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Going ''Up'' With the Oscars, and Out in the Lettuce Fields

Let other journos prepare for the Oscars by shopping for red-carpet gowns. We're coming to you as-is, with the real deal. Like, oh, the first CGI-animated film to be nominated for best picture, our subject for Tuesday.

What is it? Just look ... ''Up.'' The writer/director of the Pixar pic will tell us what makes it soar. It's already won the Golden Globe for best animated picture and for best score, and it's also nominated in the Oscars' best animated film category, so whether you've seen ''Up'' or not, you'll want to fly with us here.

What we got on Monday was a serious, dirt-under-the-fingernails George Plimpton journey into minimum-wage and maximum-sweat jobs, like chopping lettuce and splitting chicken breasts in a chicken slaughterhouse.

Journalist Gabriel Thompson didn't just write about them -- he actually did the work, and then [once his hands stopped hurting] wrote about it in his book, ''Working in the Shadows.'' His stories make the workers into people more real than just the soundbite immigrants you see and hear quoted; the truth is more nuanced than the political bombast would lead you to think.

Did his book make you question some of the hidebound rhetoric about illegal immigrants and jobs that Americans won't, supposedly, take? Say it with blog comments -- on the Patt Morrison page at

Hasta manana!

-- Patt Morrison