Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I think in this space people come to expect certain things from me… and lately it’s been the doomsday attitude that I have been showing. Well the reason I have it is I read too much and this article is another example of why it’s a scary world out there. Basically this is an expert saying gas could cost 12 to 15 dollars per gallon. That thought alone is nightmarish and if we get to that point, the piddly stuff I rant about will mean nothing. Gas is already out of control… from Saturday to Monday, the prices went up 12 cents per gallon by my house… man no one should EVER complain about glass prices ever again!


-- Coming next week is the CSI show and once again virtually most of our industry is ignoring it. Do you wonder if the specifiers ever walk the floor and say: “Hmm... isn’t there a Division 8?” And yes I know the world does not revolve around our industry, but I think it’s pretty amazing that the management of CSI has no care for why its members aren’t getting the full magillah.

-- And speaking of shows… I mentioned this last week… I think spending will be less going forward… though there will always be the ego driven folks that will “show to show” but that’s their prerogative.

-- I wrote a while back in USGlass about these scams where people call you and tell you they’ll do an article about your company… and all you have to do is give them your suppliers/customers names. Then they’ll call those folks and ask them to buy ads to celebrate your inclusion in the magazine. Gang… THIS IS A SCAM. Please if you have never heard of the magazine, and they want to shake down your supply and customers, its not real! A real magazine has ads or subscriptions to pay for it. Once a week I get a call from one of these shysters trying to spin why I should place an ad to “celebrate so and so’s 900th anniversary” Its unreal.

-- And yes so far I have used the words Shyster, Prerogative and Magillah in the blog… that’s a first.

-- Lots of discussion about the price increase laid out last week. The next few weeks look to be very interesting as everyone gets up to speed on what’s happening.

-- Not touching the Stanley Cup… guess I shoulda stayed a closet Pens fan eh?

-- This was in an article linked by USGNN on Tuesday- its about Green and companies that are in business to make you more “Green” like Seagate and their CEO Bill Watkins.
"I get on a private jet and fly to New York, so it's kind of hard for me to talk about separating my cans from plastic," he said. "They actually wanted me to convert to a full electric car," he said. "I drive a Bentley. This is the car of my life ... I'll be honest, I couldn't do it."
Yep, so his company promotes itself as green, but no way will he even try to come close to living that way… and instead will arrogantly mock it. Amazing… personally I think the NFRC should go after this guy…..

To the LINKS we go….

-- Top 100 cities to live in? Charlotte is number 1… other notables Greenville, SC (Awesome city- would live there in a second) and Tulsa at #5.

-- Apple is looking at a Solar powered IPhone… wow my luck my batteries would run out because we only get sun 3 months a year in Michigan

-- Great Blog post from Deb Levy… and by the way its one thing I beg the gang at USGlass to do… a look back in the past… man that would be a cool regular feature!

Video of the Week:

How not to handle a hockey trophy… something tells me the Wings won’t let anything happen to their Cup.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Everything Costs More....

Probably the big news for the week was not the AIA show (and the reax on that below) but the announcement of a major price increase in the glass industry. A double digit increase... the biggest that I can remember and another sign of how everything in our lives is costing more. The reaction to the price increase covered all angles. Immediately some folks went into the “How can you raise prices in a dead economy mode” while others praised the increase as much needed thanks to the spiraling costs all around. The bottom line is this price increase and others that could follow will be debated all over and it will be interesting to watch how it’s accepted. To this date, companies everyday absorb charges themselves instead of passing on to their customers because their place in the market is so weak, they feel they can’t afford to. I guess we’ll see if said companies can still play that role or if they have to give in. In this era, where everything costs more, absorbing increases makes no sense and is truly a recipe for disaster.


-- The AIA show… I heard varied opinions… a few folks thought the show was great, a few thought it sucked and there were some right in the middle. I am probably in the minority here but I think the days of spending huge money on these shows is over. The halls and show management bleed you for cash and nothing comes cheap and easy… and the bottom line is you can whine and dine all you want in Boston (or wherever said show is) but if you don’t follow through like a beast afterwards you just threw a ton of cash away.

-- I was actually in Vegas at the HD Show and was shocked that the possible economic woes have not touched that industry yet. Still more gadgets and expensive stuff than ever on display… It basically seems that the hospitality industry is still full steam ahead. By the way- hot item there was these back lit gigantic planters. Amazing. I believe my pal Bob Larson bought 2 of them for his home….

