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Mitch

joined on 12/08/03
last updated 09/09/14
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Buy American #6 (blog entry) This really made my day. On one of the better sites that amalgamate Made in America products, I came across the improbable Mountain & Sackett, which produces ties by hand in Manhattan. MANHATTAN, the bright shining center of the universe still has... read more
blog entry posted Mon, October 27, 2014 - 8:48 AM permalink - 4 comments
Buy American #5 (blog entry) For those who complained that they couldn't find American-made products and don't feel like wading through the various online compendia, here's a blog that tracks cool new products; if you go to this page, you'll get only made in America stuff:

... read more
blog entry posted Fri, January 25, 2013 - 8:35 AM permalink - 1 comment
Old Things #1 (blog entry) A self-explanatory message to Sony Corp.:

Thank you for the opportunity to amplify my response to this survey about my recent query.

I specifically wrote about model WM-FX290W, but my comments pertain to any of the last-generation silver Wal... read more
blog entry posted Tue, January 1, 2013 - 7:46 AM permalink - 1 comment
Buying American #4 (blog entry) These are awesome: www.flintandtinderusa.com/produ...briefs

Flint and Tinder is a new company, started by a guy who walked into Macy's in New York and found that there weren't many good men's underwear choices and what there was, was ma... read more
blog entry posted Mon, December 17, 2012 - 10:59 AM permalink - 2 comments
Buying American #3 (blog entry) I needed some new shirts.

For years, I've been purchasing from Land's End and L.L. Bean, which generall make shirts that fit me well and are available in 100% cotton. They run $40-$50, usually, and they're all imports from Southeast Asia. (La... read more
blog entry posted Mon, December 17, 2012 - 9:03 AM permalink - 2 comments
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My Blog

This really made my day. On one of the better sites that amalgamate Made in America products, I came across the improbable Mountain & Sackett, which produces ties by hand in Manhattan. MANHATTAN, the bright shining center of the universe still has an old-school textile company. Old-school as in they went into business in 1957, when the city was still a manufacturing center and I was also busy being conceived.

Their ties are conservative and priced in the $60-$75 range, which is what you'd pay for similar quality in a big department store. I bought the Eldridge Orange Neat Tie on sale for $46.87, along with a Charcoal Thames Silk Tie for $62.50, the full price. In a rare selfie, I'm pictured above with the Eldridge tie.

While the ties are made here, the silk is Italian. America seems to have lost its textile-manufacturing industry, especially natural-fiber wovens. Italy makes wonderful silks and wools, so if you have to import, that's a good place to import from.

They came in about a week, in a tie box with the company name letterpressed into the cardboard. Very mid-20th century.
They tie and drape well, and since I haven't bought many ties in the past two decades, a lot of my older ones are approaching reTIErment age so I'll be ordering more.

In the early days of the Interwebs, I did a story on how online technology might save small manufacturers, and tiemakers were a specific example. Rather than being locked into a geographic market, a small tie-maker might tap the world simply by putting pretty pictures of his goods on a website. It also seems to work to alert potential customers nearby that a small, family-owned manufacturing business still exists in the heart of the Big Apple.

Website: www.mountainandsackett.com
Mon, October 27, 2014 - 8:48 AM permalink - 4 comments
 
For those who complained that they couldn't find American-made products and don't feel like wading through the various online compendia, here's a blog that tracks cool new products; if you go to this page, you'll get only made in America stuff:

well-spent.com/category/articles/

The current top item there is something I've purchased and that I think is great: www.juniperridge.com/shop-by...ew-soap/

Not that you actually need to spend $35 for shower soap, but this product works really well and I like the smell. I didn't at first, but it grew on me. They make several different kinds, collected from different places in the Far West; there's a small Burner connection to this one.

Soap doesn't usually make for a good gift, but I don't think any guy would be too offended by this. The scents, this one at least, seem pretty masculine.
Fri, January 25, 2013 - 8:35 AM permalink - 1 comment
 
A self-explanatory message to Sony Corp.:

Thank you for the opportunity to amplify my response to this survey about my recent query.

I specifically wrote about model WM-FX290W, but my comments pertain to any of the last-generation silver Walkmans in the WM line.

I had asked if Sony had terminated production of Walkman audio cassette players and was told that it had. Although it had been reported two years ago that Sony would halt production in Japan and stop selling them there, you kept making them in China for export to markets such as the United States.

