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Watch the Shark Tank Compilation of Made in USA Product Pitches

We’ve been Shark Tank fans since it launched. At first the investors did not want to keep manufacturing in the USA despite the passion of some of the product creators. Luckily the product creators held their ground and the Sharks changed their minds (on some products). Win for small business, win for America.

Enjoy this compilation of the Made in USA product pitches

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Goodbye Lauren Bacall – We Love You – 2014 Day in American History


From The History Channel

On this day in 2014, actress Lauren Bacall, who shot to fame in her debut film, 1944’s “To Have and Have Not,” in which she appeared opposite Humphrey Bogart, with whom she would have a legendary romance, dies at her New York City home at age 89. In a career that spanned nearly 70 years, the smoky-voiced Bacall made more than 40 films, including “The Big Sleep,” (1946) “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953) and “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (1996).

Born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in the Bronx, New York, she began using the last name Bacal, part of her mother’s maiden name, after her parents divorced when she was young. (While breaking into acting, she added a second “l” to her last name, and Howard Hawks, who directed Bacall’s big-screen debut, dubbed her Lauren). After graduating from high school in Manhattan in 1940, she studied acting but quit after a year because she could no longer afford the tuition. She went on to work as an usher in Broadway theaters and also started modeling. Her cover photo for Harper’s Bazaar magazine eventually came to the attention of Hawks, who cast her in his wartime drama “To Have and Have Not.” During the making of the film—in which Bacall famously utters the line: “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow”—she and the then-married Bogart, who was more than twice her age and already the star of such films as “The Maltese Falcon” and “Casablanca,” began an affair.

Married in 1945, Bogart and Bacall became one of Hollywood’s iconic couples and made three more films together, “The Big Sleep,” “Dark Passage” (1947) and “Key Largo” (1948). Bacall also appeared in such movies as “Young Man with a Horn” (1950) with Kirk Douglas, “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable and “Designing Woman” (1957) with Gregory Peck. Her marriage to Bogart, which produced two children, ended when the actor died of cancer in 1957 at age 57. After a brief romance with Frank Sinatra, Bacall wed actor Jason Robards in 1961. The pair, who had a son together, divorced in 1969.

Among Bacall’s other screen credits are “Harper” (1966) with Paul Newman, “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974), “Misery” (1990) and “The Mirror Has Two Faces” with Barbra Streisand. For her role in the latter film, Bacall earned her lone Academy Award nomination, in the best supporting actress category. (In 2009, she received an honorary Oscar.) Bacall also appeared in a number of theatrical productions and won best actress Tony awards for 1970’s “Applause” and 1981’s “Woman of the Year.”

Despite her achievements, Bacall realized the public likely would always associate her with Bogart. As she said in a 1999 Newsday interview: “I’ll never get away from him. I accept that. He was the emotional love of my life, but I think I’ve accomplished quite a bit on my own.”

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“American Graffiti” released- 1973 Day in History


From This History Channel

On this day in 1973, “American Graffiti,” a nostalgic coming-of-age tale set on the streets and steeped in the car-centric culture of suburban California, is released in theaters across the United States. The movie went on to become a sleeper hit.

“American Graffiti” was the second full-length feature film directed by George Lucas, who would later become best known for the blockbuster hit “Star Wars” (1977) and its sequels. Set in 1962, “American Graffiti” follows a group of teenage friends who meet in the parking lot of a local drive-in restaurant on the last night before two of them (played by Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard) plan to leave town to go to college. They spend much of the night cruising the streets of their hometown of Modesto, California (where Lucas himself grew up and developed an early passion for automobiles and car racing), in cars ranging from a yellow “deuce coupe” (a slang term for the 1932 Ford Model B  coupe) to a 1958 Chevy Impala, while some of the film’s most memorable scenes feature a white 1955 Ford Thunderbird driven by a mysterious blonde.

Released in 1973–the same year in which an embargo declared by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) sparked an international oil crisis–“American Graffiti” was the first in a series of movies and television shows that evoked nostalgia for the more carefree days of the 1950s and early ’60s and the iconic cars that defined the era. The oil crisis of 1973 would usher in an era of hard times for the American automobile industry, including a surge in sales of foreign-made cars, but many Americans took comfort in the glamorous image of driving–or “cruising”–that “American Graffiti”celebrated.

American Graffiti Movie Poster

The 1970s saw a boom in classic-car restoration, even as more and more Americans were driving Japanese imports. The era also saw an increasing number of “lowriders”–or classic cars or trucks with suspensions that had been modified so that they rode as low to the ground as possible. According to an Associated Press article about a 2008 exhibition at L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum called “La Vida Lowrider,” lowriding as a pastime spread outwards from Hispanic neighborhoods in the southwestern United States in the 1970s, and later caught on with enthusiasts as far away as Europe and Asia. This boom in the 1970s was triggered largely by movies such as “American Graffiti,” “Corvette Summer”(1978) and “Boulevard Nights” (1979) and TV shows like “Chico and the Man” (1974-78). In 1975, the band War scored a hit with their single “Low Rider,” which channeled the same cool, cruising suburban culture that made “American Graffiti” a hit.