-- How about the heat that BIM is getting? I know I mentioned the covers of the magazines but it seems like in the last week or so, its exploded all over the place. The question that keeps coming up is will BIM actually take over and that will be the way to go. I think in due time it will… I think it will take time- hell we just finally got people used to using a fax machine in this industry… the tech savvy designers will snap this up and if they are able to show major efficiency gains, this way will spread like wildfire.

-- Did YKK hire a new marketing guy? I think they’ve had a release in every edition of USGNN for the last week. Damn this guy is making us other marketing folks look bad… Get ready folks as I think the rest of us are going to start digging deep for special announcements!

-- Jim Benney, NFRC Honcho spoke at AIA. Wish I was there. Wonder if he mentioned the word “cost” or any other word associated with money while there. I am sure he just told the architects how great this program will be without letting them know how it will affect the project financially. Best line was when he said this about why manufacturers need to be rated:

"They need to be able to compete on a fair basis."

HILLARIOUS!!!! Let’s see… NFRC has a virtual and seriously unfair monopoly… but yet WE the idiot manufacturers we need to be able to compete on a fair basis? Wow. I think NFRC should compete with AAMA or someone else to make it fair right? You know that just slays me. I am just tickled that the NFRC is looking out for fairness. What he meant was that some suppliers may cheat and this way it keeps those evil cheaters at bay. Why do I know that? Because in 2003 he said this in an article in US Glass:

“It is this reliance on manufacturer specifications that must be challenged”

You know because we are bad… bad people. All of those published numbers are wrong and despite having a true legal remedy to handle fraudulent claims, don’t you worry, the NFRC is on the case! Again for billionth time… it’s not the program (whole system calcs are good) but it’s the way it’s being implemented, the unnecessary costs, the desire to push down the throats of an industry, and the lack of choice that is the reason so many people (more and more everyday actually) are so negative towards the NFRC effort.

From the LINKS….

-- Gas prices are going so high that the pumps can’t count that high…. And by the way, how sickening is it to fill the tank these days?

-- Surprise Surprise… the Presidential Candidates are talking tough (Finally) on communist China… now will they follow through?

Uh Oh… when I say prices for everything is going up… I mean it… yes even BEER is being hit by an increase… more than a buck per 6 pack!

Video of the Week…

Well it is time for the Stanley Cup and amazingly my two favorite teams have made the finals… I can’t lose really… except I do have to pick a team to root for… I grew up in Pittsburgh as a huge Pens fan… but have lived in Michigan for 11 years and like the Wings too and was fortunate to go to many of their Cup games in the past… plus my wife and daughter like the Wings… (My son right now only likes wrestling… professional wrestling… yeesh) so all said and done.. I still am a Pens fan at heart… the Pens in 7 in an epic and incredible Stanley Cup… and the video of the week, the best moment I have ever had at a sporting event… Mario Lemieux scores late and the Pens win Game 1 of the 1992 Cup and the Civic Arena goes crazy… (Pens were down 4-1 and that goal made it 5-4)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The other side of green

Normally I start with an observation of the week and then break into shorter thoughts and then the “Links”- however nothing has caught my fancy as much as a commentary from the Detroit News. The columnist, Nolan Finley takes on the world of “green” and how our efforts to turn that way are in his opinion affecting so many other items that you just may not realize. The commentary can be found HERE and it’s a quick and worthwhile read. I know that several people from the “Eco-Lobby” side of the world read this blog and it will be very interesting to see what they say. Ironically this whole thing also makes me think about NFRC (my gosh, I think everything anymore makes me think about that stuff… I am pathetic) because its along the same path… in our efforts to try and be more energy efficient we can’t be comfortable with programs that work and that are inexpensive… no we need Titanic like layer and fee driven adventures… and costs will rise because of it….


-- If you are not checking out Megan Headley’s blog (Here) or Ellen Rogers (Here) please do… some good stuff there on both. On Ellen’s last post she talked about the dreaded surcharge and the effect on everyday life… E I think you should pass it on… your Mom got off easy… but seriously good stuff and usually a lot lighter than my foot stomping whine-fests you are used too…

-- And speaking of Blogs- Paul Bieber’s update this week was solid too- if you have a glass shop- you're getting some very good free advice.