As far as I can tell, there never was an announcement that the products would be terminated here. I noticed that the prices had shot up on Amazon.com, and when I checked your website found a notice that the final model was no longer available, and this was confirmed by your email of December 27th.

I object to the lack of notice and much more to the decision to end production of these models.

Since the early 1980s, I have been buying audio books. I work on a computer monitor all day long, and it's a relief for me to have a reader so that I can rest my eyes. I also listen to audio books in the gym or while doing household tasks that don't require much attention. I understand that there are newer technologies, but the audio cassette has a key advantage: you can't lose your place even if you lose power or switch devices.

My collection numbers in the hundreds of titles. I sometimes go back and listen to old ones, and I'd hoped to bequeath a nice library either to my eventual heirs or to some organization that would be able to make good use of them.

Without devices to play it on, the collection becomes worthless, and the cost of transferring to digital media, especially when labor is factored in, is prohibitive -- it would be cheaper to just buy the titles again.

Sony was a key player in the development of the Compact Cassette format, and invented the Walkman. Your company's role in the popularization of audiobooks was vital: without the Walkman, the format probably never would have taken off, having little advantage over vinyl except for use in automobiles and later compact discs.

Now you wish to abandon the market. Yes, other companies still make portable cassette players, but none are nearly the equals of the WM-FX290W. That model was nearly perfect, featuring easy controls, long life on a single battery, a convenient compact form, and good sound reproduction, all at a reasonable price. Its only flaws are a fragile battery door and, like all cassette devices, a limited useful life.

The market may be dying, but it's not dead. Amazon.com lists about one new book on cassette each day. As well, there must be hundreds of millions -- perhaps billions -- of audiobooks in people's collections waiting to be reheard or rediscovered. On top of that are music cassettes. But books on tape are typically listened to many fewer times than music, meaning the deterioration caused by repeated use is virtually nonexistent. This makes for a vibrant secondary market.

As long as Sony was making its last trusty Walkman, this content remained available to those who want it. I find it incredible that demand is so weak that one factory in the world can't be profitably run producing these useful little units, so emblematic of Sony's design acumen and consumer focus. Indeed, the price of remaining units has roughly tripled in recent weeks, indicating there are people desperate to have access to this technology.

I hope you will reconsider terminating the cassette Walkman, and in so doing turning mountains of useful and entertaining books and music into piles of petrochemical landfill.

Very Truly Yours,

Mitchell Martin

Addendum: Check out the reviews on Amazon.

www.amazon.com/Sony-WM-FX..._top_recent
Tue, January 1, 2013 - 7:46 AM permalink - 1 comment
 
These are awesome: www.flintandtinderusa.com/produ...briefs

Flint and Tinder is a new company, started by a guy who walked into Macy's in New York and found that there weren't many good men's underwear choices and what there was, was made overseas. So with a pitstop on Kickstarter, he set up a company to make premium men's underthings at competitive prices.

I ordered a couple of pairs of briefs (there are other styles too) and they're super comfortable, much better fabric and cut than what I've been used to. At $21.95 each, they're about triple what I've been paying, but they'll last longer, and they're way more comfortable, no small consideration when you sit on your butt for 11 hours at a stretch.

We'll see how they stand up to a few washings, but I can see replacing everything in the 3d draw down with these guys. Score for the home team.

An interesting factoid from the Flint & Tinder "About" page ( www.flintandtinderusa.com/pages/about-us ):

"For every 1,000 pair of underwear we sell per month, at least one sustainable job is added within our supply chain.
It's not a pledge or a promise... it's a fact."

There are benefits to buying American that go beyond primary jobs creation, but if you take that number as accurate, then $22 x 1,000 x 12, or $264,000 of annual purchases, at least in the apparel sector, creates one job. That number seems reasonable. Most of us aren't going to buy quite that much clothing, but if you can divert, say, $1,000 a year to domestic purchases, then you and 263 other people can add one permanent job to our economy.

Get that number up to $2,640, and it only takes 100 people.




Mon, December 17, 2012 - 10:59 AM permalink - 2 comments
 
I needed some new shirts.