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Jerry Garcia Dies – 1995- Day in History

From The History Channel

Like his band the Grateful Dead, which was still going strong three decades after its formation, Jerry Garcia defied his life-expectancy not merely by surviving, but by thriving creatively and commercially into the 1990s–far longer than most of his peers. His long, strange trip came to an end, however, on this day in 1995, when he died of a heart attack in a residential drug-treatment facility in Forest Knolls, California. A legendary guitarist and true cultural icon, Jerry Garcia was 53 years old.

Jerome John Garcia was born on August 1, 1942 and raised primarily in San Francisco’s Excelsior District, about five miles south of his and his band’s famous future residence at 710 Ashbury Street. Trained formally on the piano as a child, Garcia picked up the instrument he’d make his living with at the age of 15, when he convinced his mother to replace the accordion she’d bought him as a birthday gift with a Danelectro electric guitar. Five years later, after brief stints in art school and the Army, and after surviving a deadly automobile accident in 1961, Jerry Garcia began to pursue a musical career in earnest, playing with various groups that were part of San Francisco’s bluegrass and folk scene. By 1965, he had joined up with bassist Phil Lesh, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, organist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and drummer Bill Kreutzman in a group originally called the Warlocks and later renamed “the Grateful Dead.”


From their early gig as the house band at Ken Kesey’s famous Acid Tests, the Dead was a defining part of San Francisco’s burgeoning hippie counterculture scene. They would go on to play at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and at Woodstock in 1969, but as big as they were in the 60s and 70s, the Grateful Dead grew even more popular and successful as the decade they helped to define slipped further into the past. Indeed, during the final decade of Jerry Garcia’s life, following his recovery from a five-day diabetic coma in 1986, the Dead played an average of 100 to 150 live shows per year, frequently to sold-out audiences that included a significant proportion of tie-dye-wearing college students who were not yet alive when the Grateful Dead first made their name.

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American’s Flip Out Simultaneously

Team USA Wins Against Ghana During World Cup

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Our Favorite 4th of July Films

Since July 4th falls on a Thursday this year, we have plenty of time this weekend to celebrate the warm days of Summer. If you are in the 100+ degree zones of America inside entertainment is a priority. We’ve put together our top 5 films to watch with the family during 4th of July weekend.

Grab an extra plate of potato salad and cole slaw and pick out a few films from our list to enjoy.

Born on the 4th of July

1. Born on the 4th of July

Tom Cruise stars as Ron Kovic, a real-life Vietnam War veteran who became a prominent antiwar activist after returning home paralyzed. Oliver Stone won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1989.

Amazon Streaming

independence Day

2. Independence Day

What’s more American than apple pie? Aliens of course. Since the 50’s Americans have been obsessed with Alien movies. In this film the Aliens figured out the perfect day to attack the seemingly weak Americans – on the 4th of July. Will the Aliens take over our planet or can Will Smith save us?

Independence Day 2 will be released in 2015.

Amazon Streaming

the patriot

3. The Patriot

Mel Gibson stars as a South Carolina farmer who is forced to fight the British during the American Revolution. If you set aside historical accuracy this one is an epic film full of action and emotion. It’s pure fiction yet depicts the modern American ideal.

Amazon Streaming

Yankee Doodle Dandy

4. Yankee Doodle Dandy

This is a great family film full of classic American tunes such as “Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Over There” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” James Cagney plays real-life entertainer George M. Cohan. It traces his life as a child-star in his family’s vaudeville show through the time he received a medal from the president for his special contributions to the USA. Cagney won the Academy Award in 1942 for Best Actor and it’s on the American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 Films in the last 100 years.   

Amazon Streaming

1776 film

5. 1776 (Director’s Cut)

If you want to add another musical following your viewing of Yankee Doodle Dandy, this film is the perfect companion. It was released in 1972 and is based on a stage play. Some of the dialogue and song lyrics were taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants of the Second Continental Congress.  

Amazon Streaming

Here on Earth

Bonus: Here on Earth

Maybe you would prefer a romantic cry fest film from a sappy 1-star movie. This is the one. It takes place around the 4th of July and includes everything needed to have you sobbing before the credits roll. Get the tissues ready and a carton of ice cream.

It’s not available on demand but you can always rent the disk. Trailer

What are your favorite 4th of July films?


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George Washington (Dollar Bill) Origami

USA capitol building origami

According to Wikipedia, Japanese origami began sometime after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the 6th century. The first Japanese origami is dated from this period and was used for religious ceremonial purposes only, due to the high price of paper.

