Reaping What We Sow


(Cartoonist’s note: I’m repeating another post today, from 10 years ago. It’s a busy week, and I’m doing this instead of simply skipping a day, as is my wont. I do go to some length to show you something I consider worthwhile.)

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but the American south not long ago was littered with what were generically known as “sewing plants.” It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say most towns had one, an almost invisible manufacturing facility tucked away in a second- or thirdhand warehouse where an endless array of sewn goods, from baseball caps to shirts to throw pillows, were produced. Mostly women worked in these places, for not much money, but the plants did provide a significant number of jobs in a lot of towns. We’re not talking long ago, but sewing plants are mostly gone now, to other countries. I don’t know the moral of this story, but I do know having a low-paying, unappreciated job does not mean it won’t be taken away from you.

(addendum: There was a sewing plant in an old cotton warehouse, visible from my front porch. About the time I originally posted the above , it closed. A few years later, the roof fell in. A couple of years ago, they tore it down. I guess I get my ideas on my front porch.)
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71 responses to “Reaping What We Sow”

  1. But it doesn’t only happen here. Most of the Japanese companies famous for consumer electronics are having them made in China or another country now.

  2. When I worked at Penney’s (1969 – 1971) J.P. Stevens was a major supplier for our “White Sales” which I see merger with other companies in 1980’s or so. They probably don’t quite fit the bill for the other business’s that you mentioned. I never got the impression that their hourly workers were the highest paid around, but back then none of us hourly workers were “highly paid” by those standards or today’s.

  3. The talk of clothing labels made me curious enough to look at the shirt I was wearing. Found out that the t-shirt with the name of an old line work clothing maker, bought at a major retailer, was made in Lesotho!

  4. Ken: In late ’50s, I worked a summer month or two for J. P. Stevens (textiles) in their corporate headquarters in NYCity. They received daily teletype reports from places in, I think, NC. Those reports were exceptionally long and I often wondered if the knowledge therein was actually used enough to warrant daily contact of such length. Job taught me a bit about teletypes and another message milieu whose name escapes me: featured a rotating drum with a metallic paper-like removable surface upon which the message became visible. Can anyone supply the name of that latter device?

    My immediate boss was no treasure, so I left for college – maybe 2 weeks earlier than planned – upon her return from vacation.

  5. I remember way back when I was a Production Planner on the Apollo Space Program, we would write production work orders by hand. Then usually a young lady would type a master copy on a “Friden Flexowriter.” The master would would then be place on a “Mimeograph Machine” or a “Ditto Machine” for copying.

  6. cx-p, sounds like the original fax machine. Original placed on rotating drum and scanned. Image transmitted line by line and reproduced on rotating drum at receiving station.

  7. Thanks, guys. Sounds as if “fax” is the winner. I am familiar – VERY – with both ditto and mimeograph, and this was neither. Transmission line-by-line was its feature.

  8. If telex worked in that same fashion, I bow to superior knowledge…no idea whether regular phone lines were used, though. [I can verify, however, that no smoke signals were involved on the NY end of things!]

  9. Barry Fitzgerald’s The Naked City, or maybe another earlier Noir movie showed a cross country photo facsimile transmission of a suspect’s mugshot. Depicted as needing several minutes to complete. Not sure if it was a Bell telephone line or dedicated circuit made for purpose. Made me reconsider slightly the pace of technological advances before and after 1970.

  10. New (to me) bird outside window, eating seeds a few hours ago: size lies between an ordinary sparrow and a robin, maybe a little bigger than a cardinal. Back is a deep brown with no visible markings; belly is lighter, but could not see much of it. What caught my eye was the color of the head and neck: something I can only call “silver”. That color stops sharply where the deep brown begins at the shoulder. I have never seen such a distinctly silvery tone like this one; it is not merely a grey.

    Little to go on, eMb, but maybe you have a clue….

  11. cx-p: Did a quick flip through my bird book and couldn’t find much to match that description. Mourning warbler is probably too small. Dark-eyed junco is a possibility.

  12. c x–p, Ruth Anne:

    Nothing normal comes to mind. The abnormal is possible; e.g., here at the Meadows once saw a robin, perhaps male, that was grey where normal would have been brick– red. If it were winter and you were in the NE, I’d suggest you look up Fieldfare [Turdus pilaris], member of the same genus as Amer. Robin, T. migratorius. Fieldfares are European accidentals reported mostly from NE in winter. But, birds fly.

    Decades back, at the old house, a male Common Grackle with white cheeks was around for several days.

    Browse the “Big” Peterson Field Guide to Birds of N.A. if you can find a copy. Too big for your pocket, but they are all there. Its NA does not incl. Mexico, though there are several Mex. birds in the book. Much of my current “bird–watching” goes on in the copy under the table to my immediate L, by Modern Library’s complete G&S and other bibles.


