misunderstood what the Con Law class was about. And if you disagree, you must be rayciss.

    Mrs. OFD just took a quick look at Ronan Farrow’s pic and we decided that he was about to break into “My Way” any second.

    “Yes, I wear hoodies. Does that make me an honorary coulda-been-Obama’s-son?)”

    Not till you gots yo Skittles and purple drank stuff and be lookin’ in peeps’ windas in a ‘hood where you don’t effin belong at the time of night you aint sposed to be there be-boppin’ round. I don’t wear hoodies ’cause they cuts off my peripheral vision too much. And I like checking the reflections in my specs so’s I can spot mofos comin’ up in back of me, y’all. “Father Paranoia” dat’s me.

      

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