Patrick Bateman in American Psycho said it best, “I believe in taking care of myself; a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine.” Ironically I adhere to those two principles for the same reasons Mr. Bateman does, and that’s because I’m painfully insecure and overcompensating for massive character flaws. That’s an issue for another time and place. I’m telling you this because I occasionally use nutritional supplements to round out my diet. I personally feel like real food is much more important and don’t use many supplements but I do have some staples I continuously buy. One of these staples is healthy fats, namely fish oil and Conjigated Linoleac Acid. I had to replenish my supply of these fats and staying faithful to my domestic journey I found two products made here in the USA. I purchased Ultra Pure Omega T and Jarrow Formulas CLA. Both products display their made in the USA status on the back of the bottle. Here’s to our health!!!
This will shock many of you who have actually seen my work, but I have “people.” It’s true, I have representation and management and all that fun stuff. The aforementioned “people” are the only folks who can drag me out of my hovel in Venice Beach to Beverly Hills where the fancy lads gather. Recently while dining with the people in Beverly Hills I was asked by the waiter if I would like sparkling or flat water with our meal. I thoughtlessly answered sparkling and continued to discuss my pathetic career. This very nice waiter brought us two bottles of San Pelligrino sparkling water and we drank away until I realized that this water was collected and bottled in San Pelligrino Terme, Italy. I absolutely withered with disappointment. Did I just break my promise of one year buying only domestic?
The only solution I could think of was to make my dining companions pay for the water and I would pay for the rest of the meal. It was ridiculous and I’m sure very annoying for my server to separate the 8 dollars worth of water from the rest of the bill but that’s exactly what I had him do. This is just one of what I’m sure will be a series of very irritating exercises Im involved in this year. I made a commitment to buy only American goods in 2012 and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep to this commitment. To be frank, I don’t have a history of following through with things, so personal gratification is another motivator on this Domestic Journey.
“Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea” – John Gunther
I’m currently traveling for the first time since I began the Domestic Journey. I knew that coming to Las Vegas for the UFC and Super Bowl would pose new challenges for me, but I’m excited and confident that I’m going to come out of this trip successfully.
Last night some friends and I went to dinner at Mario Batali’s steakhouse Carnevino inside the Palazzo. This restaurant is unbelievable and I can’t recommend it enough. I knew going in that I was going to pay for dinner as it was a special occasion for my dining companions, so that means all items had to be domestic. I do not drink alcohol but one of my dining partners was a wine drinker and who wouldn’t want to pair a beautiful meal with a complimenting glass of pinot noir? Many of the wines on the menu were from Italy and France of course but an ample amount were from the USA. My father grows grapes in California’s Central Coast so I hope he is not offended that I ordered this young lady a glass of Johan Vineyard’s Three Barrel Pinot Noir from Oregon.
Dad, if you’re reading this, the sommelier recommended this and Oregon is your home state so at least I didn’t stray too far from your sensibilities.
I went into 2012 with a giant jug of Listerine and yesterday that jug was dusted. It was time for me to replace it, so I headed on down to the grocery store and grabbed another bottle without thought. It wasn’t until I got in line, with a package of baby wipes as well, that I even thought to check where the two products were made. The bottle states that it is distributed in the U.S. but nowhere could I find any proof that the antiseptic was actually made in America. This motivated me to check out the baby wipes that were in my other hand and low and behold they echoed the same message. I’m not going to purchase either of these products, because I simply don’t know if they were manufactured here. I headed back to the aisle with the mouthwash and baby wipes and started rummaging until I found Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh Mouthwash and Huggies unscented baby wipes. Both of these products boldly display their Made in the U.S.A. status. Besides the fact that I need an engineering degree to get the cap off of the mouthwash, it tastes great and seems to work well at fighting funky breath. The baby wipes are yet to be opened but soon I will find a baby to wipe and I’ll report back.
It’s Saturday night and I am doing what I love most. That’s sit in front of the boob tube and catch up on some TV, while I type away on my laptop. I always try to watch new and enriching shows, but inevitably end up watching certain movies or shows that I’ve seen numerous times before. Tonight’s movie is Jackass the Movie. The boys over at Dickhouse productions seem to make entertainment that hits right in my sweet spot. As David St. Hubbins said in Spinal Tap, “Its such a fine line between stupid and clever.” Nobody lives on that line better than the Jackass crew. As I watch the film, I keep noticing how handsome Mr. Knoxville looks in his Dickies work pants. He wears them so often, they’ve become part of his trademark look. This got me thinking about two important and separate American made products. One is my Cadillac CTS and the other is the Dickies 874 Detroit Work Pant. I bought both Items toward the tail end of 2010 and in a strange way I was influenced by Johnny Knoxville on both purchases.
