Made In The U.S.A.

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Olives make me poop.

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2009 at 12:22 am

WordPress, the company that runs this blog, shows a daily breakdown of how many pages are viewed on your site, as well as what sites direct people to you, what people search to find you, etc.

It’s been interesting for me to see when my pageviews spike, and to see the search terms that got them there. Read the rest of this entry »

Distinguishing between want and need.

In Adventures on February 27, 2009 at 12:27 am

I figured it out: part of buying responsibly is buying less.

Well, duh, I sort of assumed that from the beginning. What I mean is, actually doing without. Reevaluating what it means to NEED something. For example: Read the rest of this entry »

Coffee drama. Yet again.

In Adventures on February 26, 2009 at 12:19 am

This week’s addition to the coffeegate conundrum comes by way of a local coffee roaster. I bought a pound of Kaldi’s Certified Organic Fair Trade French Roast ground coffee. I did this because:

a) It’s locally roasted, i.e. “made”, in St. Louis Read the rest of this entry »

I need some Junk for my Trunk.

In Adventures on February 25, 2009 at 12:13 am

Seriously. I need some junk for my trunk. Like junkyard junk, for my car trunk. Literally.

The hydraulic lifters for my hatchback hatch, i.e. trunk, have lost pressure and haven’t held the truck open for several months now. Well, yesterday they went out completely–and I learned that trunks are HEAVY. Like dangerously heavy. This is a serious issue. I NEED to fix them. Read the rest of this entry »

Thank you, and here’s my address.

In Adventures on February 24, 2009 at 6:20 am

I heard a new Dave Sinclair ad on the radio today. He’s the “South County Ford Dealer” who for the last year or so has started broadcasting commercials stressing the importance of buying American-made cars. He generally supports the American worker because, as he points out, he can’t sell cars to people who don’t have jobs. Good point, Dave. Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Dan and Crystal…

In Adventures on February 23, 2009 at 6:33 am

What would I do without Dan and Crystal? They are my friends, they are my shopping/buying/consuming resources, they are my blog’s primary readership… They’re probably my only readership. I should write this post directly to them. In fact, I think I will.

Hi Dan and Crystal. Remember when you sent me this email the other day: Read the rest of this entry »

My funky underpants volume goes to 11.

In Adventures on February 22, 2009 at 6:51 am

I was folding my laundry when it occurred to me: I wonder where my underpants are made?

I quickly formed a hypothesis: If you’re an American man and you wear underwear, you’re probably not wearing American-made underwear. I base this assumption on a couple of other assumptions. Read the rest of this entry »

Buy not. Do, or do not. There is no buy.

In Adventures on February 21, 2009 at 7:21 am

My friend Adam says that in response to economic difficulties and a growing family and also because it’s fun, he’s been making a lot more food this year. He’s always been a pizza chef. Makes his own crust, too. This year he’s branched out to bread baking. Frequently a day a week. Last time I was over, he Read the rest of this entry »

Bull tendons.

In Adventures on February 20, 2009 at 7:29 am

Visited the boutique pet bakery on old Main Street in St Charles. It’s next door to my therapist. I was in search of dog chews. Though they didn’t have rawhide twists, they steered me to quite pricey, but apparently long lasting, bull tendons. I got four small ones for $17. They should each last a good couple Read the rest of this entry »

Remember how most auto parts are made in China?

In Adventures on February 19, 2009 at 7:23 am

Scare yourself by reading about Chinese-made auto parts in the New York Times. Or just read the pull-quote:

For consumers, that means automotive equipment made in China is less likely to comply with safety standards than the same product made in the United States.


Lady, step inside my Hyundai.

In Adventures on February 18, 2009 at 7:10 am

My headlight’s out again.

I have a 2002 Hyundai. I know, I know: I wasn’t buying American back then. I was buying from the only manufacturer at the time that offered me a 10-year/100,000 mile warranty and a comfortable car with a CD player, leather interior, sun-roof, 6 airbags and anti-lock brakes for under 16 grand. I could make an argument that that is part of the reason, for good or bad, that the American car makers Read the rest of this entry »

Obey The Pug

In Adventures on February 17, 2009 at 6:56 am

Okay, so I loaded up Shelley with gifts for Valentine’s Day. Along with chocolate and dinner and cute things from Etsy, I also got her a t-shirt. With a pug on it. A pug revolutionary. The Che Guevara of pugs. It’s from Obey The Pug. It’s awesome.

Shelley loves pugs. And things with pugs on them. Even bad things with pugs on them. This was a great thing. The best thing, in fact. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch It

In Adventures on February 16, 2009 at 6:33 am

My parents returned from their cruise with gifts in hand. It’s sweet, really.

For Shelley, they had a lovely pair of jade and silver earrings from Guatemala. For me, they had a Kenneth Cole watch from the duty-free shop onboard the ship. It’s a great watch; I just have to readjust to wearing one again. It’s been years. Read the rest of this entry »

I bought nothing on Superbowl Sunday. Ironic, no?