  13. Ghost and I got tired of eating out really tired. My radiation is daily at 8 a.m. and an hour drive. We eat out after. By dinner i am wioed out place in town shut down

    This week I decided I would rather eat a peanut butter at home than pick a restaurant on lessor if two weevils.

    I made tacos one night, quesadillas another. Ghost made steak one, beef enchiladas tonight. I am making smothered pork chops next and have no idea his next choice.

    We help each other where asked and it works out somehow. The only Mexican joint in town closed months ago.

  14. Noted that newly-wed Prince Harry road in a coach rather than on horseback in today’s annual Trooping of The Colour. My first thought…that he might have pulled a groin muscle on his honeymoon…was apparently not correct. Only members of the royal family that hold the position of Royal Colonel are so privileged. Who knew?

  15. Ghost made homemade nachos tonight, the first i have daten. He also made beef and cheese enchiladas which I had never eateneither. We both love Tex Mex so this is interesting. Maybe I can make chills replenish for us?

  16. Ran across this in today’s AWAD.Mail:

    In his retirement speech, Sydney xxx, Prof. and University Librarian Emeritus at Harvard, said “I’m hoping to get some time off so that I can get some work done.” Submitter said college faculty were the only ones likely to say that.

    Just learned that submitter has a double tt. Didn’t even know it was a word, so made it up. Eccl: “There is nothing new under the sun,” or words to that effect. Learned that from folks long before I knew of Ecclesiastes. Good book.


  17. Made in the USA:

    Yesterday afternoon, I found a reasonably-priced, high-quality, all-cotton bath towel at Walmart.

    I am glad to say that it was made here in the states.

    I am also glad to say that I found many other items that bore the “Made in USA” label.

  18. aGot my shipment of books from Goodwill yesterday. Besides the Li’l Abner, there was a collection of Beetle Bailey’s first two years. There was a good quote from Mort Walker on the first page: “The comics medium is fantastic…you have a piece of paper, some empty panels, a pencil, an eraser…and a healthy dose of imagination! You don’t need more. Then you rule the world with the help of all your characters…”

    Does that sound right, Jimmy?

  19. In my haste I had been reading of the demise of the village, yet here I return and many of the normal denizen/citizens are still Symply here and posting. So happy I have a place on the interwebnet to skulk, lurk and post with familiar friends. This is still the Fargone place to be. Have a great week all of you.

    @Jackie n Ghost,

    Glad to see you guys are still eating, had missed posts on FB and was missing and worried about you guys.

    Regards to all the gents and ladies I’ve come to know here in this genial reserve JJ has created…the most peaceful, least divisive participatory blog I have ever encountered. Credit to us all…

  20. Symply, good to hear from you. I don’t think the Village is dead, but more dormant and waiting on some topic to stimulate a broader range of response. Too bad, because Jimmy has given us some good material.

  21. I’m going to be at a Summer Theology Workshop, with iffy [learned elsewhere that FDR coined or at least popularized iffy, and that the great Warren G. Harding coined, popularized more terms than most other prexxies. Yay! Harding.] Will be back if appropriate and if iffy cooperates.

    STW doings would make great copy, but most of it would be verboten here. Looks like rain for the drive down there, but it’s a highlight of my summer.


  22. emb:

    And I found out the other day that Wi-Fi is (or used to be) a trademarked name and that it was an invented, such as Kodak and Camaro.

    Before, I thought that it might have meant “Wire Fidelity,” but it does not.

  23. Thanks, Rick. I didn’t know that. After reading your post, I looked up Wi-Fi online, and Wikipedia says it is still a trademarked name.

  24. Even better — it’s a pun!

    Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who presided over the selection of the name “Wi-Fi”, has stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a pun upon the word hi-fi.

  25. Elohim is letting Thor take over for my drive S. 90% tunnerboomies at least through Motley [where I will buy a smoked “goldie” (= whitefish) at Morey’s on the way home. By the time I reach Koronis Assembly Grds., it should be better. I have a Kodachrome [sob] of Elaine sitting at one of the picnic tables “down at Morey’s.” Don’t know if the New Haven Morey’s still exists. I know Theodore Zinck’s in Ithaca does not. One [probably long since forgotten] Cornell song says, “… Those days were the best I have known.” Mine started there. Peace,

  26. As usual I’m late in reading the posts – but here in SE Texas we eat a lot of TexMex and I grew up in Oklahoma so I know how Ghost and Jackie must be missing it. So here’s a recipe for Mexicali Stew from the Better Homes and Gardens “Eating Healthy Cookbook” that will calm the cravings, and have enough leftovers so you can skip cooking the next day.