Palladium Boots has sponsored a series of videos that focus on different cities around the world. One such video they made was titled, “Detroit Lives,” and was obviously about the Motor City.
Johnny Knoxville hosted this video series and I found it fascinating and a bit depressing. Unemployment had evidently effected Detroit in a profound way. A good portion of this unemployment was from Detroit’s most famous industry of American automobiles. As soon as I finished the 3-part series, I went to my local Cadillac dealer and bought the CTS. I was not fully motivated by the film, but I was partially influenced for sure. It may sound cheesy, but as a child I always dreamed of making something of myself and buying a big black Cadillac. I saw Elvis, Mickey Mantle, Frank Sinatra, and Johnny Cash drive them and I knew (or hoped) that one day I would too. Once I saw “Detroit Lives” It just put me over the top. I traded in my Toyota Truck for a brand new Cadillac. Having driven it for just over a year, I don’t regret it one bit. In fact, I’ve only contemplated getting rid of it in order to get another Cadillac.
While we are on the topic, Dickies made the Detroit 874 pant in order to help the workers of Detroit. I heard about this special edition pant from a financial show on CNN of all places. For every pair of Detroit 874 pants sold, Dickies gave a pair to the Salvation Army in the Detroit Metro area, which gave them to local unemployed workers.
I love my Detroit 874′s and I constantly get people asking me where I got these Dickies with the killer red threading. These pants don’t just look good, they inform me that Dickies is conscious of the plight of the unemployed worker.
Thanks Mr. Knoxville for the unintentional style tip and the push to get my Cadi.
Foundation comes first. I just got beat up for an hour and a half by a variety of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple, brown and black belts. These much more skilled and higher ranking fighters kept echoing the sentiment of, “foundation first!” This means that before I can learn to do elaborate submissions I must first master the fundamentals. The same mantra is used in my wardrobe. Before I can worry about suits and sportswear, I got to make sure that my t-shirts, underwear and socks are all in line. When purchasing the basics, I never look any further than American Apparel. American Apparel created their vertically integrated basic goods empire in a downtown Los Angeles factory. Dyeing, finishing, designing, sewing, cutting, marketing and distribution of the company’s product is all done within this one single building. The original founder, 42 year old Dov Charney, has remained the majority shareholder and CEO.
I am not trying to influence your style choices, but rather I’d like to applaud Mr. Charney for his balanced, vertical integration and its subsequent effect on the American job market.
I’m wearing my American Apparel undies and socks as I type this. More importantly they make the sweet headbands I would wear during Dancing with the Stars. You should support them on that basis alone.
^ a b Greenberg, David (May 31, 2004). “Sew what? American Apparel founder Dov Charney wants to de-emphasize the fact he doesn’t use sweatshop labor; he’s just trying to sell a better T-shirt – People”. Los Angeles Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20080401023818/http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5072/is_22_26/ai_118184828. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
^ Kang, Stephanie (December 19, 2006). “American Apparel Seeks Growth Through An Unusual Deal”. The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116648211605153768.html?mod=mm_media_marketing_hs_left. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
My aim is not political with this website, but when dealing with a sociopolitical issue like economics, it may occasionally sneak its way into my posts. Today is one of the days when I must use the yearlong promise to buy only American goods as a proverbial soapbox to give my opinion.
The New York Times published an alarming article this past Saturday (January 21, 2012) about the production of the Apple iPhone. The basic premise of the article was that Apple, a company that used to pride itself on its American factories, now produces its products overseas. The most sobering information in the article was that Apple executives believe production of products stateside is simply not viable in the current market. In their eyes, “Made in the USA” is not possible because the American worker simply isn’t up to snuff in these types of manufacturing jobs.
Excerpts from the New York Times “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work”
It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. “The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
It’s believable that a plant in the U.S. would not be able to pull off that type of performance. In my opinion, this type of output is not feasible because of human rights standards, not labor quality standards. This seems to be a clear exploitation of people who are unfortunately willing to live in on-site work dormitories and work marathon hours on last minute notice.