-- USGNN also ran a piece last week on a tempered table tops blowing up…and now a lawsuit has been filed… and I think you all know what is next… the glass most likely came from China… what a shock… Yet its comical, you see this story all over the place.. it just ran in DC last year and you know its happening like crazy… yet the sheep still bring in the material from China with no fear or conscience. Simply amazing.

-- Great Tech follow ups in the most recent GANA Glass Reflections… once again Greg Carney handles the whole NFRC debacle with such care and class. And he brings up a big point that flies under the radar since there’s so many other warts on this toad… and that’s price… the total pricing has not really been established and I wonder where the NFRC is on the whole “outside” funding thing. Personally I think that the city of Seattle and the State of California should pony up all the cash for this bad boy… they want it.. they’ve helped propagate it… let them PAY for it.

-- Just asking… why do Hurricane’s get more coverage than Tornado’s? Is it because we have weeks to wait for the hurricane to hit or not hit? It is because we name them? Is it because with a hurricane you can show people evacuating? Maybe it’s me, but this has been a terrible run on Tornado’s lately and yet I think it only gets a portion of the coverage of a hurricane. My heart goes out to all who have been affected and I know a few people personally who have lost either portions of their homes or the entire home due to these storms… just horribly depressing anyway you slice it.

To the LINKS we go…

-- NASA is paying for people to stay in bed… yes this may be my next gig! If I can get an internet hi speed connection I am there…

-- You many have seen this today… Man suing Jet Blue for being forced to sit in the bathroom…. I don’t know with how cramped the flight is… is this a bad thing? Especially if it does not smell, you at least would have more room…

-- For you “Family Guy” folks…(an awesome show if you have not watched- go rent the DVD’s) this blog is trying to say that new Miami QB Chad Henne looks like a character on the show… Uh I say no…

Video of the week…

Speaking of Family Guy.. this is a clip from the special DVD “Blue Harvest” which is a rip roaring take off of Star Wars… Great stuff…

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ready to feel the mood

Next week the annual national AIA show takes place in Boston and it should be interesting to hear how everyone feels up there. Will it be like the Builders Show with the feeling of dread or will it be more upbeat? The ABI has been trending down, but projects are still rolling, including some major monumental work, so who knows. No doubt this event and the feeling on the floor should tell us a lot about where we are all going.


-- BIM has become so hot that we had a Time & Newsweek moment in our industry. BIM is on the cover of USGlass and Glass Magazine… so I would say this is pretty darn hot eh?

-- Some NFRC notes… feel free to skip down if you could care less… they announced that they will select a “NFRC Member of the Year” Seriously…. That’s pure unintentional comedy right there… but you know that for sure the winner will be a manufacturer, probably one that does some commercial, so they can show how “they work with everyone” even though that’s a bunch of hooey. My bet is on TRACO which for some reason has unbelievably supported/pushed for these programs… for the life of me I’ll never understand why. Especially since they have some very good people- I just don’t get their logic. I wonder how they’ll spin it if the program takes off (which is still doubtful really) and their customers have to pay through their ears and go through numerous nightmare steps to get things done. I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be known as one of the people who actually “wanted” this.

-- Also in the latest NFRC propaganda newsletter, a long editorial from current chair Joe Hayden on why “No” is sometimes the answer. He basically says that even though the entire organization can vote against something… keep voting against it at every stop… see votes that are like 48 to 6… that “no” sometimes is the answer. So that’s all good except that the NFRC also wants to try and play that it works with the consensus. You can’t have it both ways. And believe me NFRC is the furthest thing from a consensus organization out there. But somewhere out there NFRC is trying to convince people it does actually listen....

-- Last, in this latest little newsletter I think they mentioned that they were a 501c3 about 100 times… we get it guys… seriously we do... amazing how that designation means you can basically try and run roughshod over an industry… I think with how many times they note it, maybe the NFRC is trying to win the IRS Member of the Year award...

Sorry too much NFRC for me too… but it is.. what it is….

From the LINKS this week…

-- Oh and one more thing… check out this article on conflict of interest at NASA… does it sound like anyone we know? Hmmmmmm Thanks to Mike for the link. Gee wish the Inspector General would come visit me someday.

-- Fun article on celebrities who talk green but do not follow through with it in life…

-- Another story… on the weakening of Vegas and their economy… what’s comical is no one has told Vegas… Even with all the evidence presented in this article, there’s no way these people would be building like crazy if the outlook was dire…