    Mexicali Stew (I have to watch my salt intake, so sodium content is listed)

    ¾ lb lean boneless stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces (165 mg sodium)
    ½ c. chopped onion (80 mg sodium)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 tsp. cooking oil (I usually just spray the pan with Pam)
    2 14½ – oz cans sodium reduced or no salt added tomatoes, cut up, undrained (175 mg sodium)
    1 Tbsp chili powder (get the chili powder that does not have salt)
    1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
    ½ tsp. ground cumin
    ¼ tsp. salt (omit)
    ¼ tsp. pepper
    1 15 oz. can chick peas (garbanzo beans), undrained (low sodium = 875 mg)
    2 large carrots, cut into ½-inch pieces
    1 4 oz can diced chili peppers, undrained (add some jalapeno if you want more heat) (262.5 mg)
    1 10 oz package frozen whole kernel corn, or 1 can no salt added whole corn, drained (50 mg)
    ½ c shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz) (350 mg or about 45 mg per Tablespoon)
    2 Tbsp. snipped parsley or cilantro

    In a large kettle or Dutch oven cook beef, onion and garlic in hot oil until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat.

    Stir in undrained tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, then simmer, covered, for about 1 hour.

    Stir in undrained chick peas, carrots and diced chilis. Return to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes more.

    Stir in corn. Cook, covered, for a few minutes (for canned corn) up to about 15 minutes (for frozen corn) until meat and vegetables are tender and corn is heated through. Serve in bowls with cheese and parsley sprinkled on top. Makes 6 servings. Freezes well.

    Nutritional content per serving (without toppings):
    Calories: 283 Vitamin A: RDA 91%
    Protein: 21 g; RDA 32% Vitamin C: RDA 101%
    Carbohydrates: 33 g Thiamine: RDA 11%
    Fat: 9 g Riboflavin: RDA 15%
    Cholesterol: 44 g Niacin: RDA 21%
    Sodium: 495 g. Calcium: RDA 18%
    (Omit salt, use no-salt chili powder and no salt added canned goods for tomatoes, chick peas and corn and sodium reduces to 270 mg per 1 c. serving. Top with 1 T shredded cheese for 315 mg per serving)
    Potassium: 768 g Iron: RDA 30%

  27. Here’s another TexMex recipe that is not as healthy, but takes a lot less time to cook

    Enchilada Casserole

    Adapted from Taste of Home

    1 lb ground beef
    ½ onion, chopped (I usually use less ground beef, about 3/4 lb and a lot more onion)
    1 can Enchilada sauce (use the spicy variety if you like more heat)
    1 8oz can tomato sauce
    1 tsp. oregano
    1 tsp. marjoram
    1 tsp. rosemary (or thyme)
    1 can corn (drained)
    Grated cheese
    2 large flour tortillas

    Brown ground beef with onions in 2 qt. pan. Drain fat. Add ½ can of Enchilada sauce, ½ can of tomato sauce and spices. Mix well and remove from heat. Mix remaining sauces in the Enchilada sauce can and reserve.

    Top mixture with a layer of grated cheese. Cut tortillas to fit pan and layer on top of mixture & cheese. Add a layer of grated cheese. Pour mixed sauces over top of casserole.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Serve. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

  28. Another faster but not so healthy TexMex style recipe

    Wolf Cornbread Chili Casserole

    1 box (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 can (11 oz) whole kernel corn with peppers, drained
    ½ c. sour cream
    2 Tbsp. sugar
    PAM no stick cooking spray
    1 can (15 oz) Wolf brand mild chili
    ¼ c. diced green chilies
    ¼ c. sliced black olives
    2 Tbsp. chopped red onion
    1 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    In medium bowl, combine corn muffin mix with eggs, corn, sour cream and sugar; mix well. Spray bottom of 8x8x2 in baking dish with PAM; spread cornbread mixture in the bottom of the dish. In separate bowl, combine chili with green chilies, olives and onions. Spoon chili mixture over cornbread to within ½ inch of sides of pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 35 minutes or until bubbly and edges are browned. (Chili will be runny in the middle)

    Serves 6

    (my husband is not fond of olives, so I usually omit those)

  29. Thanks Judy. We will try them. I am cooking tonight, my turn. I am ashamed of my failed effort last night. Something I have never done before. The meat was bad and I didnt realize. Cooked beautiful smoghered pork chops in mushrooms to find out inedible.

  30. Judy: Seconding Jackie’s thanks for the recipes. I just printed them for her, and we will be trying them soonest. She guesses she will like the Mexicali Stew best, and I think the Enchilada Casserole will be a winner, also.

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