China Journal, Entry 4. “Raid”

<< CHINA JOURNAL >> Dec 15, ’15, 2:45 AM

What. The. Fuck.

So our hotel has very thin walls. I was awoken out of a very sound sleep by some guy shouting in Mandarin at the next door over. The guy was forceful but calm at first. Then he barked again, louder and more angrily, with no response from inside the door. Then he shouted and broke down the door. A physical altercation ensued. There was shrieking. Continue reading “China Journal, Entry 4. “Raid””

China Trip Journal, Entries 1 & 2

Below are the first entries in a small journal I’m keeping to chronicle my first trip to China. I’m here on what may be the last school-organized trip I ever go on.

We’re currently in Beijing. I flew in this morning from Chicago by way of Seoul. We head to Shanghai in a few days.

The purpose of this trip is to expose students to the business climate and opportunities in China. I’ll keep notes about the meetings we go to off this blog, for the most part, but I’ll probably digest what I’ve learned into a post or two when I get home. But, before that happens, I’ll share journal entries here on my blog over the next week while we’re in situ.


12/13/15 11:32 AM, Beijing

I just arrived in Beijing. I’m sitting on an express train to Dongzhimen, where our hotel is. Continue reading “China Trip Journal, Entries 1 & 2”

How The Snuggie Will Protect America

So, here I am in O’Hare international and going through security. This was a bit earlier than when this is finally posted, which is dependent on finding an unprotected wifi signal. So anyways, in accordance with the new, “more stringent” security measures implemented by the TSA, I’m having the inside of my upper right thigh palpitated by an overworked guy in need of a shave and a brow mop. As he moves into uncomfortable territory, toward the apex of legs’ fleshy arch, and compressing my shorts around my leg and beginning to “toe the line” between thigh and buttock I’m kind of tempted to say, “Look, dude, I know you guys pulled me into this line of tired bearded men with foreign-sounding names so that CNN can’t say in an exposè of systematic racial profiling that there weren’t any perky Caucasian college kids in the ‘special line,’ but please Mr. Quasi-authoritarian Uniformed Dude, might you spare us the indignity of you trying to ascertain whether the hem of my boxer shorts is cotton, polyester, or det-cord attached to a bomb? Can’t we both be rational here and acknowledge this as a charade? And might you also consider moving to the other leg? You’ve been at it for almost ten seconds on this one.”

While Mr. National Security thumbed the inseam of the other leg with such a degree of dutiful solemnity one would think he was performing a ritualistic rite of passage for attainment of rights of passage, a fleeting moment of staggering genius yielded the following insight: in the mode of lean corporate management, address the problem—long security lines, invasiveness, and extant security threats—at its lowest common denominator: the vast range of sartorial options that leave TSA personnel so nonplussed.

In an effort to support American-Designed Products of shoddy foreign manufacture I suggest that the TSA, in conjunction with major airlines, form a strategic partnership with the makers of the Snuggie sleeved-blanket to design a rentable, billowing, purpose-built Air Travel model in its spiffy cotton-poly blend “Athletic Fleece”. Such a requirement offers a natural transition from the billowing cotton-poly fleece “hooded sweatshirts” of non-Snuggie provenance already worn by many Americans in airports.

The TSA-Approved Travel Garment by Snuggie would be available for rental at all airports. Upon receipt of the Garment, passengers would be directed to on-site changing facilities where they’d remove their Non-Flight Garments and don their Travel Garments. NFGs would be packed into carry-on luggage and in lieu of a kangaroo pocket de regeur on civilian-type Snuggies, which might provide sneaky terrorists with spacious explosives capacity, a fashionable low-tensile lanyard will be allotted for carrying boarding passes, identification, and copious sales receipts.

Perhaps the most compelling argument for such an alliance between TSA, Snuggie, and airlines is that the Travel Garments, whose expanse of heather grey fleece presents an ideal screen print or appliqué medium, can be subsidized by messages from various Corporate Partners often found in American airports. One could imagine region-specific Travel Garments, featuring, for example, advertisements for Chik-Fil-A restaurants exclusive to southern airports and a greater density of Zoloft and Xanax sponsorships in the New York metro area. (Imagine, for one second, a balding man in a one-size-fits-all Travel Garment, standing in line for his small coffee, wearing a Travel Garment exuberantly stating in block sans serif font “Ask Me About Vyvanse. I’ve Never Been More Productive!” across its chest.)

This proposal’s greatest value proposition, however, is the boost it offers to local economies. For years, America’s been outsourcing its industrial laundry management facilities jobs, leaving thousands out of work across the country. To mitigate the effects of the Great Recession which has wracked our economy for years, Snuggie will see to it that environmentally responsible laundry facilities are built around the country to service the TSA’s Travel Garment program and—ultimately—put Americans to work in the dignified jobs which they’re entitled, as Americans. For security reasons, the TSA vows to diligently monitor rates of migrant labor utilization at these facilities and assiduously manage the plight to American Labor that is migrant labor. It is they that take American jobs, and its the TSA’s policy to allow Americans to take them back, or, at least, take managerial positions off the washing floor.

It occurred to me, standing, hands above my head, in the full-body scanner, that strict enforcement of nakedness under such a travel garment might present knotty ethical issues, but the vocalization issued from the scanner operator—either a cough-stifled giggle or a halting gasp of envy—leads me to believe that said ethical considerations have been considered already, and the resulting forward-looking Best Practices guidelines were discarded, sloughed off their mental filters like so much cotton-poly lint from that of an enormous industrial dryer.

In Philadelphia, Waiting for My Flight

Currently, I’m sitting in the Philadelphia airport in terminal F and looking skeptically at a rickety propellor plane which I am supposed to board..

Looking around, there are the average people one might expect to see in an airport, or a mall, or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.  Overwhelmingly plain, some pasty, some extraordinarily, vividly orange. Greying or dyed or bleached.

Some, however, appear intelligent. A certain unnamable smoldering energy glows in their eyes. They are plainly- but well-dressed.  Most have glasses. One young bearded man is wearing a polo shirt. On it, in lieu of an alligator or a polo player is a simple, understated, very blue “Y.”

They are, like myself, waiting to depart to New Haven.