Made In The U.S.A.

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Subsidized Chinese Steel

In Adventures on June 30, 2009 at 12:12 am

I’m not sure exactly how foreign governments are making it so hard for American steel producers, but I think I get the basics of it. Here’s what I know. Or at least, what I think I know.

1. One of the big steel producers at the convention last month said, “Part of the reason for the mess we’re in is China.” Read the rest of this entry »

Steel and Cars

In Adventures on June 29, 2009 at 12:05 am

It didn’t occur to me before the steel convention just how much American steel producers are connected to American auto producers. But of course. It only makes perfect sense.

During the convention, a lot was made about the ailing American auto manufacturers. GM and Chrysler and Ford, the “big three” automakers, aren’t exactly having a great year. Two of ’em are bankrupt. The third is Ford, so that’s not much better. Read the rest of this entry »

What is Cap and Trade?

In Adventures on June 28, 2009 at 12:11 am

After a brief delay I’m back to finish addressing my notes from the steel convention I attended in May.

The term “Cap And Trade” was talked about a lot by these steel producers. I must confess, I don’t know enough about it to know what it means without looking it up. But they mentioned it enough, and clearly hated it (by referring to it derogitorially as “Cap And Tax”) enough that I figured it must be pretty important. So here’s what it is. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Fidelity Favor Genocide?

In Adventures on June 27, 2009 at 12:39 am

I received one of those Proxy Vote thingies from Fidelity last week. I have guilt, so I always send them in whether it’s necessary or not. Nine times out of ten I simply enter my ID numbers and click to VOTE MY SHARES WITH THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS. I usually agree with their suggestions by default.

This time, though, something caught my eye. Read the rest of this entry »

I bought a new phone.

In Adventures on June 26, 2009 at 12:28 am

I bought a new phone. But not really. I bought a used phone. It’s new to me, but it used to belong to somebody else. Based on the signature programmed into the text editor, it appears to have belong to someone named Molly. So Molly if you sold your phone to, and if it was an LG Voyager, it’s now mine. Don’t worry, I’ll give it a good home.

It’s a nice phone, Molly. I wonder why you didn’t like it? Read the rest of this entry »

Ads Are Everywhere

In Adventures on June 25, 2009 at 12:20 am

I’m not sure this is directly related to my buying American adventure, but it’s at least tangentially so.

I’ve been noticing advertisements in places I’ve never noticed them before. Strange places.

The Hertz ad in the seatpocket of the airplane seat. Read the rest of this entry »

American Apparel at Last

In Adventures on June 24, 2009 at 12:09 am

When we were in Atlanta last week (popping the question, you know) we went shopping while we killed time between hotel checkout and airport takeoff. Shelley spotted an American Apparel store across the lot and pointed it out eagerly, knowing it was one of the few (really, the only) place that sells American-made clothes. Keen eyes, good heart, thinking about her beau’s needs… That’s the kinda gal you marry. Read the rest of this entry »

Tickets Please

In Adventures on June 23, 2009 at 12:53 am

Tickets arrived in the mail today for the September show at Scottrade. Kings of Leon.

Aside from the offensive fees (Two $43.50 face value tickets should cost $87, right? Mine totaled $116.45 after nonsense fees from Ticketmaster.) the thing I realized when I looked at the tickets was just how many shows I’ve been going to this year. I wonder how much of it has to do with the fact that I can afford these tickets because I’m not spending my money on all the other junk I used to spend money on? Read the rest of this entry »

Now my dogs will always have water.

In Adventures on June 22, 2009 at 12:45 am

While perusing the grocery store’s dog food aisle for various treats, before ending up with the same bag of American-made rawhide chews I always get, I discovered a stash of automatic water dispensers for pets. I like to drink water, and I assume my dogs do too, so I’m always on the lookout for things like this. Trouble is, they’re always expensive and usually made in China. This one, however, was eight bucks and stamped proudly Made In The USA. Read the rest of this entry »

Guacamole Hallelujah

In Adventures on June 21, 2009 at 12:36 am

At the grocery store today I did the same ritual as always: I stopped by the avocado stand to fondle the fruits.

This time, though, for the first time in six months, mingled in with all the Mexican avocados, was a different beast: an organic avocado, stamped USA.

Hallelujah! Read the rest of this entry »

Diamonds, pt. 3

In Adventures on June 20, 2009 at 12:45 am

You’ve done your research and discovered that while you can’t buy an American-made diamond, you can buy a diamond with a conscience. So far so good.

So you head off to a local jeweler and look for rings that don’t incorporate blood diamonds. Things go downhill quickly from there.

Allow me to digress for a moment. I focused my attention in this process on the center diamond, the solitaire, in Shelley’s ring. I quickly learned that it was very difficult to determine where rings were actually made Read the rest of this entry »

So you wanna buy a diamond.

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 at 12:31 am

So you wanna buy a diamond. Be prepared. It’s not easy.

It hits you somewhere around a month or two into your year-long buying-American adventure: damn. I want to buy a diamond.

Diamonds aren’t really MITUSA. Let’s just get that right out in the open. Technically some come from Arkansas, but we’re talking the occasional random diamond Read the rest of this entry »

How To Buy A Diamond

In Adventures on June 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Buying a diamond is a lot harder than you’d think it might be–particularly if you’re trying to shop with a conscience.