In Adventures on February 15, 2009 at 6:06 am

2.1.09: February has begun, and I have kicked off this Superbowl Sunday with a day of consumpution, but not a day of purchasing. In fact, I bought nothing at all. That’s four times so far this year that I paid nothing for nothing today. And I’m proud of it.

Then I sat around and watched commercials Read the rest of this entry »

Sign of the Valentimes

In Adventures on February 14, 2009 at 6:23 pm

As I was quickly snatching up some last minute Valentine’s Day treats (a card and some sweets for my sweet) I forgot myself momentarily and didn’t diligently check the origins of my stuff. Thankfully I caught myself before I made it to the checkout. Sure enough, two problems were averted. Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Foxworthy Premium Quality Teriyaki Beef Jerky

In Adventures on February 14, 2009 at 6:01 am

The best thing about today’s shopping experience was the jerky.

Walking down a Schnucks aisle I was practically assaulted by an unassuming display of dried meats. I stopped, backpedaled, and stared at the greatest branding/packaging/marketing coup I’ve ever seen: Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, I stopped for a beer on my way to the grocery store.

In Adventures on February 13, 2009 at 6:06 am

1.31.09: Saturday rolled around and I realized I was short on chili fixins for Shelley’s meatless (and unpalatable) chili I was planning. So I headed back out to fill in the gaps. On my way I stopped at Colorado Bob’s bar for a beer and to watch my friend, Ray, play washboard with his band The Fabulous Raytards. Read the rest of this entry »

What happens in BelleVegas…

In Resources on February 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Dan followed up our flower exchange by pointing out several actually-Belleville-made items that one can shop for in person or via the Internets:

Sole Survivor – Leather goods. “Sole Survivor Leather manufactures leather belts, and small goods, owns and operates four e-commerce stores, and one retail storefront in downtown Belleville, IL” Read the rest of this entry »

Mystery Shrimps

In Adventures on February 12, 2009 at 6:11 am

1.30.09: The triumph of the squash was tempered a bit as I stared at the hand-packed baggie of peel-n-eat shrimp I had just tossed into the cart. Almost like a serve-yourself candy bin, the seafood deparment at Dierbergs had a serve-yourself bin o’ shrimp. They looked delightful. I thought they’d be the perfect Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh local flowers. If you’re from 2551 miles south of here.

In Adventures on February 11, 2009 at 8:47 pm

My good friend Dan forwarded an email to me today. The subject was, “Buy Quality. Buy Local.” It was from the St. Louis Florists Network, and it suggested that with Valentine’s Day fast approaching I should “Go MidAmerica fresh this Valentine’s Day for the freshest, longest-lasting flowers.” I immediately Read the rest of this entry »

The Superbowl of Squash

In Adventures on February 11, 2009 at 6:05 am

1.30.09: Superbowl Sunday means one thing to me: chili. I prefer a beanless recipe from former Republican Senator Phil Gramm. Not kidding. It’s really good, and I’ve been making it for years.

So I hit the grocery store to semi stock up during my lunch hour. I was near a Dierbergs while running some work-related errands (which involved buying Read the rest of this entry »

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

In Adventures on February 10, 2009 at 6:05 am

1.28.09: It snowed yesterday. And today. And the day before yesterday, come to think about it. I slid all over the road in my Hyundai (don’t laugh; it’s blue) and decided I needed some new tires. (Not just because I was sliding; the car was due. The sliding was just a reminder.) So I planned ahead: I researched to Read the rest of this entry »

Who needs a 7 button?

In Adventures on February 9, 2009 at 6:11 am


The 7 button on my cell phone sticks. It either doesn’t click or it clicks twice. I’ve been holding on to this phone for as long as possible. It’s probably 2-plus years old. I don’t want a camera, or a fax machine, or a color screen, or anything else. I want to make calls that are clear and don’t get dropped. My phone is Read the rest of this entry »

Funny Vacation Fish Stories

In Adventures on February 8, 2009 at 8:39 pm

On vacation in Florida. Orlando, to be exact. Went to the Bass Pro Shop (I went fishing today; see the fish I caught below) and Shelley and I were greeted with a display of great American flag shirts. Really tacky in a really great jingoistic way. This is why I love the girl: she said “wait a second,” and marched Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Mitusa: Sounds Like Someone’s Aunt

In Adventures on February 8, 2009 at 6:09 am

1.23.09: I planned ahead for Valentine’s Day: I shopped at Etsy to get a head start and ensure I’d have something great in hand by the time the 14th rolls around. My Etsy shopping led to a lot of great ideas—to the point where I realized that even if you’re not trying to buy American, Etsy is an amazing place to Read the rest of this entry »

