How much does a Schwinn Stingray really cost?

"It may not be the engineering marvel that was the old Schwinn, but it retails at Wal-Mart for $180, about a third of the original's price in today's dollars."

Of course, it's not a real Schwinn, it's just using that brand name, which Pacific Cycle, a Canadian conglomerate, bought in 2001 after the orginal, family-owned, U.S.-based company went bankrupt.

At its peak, the Chicago-based Schwinn company employed about 2000 mostly high-school educated workers, paying them a decent salary, and making great bikes. Now a Chinese factory makes the bikes and a Canadian firm gets the profits. (For the whole Schwinn story in the Washington Post, click here.)

The worst part of this story is that this Christmas the American workers who lost their good-paying jobs to foreign, bottom-of-the-barrel labor pools will be forced to buy foreign-made TVs, DVD players, and, yes, bikes, because that's all they can afford on their measly $5.50/hr. incomes at Wal-Mart. At least they get the employee discount, right?

Today, 99% of the bicycles sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas. That figure boggles the mind.

This holiday season, I hope that those of you who are able to will join me in making an effort to avoid Wal-Mart and the other mega discount chains and buy your gifts from American companies (and especially small businesses) who still make most of their products in this country. The Internet makes finding them easier than ever. Here are some of cool, American companies:

Carhartt (Fuck Dickies. They import everything.)
American Apparel (Proving that a tee-shirt doesn't have to come from El Salvador.)
Gibson guitars (Only their Epiphone line is made abroad.)
Venture Snowboards (I don't even snowboard, but if you do, check these guys out—made in Colorado.)
Manhattan Portage (Great bags, made in USA!)

As for the 1% of bikes still made in this country....
Waterford (This is the Schwinn family's new business, which caters to high-end bikers.)
Merlin (Sponsor of the West Virginia Road Team!)
Calfee Design
Trek (Trek's high-end bikes are made in U.S.)

Check out the US Stuff product list for hundreds of links to American made products.

If you have any favorite companies that make their products with American labor, comment here and let us know!

Of course, these days it's impossible to buy 100% American goods (try finding a camera made in this country, for example). But by supporting the companies that do employ our friends and neighbors (and us!), we can show that you can, indeed, make profitable products without going to Asia and exploiting their people.


Sweet mother of God, no.

Originally uploaded by Xose.

My psuedo-sister, Suzi, turned me onto this grossness: According to BoingBoing.com, a company in South Korea will gold-plate your child's umbilical cord and frame it for display. They call it a "Blinged-out baby umbilical cord gift atrocity," and I couldn't agree more.

According to the site, "Among new mothers, ordering a custom souvenir made from an anatomical part of their babies appears to be a growing trend. An increasing number of companies are finding profits in processing umbilical cords and hair from newborns." What's the deal Koreans? You can't just have creepy bronzed baby shoes like the rest of us? You just know that some entreprenuer somewhere in Asia is gearing up the placenta-o-matic plating machines as we speak. Yuk.


Who knew?

When calculating for gain in an audio amplifier stage that includes resistances in parallel, you have to take the reciprocal of the sum of the reciprocals of the individual resistors. Duh!

Hence, Gain=(75K OHMS)||(100K OHMS)||(1.47M OHMS)/(1/1400 uMHOS + 0 OHMS)=58.3




Truly scary stuff

This kid freaks me out. Supreme talent for an 11-year-old.

I must be in front row!

Jenny and I went to San Diego to visit her parents and sister for Thanksgiving. We had a nice time (she's actually returning tomorrow) and ate too much, of course.

I scored first-class tickets both ways by cashing in a bunch (30,000) of MilagePlus miles on United. It was worth every mile cashed in, as anyone who has ever flown in a cramped coach cabin across the country can attest. For those not experienced in the front cabin experience, here's an inside view: Hot fudge sundae, hand-made? But I'm still sipping my after-dinner champagne! Well, twist my arm....

As they say in your country: schweet!