Lots of web sites tell you how easy it should be. They’re misinformed. I’ll explain more in a future post, but for now suffice it to say this:

She said yes.


American manufacturing doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

In Adventures on June 13, 2009 at 12:15 am

At the steel convention (see the previous post), another interesting topic that was addressed during a panel discussion with bosses from some of the biggest steel producers in the world was how American manufacturing doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

The point was made by the biggest boss from the biggest of companies. Sure, he’s got a horse in the race. But he’s also got a perspective that’s pretty different than my own, so I figured I should listen. Read the rest of this entry »


In Adventures on June 12, 2009 at 12:59 am

Last month–centuries in blog time–I photographed a convention of steel manufacturers. Major American steel manufacturers. Big ones.

They don’t like China.

I learned lots of things at that event, but I can’t say I learned anything as much as how complex the whole protectionism/buy-American argument can be. Read the rest of this entry »

Made in New York City

In Adventures on June 11, 2009 at 12:03 am

Photographer Richard Perry recently published a multimedia series of photographs, along with text and an audio dialogue, in slideshow form at the New York Times’ Lens blog. The work is all about companies who run factories in New York City. More specifically, it’s about the work itself. The making. The stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

1G China

In Adventures on June 10, 2009 at 12:48 am

Shelley gave me a gift. Not really a gift, per se, but when we were cleaning out her office (she’s moving down the hall for the second time in two years) she gave me the junk she no longer needed or wanted. Most of it was probably made far away and is relatively useless. But still I want. I did take a nice compartmentalized tin that is now storing tea. And some tea that is now in the tin. And a convention giveaway that I’m using as a gym bag. And a 1-gigabyte USB thumbdrive that wanted to make very clear its vital statistics.


Not my hand.

Not my hand.


In Adventures on June 9, 2009 at 12:23 am

There is a magazine, and a web site, and a whole lifestyle called “Make.”

Guess what it’s about.

Make is about “technology on your time.” That’s what the magazine says. I would have said it’s about making stuff. DIY-culture and such. Wikipedia says it’s, “an American quarterly magazine published by O’Reilly Media which focuses on do it yourself (DIY) projects involving computers, electronics, robotics, metalworking, woodworking and other disciplines. Read the rest of this entry »

What Americans are willing to give up.

In Adventures on June 8, 2009 at 12:14 am

Forbes, the magazine from which I get all my fashion tips, published an article called “What Americans are willing to give up.” It turns out we are willing to give up some things to save money. Who’d have thunk it?

Before I read on for the answer, I thought about what I have most given up this year (for MITUSA reasons as much as economic ones) and decided that it was clothes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Toll of Wine

In Adventures on June 7, 2009 at 12:02 am

I read an article at National Geographic last month that I made note of specifically for the purposes of returning to it and blogging about it. It was called “The Toll of Wine”–at least, that’s what I called it in my notes. And this was the link:

That link now goes nowhere.

As I recall, it was about the carbon footprint of transporting a bottle of wine from where it was grown–say France or Napa or Argentina–to the dining table in your home. Read the rest of this entry »

Eat local. Before it’s too late.

In Adventures on June 6, 2009 at 12:12 am

Time magazine recently did a nice little story about the changing landscape of American food.

WPA files from the first half of the 20th century show that all sorts of regional food has disappeared, according to a new book by Mark Kurlansky that delves into the disappearance. Read the rest of this entry »

Sew What?

In Adventures on June 5, 2009 at 12:55 am

National Geographic doesn’t just write about far away places. They write about the stuff from far away places that we bring home.

Like clothes. Read the rest of this entry »

Cymbal Fest

In Adventures on June 4, 2009 at 12:36 am

Friend and fellow photographer Kevin, a drumming enthusiast, recently notified me that on Sunday the Drum Headquarters in St. Louis will host the drummer from the Black Crowes and Craigie Zildjian of Zildjian cymbals  for “a cymbal fest with sales and such, door prizes, etc.” Noon to 5 PM.

Cool. But there’s something even cooler about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Unintended Consequences

In Adventures on June 3, 2009 at 12:42 am

Leave it to Michael Pollan, the author who has made me think (proportionally speaking, per written word) more than any other, to give me added insight into my own little MITUSA process.

Pollan is the author of books such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. My favorite piece, however, is one he wrote for the New York Times Magazine. It was called Power Steer. Read the rest of this entry »

New Meaning

In Adventures on June 2, 2009 at 12:03 am

When I started this blog and tried to think of a catchy name for it, I was thinking puns. That’s pretty obvious given that I landed on “Bye, American” as a title for a site about buying American.

The intention at the beginning was that the “Bye, American” title represented saying goodbye to American manufacturing, and saying goodbye to the ability Read the rest of this entry »


In Adventures on June 1, 2009 at 12:34 am

I’ve reached the midway point of this adventure. What strikes me is how I feel like I’m buying so much less stuff than I did before this experiment.

As little as I feel like I’m buying, I’m still racking up the receipts by the pound. Usually lunches and groceries. One guy can consume a lot! (Maybe that’s why I’m gaining weight? Because I can buy food relatively MITUSA-guilt free.) Read the rest of this entry »