For years, I've been purchasing from Land's End and L.L. Bean, which generall make shirts that fit me well and are available in 100% cotton. They run $40-$50, usually, and they're all imports from Southeast Asia. (Land's End does have a Made in USA category now, though it doesn't offer dress shirts. See www.landsend.com/ix/UserSe...index.html )

So, off I went in search of American-made dress shirts at prices that wouldn't make me gag.

First stop, J. Press ( www.jpressonline.com/home.php ). It's an old New Haven/Yale clothier that's been in business since 1902 and makes most of its stuff domestically. List prices on dress shirts are $98, though they're sometimes on sale. So, just to test the waters, I ordered a pinpoint oxford in what they call "egg shell," which is to say an ivory off-white.

It came the day after I ordered it, surprisingly fast. It fits well, a little less square-cut than the Land's End/Bean, so the bottom doesn't blouse-out quite as much, not a bad thing. The fabric is substantial for pinpoint, but still smooth. I like this shirt a lot, though the placket button on the sleeve did break off within a week or two. Still, it's a good-looking, good-wearing shirt, made in America of natural materials, and I don't mind having paid a little extra for it.

Next up was Brooks Brothers ( www.brooksbrothers.com ), which makes some of its shirts in America. My company has different deals with all kinds of vendors, and we had a 30 percent off day in November. So I ordered two broadcloth shirts, each reduced to $55.65. That's pretty close to what I was buying, though I failed to notice that while the shirt was constructed here, the fabric was imported.

The shirts, one a burgundy stripe, the other ecru, are similar to what I'd been buying, perhaps a little better constructed. I like them too, but even with the price differential, I like the J. Press one better because of the fit and the domestic fabric.

I've seen some more fashion-forward USA-made shirts with $200 and $300 price tags. That seems ridiculous to me, a shirt is good for about 40 washings, so if you wear it every other week, it'll last 2-3 years. I can't really see paying $100 per year per shirt. For that price, you could probably do better to have them custom made.

On the other hand, if I can help keep shirtmakers in New Haven working at $98 a pop ($73.50 today, they're on sale), I'm all for it.
Mon, December 17, 2012 - 9:03 AM permalink - 2 comments
 
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My Testimonials

March 13, 2009
Mitch is much too decent a fellow, for whom ends cannot justify the means. I've thought this since working under him as a Gazette staffer seven years ago. Now i know it, enough to say it.
Unsu...
 
January 12, 2006
everything i am today


it's all because of mitchiepooh


that fucker!
April 20, 2005
the only words to describe how deeply i feel about mitch are from one of my very favorite 80's songs ... someday i'll perform it live.

*i've changed the names to protect the inncocent.*


Oh Mitchie You're so fine,
Youre so fine you blow my mind.
Hey Mitchie
Hey Mitchie
Oh Mitchie Youre so Fine,
Youre so Fine You Blow My Mind
Hey Mitchie
Hey Mitchie

Oh Mitchie You're so fine,
Youre so fine you blow my mind.
Hey Mitchie
Hey Mitchie
Oh Mitchie Youre so Fine,
Youre so Fine You Blow My Mind
Hey Mitchie
Hey Mitchie

Hey Mitchie
Youve been around all night
and thats a little long,
You think you've got the right,
But I think youve got it wrong.
Why can't you say goodnight
So you can take me home Mitchie,

Cause when You say you will
It always means you won't
Youre givin me the chills
baby, please baby don't

Oh Mitchie what a pity you dont understand
You take me by the heart
You take me by the hand
Oh Mitchie Youre so pretty
Cant you understand?
Its guys like you Mitchie
Oh what you do Mitchie
Do Mitchie

Now When you take me by the hooves
Everyone's gonna know
Everytime you move
I let a little More show
There's Something we can use
So dont say no Mitchie!

So Come on and give it to me
Anyway you can
Anyway you want to do it
Ill treat you like a man
Oh Please, Baby Please
Dont leave me in a jam Mitchie!
February 24, 2005
He misses me when I am gone. That is a nice feeling... and is mutual.
August 7, 2004
Mitch is a bon vivant the way only a New Yorker who’s lived in Paris has a right to be. He will serve you French cheese and cognac in the desert. He will read you some of Adam Smith's finest poetry. He will write about you in international newspapers. He needs to bring some of that good living to Seattle!
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members » Mitch link to this profile: http://people.tribe.net/mitch