In the 19th Century the founder of kindergartens, Friedrich Frobel, used paper folding as a teaching aid for child development. In the 1920’s conjurors and magicians such as Houdini started folding paper money as part of their act. Houdini even published a book on it in America titled Magic Paper.

During WWII, dollar bill folding became a way for troops to pass the time and distract themselves between battles. Soon after, bartenders began to amuse their customers with the bill folding presentation. Customers would place their bill on the bar top and ask the bartender to fold it for their girl.

Here’s to George Washington & the other Presidents whose faces adorn American paper money.

A Gift Box

origami gift box







A Box & iPod Mini Shuffle Case

origami iPod shuffle






A Ring








A Wallet

Origami Wallet

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3 Strikes and You Win

Houston TWBA Bowling 1971If you get three strikes during a bowling match with your friends and family you are likely to win. If you are in a PBA league then you better try for a “six-pack” which is slang for six consecutive strikes.

Bowling started 2,000 years ago in Egypt but the game and rules we know today were established in New York City in 1895.

The biggest secret of bowling is health benefits. Bowling is a great weight bearing workout since you are walking and lifting a heavy 6-16 lb ball for a decent amount of time. It is also a great way to hang out with others since movement and talking leads to more stimulating conversations. Bowling taps into our primal way of bonding with others.

There are a few risks such as dropping the ball on your toe, back issues if you don’t bend your knees when lifting the ball, and getting your fingers stuck in the ball. However, the benefits outweigh the risks unless you are prone to accidents. In that case you can just keep score.

Bowling is also a fashion statement. How often you you get to wear a multi-color shirt and shoes and not get stares?

The color of ball you choose allows for some color therapy and the glitter ball is a must.  So, what do those ball colors reflect about you and how can they help improve your game?

Red – Stimulating, raises blood pressure
Orange– Stimulating with emotions and sexuality
Pink– Romantic and charming, can create physical weakness
Yellow– Power and ego, happiness
Green– Love, sense of responsibility, restful
Blue – Calming, physical, strong, steadfast
Purple– Forgiveness, compassion, understanding, mysterious, nobility
Black– Elegance, sophistication
Brown– Wholesomeness and dependable
White– Cleanliness, purity, cause headaches for some people
Silver– Glamorous, distinguished, graceful aging
Gold– Wealth, prosperity

Knock Down the Kitties

Knock Down the Kitties

Bowling Kitty Toy Set

The Bowling Kitty Toy Set we offer is not exactly regulation PBA but it’s fun. You get 6 little kitties and a wooden ball to play knock down with your kids. The game teaches hand-eye coordination and counting. You may be grooming the next bowling champion, but sadly bowling was only a demonstration sport at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics so don’t expect a gold medal.

Get one now and try for a six-pack.

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Top 5 Movies To Watch On the 4th of July

Fill yourself with hot dogs and grilled corn then take a break from the heat with a great 4th of July movie.

1. Born on the 4th of July

This is not the happiest film on the list but it is a classic. Tom Cruise stars as Ron Kovic, a real-life Vietnam War veteran who became a prominent antiwar activist after returning home paralyzed. Oliver Stone won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1989. Universal is releasing a new Blu-ray edition this week. Roger Ebert’s review.

2. Forrest Gump

This American epic starring Tom Hanks is fun to watch. The story spans several decades in the life of the slow-witted Alabama native Forrest Gump. His life is a roller coaster ride of disaster, humor and triumph, but such is life. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1994. Roger Ebert’s review


3. Patton

Watching Oscar winner George C. Scott play US General Patton is a treat. It is a 1970’s film which spans the life of Patton during World War II. It won 7 Academy Awards in 1971 including Best Picture and Best Actor. It is also on the American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 Films in the last 100 years. Roger Ebert’s Review

4. Yankee Doodle Dandy

This is a great family film full of classic American tunes such as “Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Over There” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” James Cagney plays real-life entertainer George M. Cohan. It traces his life as child-star in his family’s vaudeville show to the time he received a medal from the president for his special contributions to the USA. Cagney won the Academy Award in 1942 for Best Actor and it’s on the American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 Films in the last 100 years.   Roger Ebert Review

5. Rocky

You can hear the theme song in your head right now. This is the film that made Sylvester Stallone a star in 1976. It’s the story of the underdog fighter Rocky Balboa who is given his one shot in life to fight the heavy weight champ of the world. Rocky touches our core and exemplifies the American spirit. His love interest, played by Talia Shire, adds a sweetness to the film’s gritty story.  It won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Roger Ebert Review



I’ve been pressured to add Independence Day and The Patriot to the list. So they are #6 & #7 on the list. There is controversy surrounding the accuracy of The Patriot but we can all agree that Independence Day is fiction.

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