Love Is Important

In Adventures on February 7, 2009 at 6:04 am

1.21.09: Started planning for the big V day next month. It’s that holiday that creeps up on you and, before you know it it’s the day before and you don’t have dinner plans yet. Good luck getting a Valentine’s Day reservation anywhere worth eating the day before. I made mine today, more than three weeks ahead Read the rest of this entry »


In Adventures on February 6, 2009 at 6:00 am

1.21.09: I bought necessities today. Q-Tips, which are definite necessities if you, like me, absolutely must stick them in your ears after every shower. I don’t know if I’ve had a single shower in the last decade that hasn’t been followed by a good Q-Tipping. And not just any old brand. I need Q-Tips brand Q-Tips Read the rest of this entry »

CNN & Congress on “Buy American”

In Resources on February 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm

“Buy American” these days refers to language in the national economic stimulus package. It seems to me that Congress is really politicizing this issue, because the concept of buying American sure seems like a no-brainer on the surface. But in truth, the consequences of a national requirement to for the government to Read the rest of this entry »

The Goodwill

In Adventures on February 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I dropped by Goodwill today at lunch to donate some picture frames and a tape deck from work. I decided to pop inside and check out the music selection.

Earlier today, I’d finished setting up the new old stereo system in the studio at work. An ancient tuner and cassette deck, coupled with the Technics Read the rest of this entry »

A month’s worth of receipts.

In Adventures on February 5, 2009 at 5:54 am

The photo below is a month of receipts. January’s receipts, in fact. Everything. There’s a lot here. Apparently I’m quite a consumer. And that’s even after choosing not to buy a few times and generally limiting my purchasing a bit. I wonder what that stack would have looked like last year? I wonder what Read the rest of this entry »

NPR: Why Buy American?

In Adventures on February 4, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I’m political, but not very smart. My Republican friends (as if!) point that out frequently (the not smart part). Look at that: first sentence and I’m digressing already.

I’m political, but I only kinda understand certain things. Lots of things. That’s especially true when those things apply to economics. And trade. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Grocery Shopping Update

In Adventures on February 4, 2009 at 6:09 am

1.18.09: Other than forgetting to bring in my reusable shopping bags, today’s shopping trip wasn’t too bad. A little pricey–$125 for what felt like less than $100 worth of food, but I can’t complain given my diet and MITUSA restrictions. Interesting items today included: Read the rest of this entry »

Olive oil. And poop. But separate.

In Adventures on February 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm

I’m watching my favorite show (of the non-fiction variety). It is called Dirty Jobs, and it is brilliant. A guy, Mike Rowe, works various tough jobs for a day and broadcasts the results. Frequently the show revolves around poop or animals or animal poop. Sometimes it’s just dirty. Sometimes dangerous. Read the rest of this entry »

Good, but Spicy

In Edibles on February 3, 2009 at 6:02 am

Read the rest of this entry »

Faked In The USA

In Resources on February 2, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Read the rest of this entry »

Save the Universe: Drink Coffee

In Edibles on February 2, 2009 at 5:59 am

1.17.09: Treehugger says that you can Save the World if you stop drinking coffee. It can’t be!

Good. It turns out to not be. The premise is that by not consuming the natural resources it takes to grow harvest and deliver coffee to our cushy American palaces, those countries and the environment are better off. But the writer, in fact, then cites the benefits of Americans drinking imported coffee.

I understand that our coffee consumption benefits the economies of other countries. This article is written from the perspective of coffee drinkers such as myself, who don’t have enough of an income to justify spending $50 a month on the stuff, especially now when we need to focus on being more domestically productive and sustainable in the long term.

So, essentially, he’s saying it’s a luxury we don’t need and cutting it out is a good way to get healthy and save money. I probably can’t argue with that. But in the grand scheme of expensive things that are bad for us (booze, smokes, food) coffee is a tolerable luxury for me. Useful, even.

Then there was this article on about how Fair Trade coffee is in fact good for the world. (Perhaps a benefit that overrides the benefits of buying local, especially with a product that is practically impossible to buy locally.) It cites lots of reasons why coffee, particularly the Fair Trade variety, is beneficial to economies, people and the planet.

Maybe the growing push for saving the universe is why Starbucks plans to yet again double its purchases of certified Fair Trade coffee in 2009.

My head is spinning with all of this coffee concern. One thing’s for sure: I won’t save the world by giving up coffee. (Even if it could save the world, I’m still not so sure I’d give it up.) And there are a lot of external factors that change the dynamics about what kind of coffee is the best kind of coffee to buy. I’m still looking forward to the all-American Kona bean from Belleville. Fingers are crossed.


I have not bought.

In Adventures on February 1, 2009 at 1:02 am

1.15.09: It only took me 15 days, but it finally happened: I didn’t buy anything today. Made my own coffee, made my own lunch, made my own dinner. I’d better get to bed before I ruin it.