The article continues…
But while Apple is far from alone, it offers a window into why the success of some prominent companies has not translated into large numbers of domestic jobs. What’s more, the company’s decisions pose broader questions about what corporate America owes Americans as the global and national economies are increasingly intertwined. “Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,” said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor Department until last September. “That’s disappeared. Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”
“Profits and efficiency,” not “the speed and flexibility,” are the real driving force behind outsourcing. American loyalty aside, this lack of candor from Apple executives is demeaning to us the consumer.
This is in no way an indictment of Apple. I am a user of Apple products and don’t harbor any unique ill will towards the Apple corporation. I do believe that this article uses Apple perfectly to express my main motive in creating this website and the journey it details. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has the current US unemployment rate at 8.5%. My and Apple’s home state of California is at an alarming 11.3%. If just the iPhone alone was manufactured here, those rates would decrease. Apple would also inevitably lose money. Apple would have to consciously put human rights and domestic needs ahead of profit. I hope to live in a country where one day that decision is made. “Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.
“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”
Read the entire New York Times article.
In my opinion there is no single item as indelibly American as the Levi’s 501. Denim is a massive industry unto itself, and the 501 is without question its foundation. I’ve been wearing raw 501s since I was old enough to wear pants that rigid and I don’t plan on stopping until I’m too old and weak to not wear them any more. The point of this post is not to talk about how much I love Levi’s but to point out how the 501 is representative of American industry as a whole.
The 501 has remained relevant for over a century by being tough and versatile. It’s simple yet admirable in its design. Born in the mind of immigrants, (Levi Strauss and brothers Jonas, Louis) the 501 is a trademark for the cowboy, gangster, punk, greaser, and hippie. In my mind it’s more than just a pair of pants, it is a piece of fabric that unites all of the varied characters in this country.
The Levi’s corporation makes their products in Mexico, Portugal, Turkey and Italy but the vintage 501 reproductions are still made here in the USA.
All products made by American workers deserve to be celebrated on this website, but I thought I’d write a post about one product in particular that draws admiration from all over the globe.
When I decided to commit to going one year without buying anything created outside the US, I made sure to clearly identify my motives and objectives. I intend to both prove I can go this entire year and also to celebrate producers of American products. Even at this relatively early point in the journey, I have already encountered unexpected benefits. I’m now forced to explore different companies that I previously didn’t know existed and a lot of these companies produce sustainable or recycled goods.
I used to grab the bargain toilet paper and towels without paying any attention to what I was getting, but most locally made paper products seem to be made of recycled paper exclusively, which is fantastic. Another latent benefit is that I’m much more frugal. When people embark on a diet they tend to adhere to it more closely by keeping a food diary. By virtue of being more aware of what they eat, they make more responsible choices. The exact same effect is being shown in my spending through the Domestic Journey. By having to deeply investigate every single purchase I make, I am much less likely to spend my money on the unnecessary. Take gas for instance; since I have to find out where a gas station has their gas refined and shipped in from, it makes filling up a much bigger pain than it already was. Subsequently I’m much more responsible about my driving and find myself walking much more.
My main goal in this entire endeavor is to promote companies that choose not to outsource, but I am becoming more environmentally and financially conscious as well. Even though some of these upsides are unexpected, they are in no way unwelcome.
The cement of this union is the heart-blood of every American. ~Thomas Jefferson
Every day that passes is a new adventure in domestic purchases.
I went to the Whole Foods in Santa Monica today in order to stock up on some groceries and home supplies and because of the Domestic Journey, even a mundane exercise like grocery shopping turns into an investment. When it comes to produce and proteins, I am lucky to be in Southern California where most everything is available to me within a relatively close proximity. I purchased pears and sea bass from the Pacific Northwest, almonds, olive oil and eggs from just north of me in California, and grapefruits from Texas. I’m also fortunate to adhere to a healthy and admittedly boring diet, so I am not prone to buying packaged goods. Packaged or canned items tend to be more commonly imported from what I’ve noticed. Buying fresher and healthier foods is just one of the latent benefits of my year long commitment to buy exclusively domestic. I’ll get into some of the other unplanned upsides to this journey in my next post.
America is a tune. It must be sung together. ~Gerald Stanley Lee, Crowds