Shopping for Jobs, Family, and America

November 25, 2011 under Just for Fun, Misc. Commentary

As it’s shopping season, which is quite possibly my favorite time of year, I couldn’t help but make a post about it.


But shopping anymore isn’t just blind shopping for me.


A few years ago, shopping was frivolous and fun and I did it without a care in the world. Then people lost jobs. I lost jobs. Tens of thousands of people lost jobs, and people got so sick of everything that they picketed, and protested.


The latter there made me realize just how cushy I was, and just how lazy and unbrave I am. I have a severe aversion to anything that might land me in jail, and that includes protesting.


Sadly, I know that I am not alone in this, and as such I’ve found a few ways to help our nation for those of us lazy rebels who want desperately to help out without the slightest risk of being arrested or pepper-sprayed.


Essentially, it’s called “Dollar Voting”. Every dollar you spend goes to someone. How much of that dollar is going to your local town? How much is going to your local economy? How much of that dollar is reinforcing the American workforce?


Step One:

I’m going to make an major effort this season to only shop locally at local Mom & Pop establishments. I already do this to some extent, but I’m going to make a bigger effort.


A few of my favorite’s in Austin:


Instep: A local shoe boutique which carries high quality shoes that are good for your feet.


Cypress Vanguard: Carries a ton of products made by local artists and artisans. Soaps, accessories, fashion.. Definitely a place to check out.


JenHeartsArt: Any social media addict knows her Twitter nametag jewelry is a must have.


Phoenicia Bakery – I’m addicted to their pita bread which they make at their south location fresh every day. Their north location also does some really good Mediterranean fare in the back of the grocery. (PS: Cut up any leftover pita into chip sized pieces and place in the oven @350 for about 10 minutes. Hot, fresh, pita chips. So seriously good with any dip, you can thank me later.)


Coffee Shops – It’s hard not to find a local coffee shop in Austin, so if you’re not already supporting a Mom & Pop coffee place.. now is the time to do it. I will slap you with a ruler if you don’t.


For some good Black Friday and Small Business Saturday weekend specials at local Austin merchants, visit “Keep Austin Stylish“.


(If you’re a local Mom & Pop shop in Austin, please leave a link to your shop in the comments. I’d love to come check out your store.)

You can find more ideas for supporting small businesses here: Support Your Fellow Americans: Shop Small Business 

Step Two:

I really hope everyone takes this challenge. I’m going to make a very concerted effort to buy as much American-made items as I possibly can substitute. At first I was daunted with where can I buy American-made items? Is anything really made in the USA anymore?  Then I found some sites:


As it turns out, the Louisville Slugger is still made in the USA.

Louisville Slugger made in the USA – ABC News


There’s also a couple bloggers who write about American-made products:

Tina Polito of writes about American-made products and is a great resource. (See her video clip here.)

Bill Sawalich’s “Bye, American” blog details his year of buying only American-made products. It’s a rather interesting read, and a challenge that really changes how you look at spending money. (See his video clip here.)


As I did more research, I found that there are quite a few products that are made in the USA, if you just look.


  • Ashley Furniture (plant in Wisconsin)
  • Lane Furniture (made in Mississippi)
  • Lazy Boy (Michigan)

Shoes: (Check for more selection at: )

  • CAPPS Shoe Company
  • Johansen Shoes
  • New Balance (most are made in one of 6 factories in the USA)
  • P.W. Minor (made in Batavia, NY)
  • Okabashi

Buy American Gas from American oil wells:

  • Conoco,
  • Sunoco,
  • OA Sinclair,
  • BP/Phillips,
  • Hess,
  • ARCO,
  • Maverick,
  • Flying J,
  • Valero (sold at Stripes or Shamrock stations)
  • Murphy Oil USA (sold at Wal-Mart).

Kitchen Items:

  • Nordic Ware – Minneapolis
  • Pyrex glass products – Pennsylvania
  • CUTCO Cutlery – Olean, NY
  • KitchenAid – Stand Mixers and Blenders only.
  • Vita-Mix blenders
Other Sources – And for more American-made products:
The Daily News Online – article on American-made Products – Great source for finding American-made products – Another great source for finding American-made products


Now if you can buy American-made at a Mom & Pop shop.. that might just make you totally awesome. I’m going to try.


(And yes, I am totally going to use this as a reason to go shopping. I recommend you do too.)


Image: Master isolated images /

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Politics: Standing divided we fall

November 10, 2011 under Misc. Commentary

One of the greatest injustices of the way things used to be before social media is that in this large nation we had little way of banning together effectively if the main media didn’t promote it.


We learned what to be outraged at, what not to, and whose fault things were simply by listening to the news, or reading newspapers or magazines.


We did band together over this in our small towns occasionally, or if we felt strongly about it we’d connect to someone in a neighboring town and try to make a movement or stage a protest. Often finding enough people to stage a protest and be heard was difficult. Often it was the lack of effective communication that our efforts never gained momentum and fell on deaf ears.


Our greatest hope if we wanted change was to write our congressman, or possibly convince a media outlet to write a story on it.


Because we were so reliant on the business of media for our information, information could be readily controlled or purchased. Our outrage on events could easily be silenced by a few articles with hope of change, or by simply preventing our story from being published.


Proprietors of evil, or people who wanted to keep secrets that shouldn’t be kept, could easily hide behind money and power. It was easier to keep those secrets from seeing the light of day and to silence those that would find out.


In many ways, it is fortunate for us as Americans that we do have social media and the freedom of speech with it.  Allowing us as people to talk to each other honestly. Sharing the truth as we know it with each other, and finding those of us who share those same life-truths much easier.


In our current hour… In our current nation.. It is essential that we take advantage of our new found voices and speak with each other to find ways to unite and find solutions to our nations problems.  All of our nations problems.


For many years, there has been little way for us to stand as “We The People” to show our government and the world who we as Americans really are. Our time is now. Change is now.


But it’s up to you, to stand up and be heard.


We are The People. We are not a person, organization, belief or religion, but PEOPLE. There are many of us, from many walks of life with many different ideas, desires, and dreams. We can do nothing if we’re divided. So stop letting people divide us. Stop listening to people who want to divide us.


We can only make the change we need, if we work together. It starts with you. It starts with me. It ends with WE.


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