Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A tough situation gets tougher

C’mon admit it. You know when you saw the term “Force Majeure” last week; you had to look up what it meant. I mean how many times has a term like that been used in our lifetimes? It’s just not in that everyday usage pattern that’s for sure- so you know when you see it, it has to be serious and obviously the situation that PPG and our industry is in right now is a serious one. With glass already very tight a situation like this makes it even more perilous (another rarely used word). Hopefully for our industries health, the situation at the Texas plant gets rectified quicker than initial assessment and we can keep on track. But even if it does, the glass shortage I talked about a few weeks ago just got a lot worse.


-- Want some perspective on how our industry is viewed to some people? PPG makes that crucial announcement and their stock does not move. Basically still the same today as it was last week. Didn’t even make a blip.

-- Great reaction on the LEED article I posted last week… if you did not check it out, scroll down and click because it’s worth it. It really shows the weakness within LEED and some of the ignorance that is at play. Best line (comical) I got was the following:
“I can’t wait til this guy writes a report on NFRC. He’ll get carpal tunnel from all the typing on that one!”

-- Found a lower life form than the ambulance chasing lawyer. It’s the job employment head hunter. I am really baffled why anyone uses these services. Plus the way they do business is pretty pathetic, so those that do use them deserve what they get at the end of the day. (A crappy overpaid employee but “the headhunter” found em!... as Nelson on the Simpsons would say HA HA)

-- Hurricane/Tropical Storm Gustav is churning towards the Gulf as we speak… man if there is any justice in the world this thing will peter out. No way can that territory handle another storm. Let’s all hope for the best.

Off to the Links…..

-- A cool story on how much the Obama Text message on his VP pick went down and what it could/would’ve cost.

-- Summer is over, school is back in session and now the Farmer’s Almanac is out with its forecast… gonna be a cold one… oh joy!

-- This story says all US adults could be overweight in 40 years. You mean all of us aren’t now? (Yeah I know thats just me) But seriously, that is one wild claim- I’ll have to have my kids buy stock in Casual XL Male.

Video of the Week…

And since it’s virtually Winter (ugh!) a great oldie but goodie video from blog reader Larry… quick and funny….

Shame that whale couldn’t eat a headhunter eh?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sophistication and Shortages

“Sophistication” is a term that is rarely used with our industry but really should be. If you take a step back and really note the advancements we have made in both metal and glass in the last 10-15 years it’s really impressive. The product availability process though is a double edged sword. With more sophistication and variety comes less time to run and less space to keep them. Those factors are playing into the current glass tightening situation and the fact that fabricators just can’t stock everything that is being made. Thus brings the next question… when will the herd be thinned? When will the older, less popular products be discontinued and who will have the guts to step up and do it. Believe me this is one to follow as glass gets tighter and the economy forces people to keep less material on their floors.


-- A great note on the USGNN message board about Energy Star and Vinyl/Plastic Windows. Nice to see someone else thinks that way and took time to comment.

-- Nice piece on USGNN on job site security. What a major issue that is these days with the costs of materials and the ability for someone to take some metal framing to the scrap yard for quick buck. Unfortunately the days of “good areas” and trusting people are long gone. If you are not doing all you can to secure your material and equipment, you’re really taking a chance.

-- Just curious what would you consider “large”? Top 5 in the industry? Top 10? I say this because I get a kick out of when people promote themselves as one of the “largest” so and so’s when they are probably (and most likely)not among the top 10 buyers or sellers of products in that segment. I mean wouldn’t you have to be that big to really say that? That’s like me saying I have one of the largest readerships on the web. I mean I get great traffic, but no way can I make that claim… but some folks like to think bigger than they are… or ever will be.

Off to the LINKS…

-- Can you still not believe Michael Phelps won that one race by his fingertips? Well Sports Illustrated has the evidence in photo form HERE. Man still unreal.

-- Amazing piece on this guy who HATES the windmill turbines on his property. I just don’t get his logic. To me it makes no sense to hate them as there’s much worse out there.

**** Must Read****
-- This piece on a Better Way to Rate Green Buildings. If you have any interest in the whole LEED adventure at all, this is one to check out. Great insight and really makes you think. It’s a long piece but it is truly worthwhile and brings up some serious questions!

Video of the Week:

From my sister through our old friend and co worker Susie… a classic video with the theme of the Olympics fresh in our minds… major reasons why THESE people are not in China… great stuff!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Getting the short shrift

I know there are LEED experts out there in our industry and I would love them to explain to me how glass cullet is not a recyclable item but yet a bi-product. No clue of what I am talking about? Well then that means you haven’t run into this latest LEED adventure that diminishes glass. I have hit on this before, but the value of glass from the energy angle all the way to the recycling effort, is so understated it’s insane. But yet the way I see it, the USGBC has a different view. I’d love to hear some reasoning on why.


-- Are you as enthralled with the Olympics as I am? The men’s 4 x 100 relay was amazing, the men’s gymnastics was insane as the US team really battled every step of the way and of course the disappointing 2nd place run for the women’s gym team. All this before the track and field starts… all good stuff. But makes for some really late nights!

-- Look for Michael Phelps to be the BEC keynote speaker… in 2028… that’ll be about the time he’ll be available to speak after the epic Olympics he’s having.

-- And speaking of the Olympics- check this story out on how much money the New York Times will spend to cover these Olympics. Man how do you show an ROI on this one?

-- Did you see the story on the glass falling from the NY skyscraper? Scary stuff- and if you think about it, it’s amazing this does happen more. It’s also proof that we have some of the most skilled people in the world because the amount of work going up vs. accidents like this really shows the skill level being on our side.

-- Back to China for a second- there was a story linked on USGNN about “Green” projects in China. Amazing a country with deplorable air conditions has any facilities that are green- but the bigger question- in two weeks when the world leaves and the Olympics are over- will any other building ever be built “green” there? And more importantly, will any measures be put in place to control the horrid pollution?

To the links….

-- This is a fun one… the most mispronounced words and phrases out there today…

-- Sometimes the internet is wrong… a classic journalistic error regarding the Georgia/Russia conflict. To my friends in Villa Rica- watch out for those tanks!

A classic... the person who called the bank disasters we are suffering through now expects things to get much, much worse. And more comical, she’s married to a professional wrestler… good read through…

Video of the week:

The gymnast who is taking heat for the US going silver… after seeing this, no way would I pick on her.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The first crack in the wall....

Lost in all of the stories about the weakening economy was the one about the Echelon Casino in Las Vegas putting a halt to the work on their new building. Why is this news? Well this is this not just a little strip mall… this is a huge casino and it’s a signal that the economic pressures are real. It’s also the first noticeable crack in wall that is Vegas. Las Vegas has been build, build, build- and recently they have been doing it in record speeds… and to hit a bump like this is truly significant. The delay on this project will surely have a domino effect, hurting a lot of people along the way. Aside from the suppliers who now are stuck with finished or semi-finished product, this casino was slated to employ 10,000 people. So this is NOT your run of the mill building or delay. For more info on this CLICK HERE. Thanks to BGO for the initial heads up on this.


-- Our industry made national news last week, but for the wrong reasons thanks to the tragic plane crash that happened in Minnesota . Two executives from Atlantic Plate Glass along with folks also involved on a major casino project passed away. Its’ times like this that make you aware of your mortality and allows you to give thanks for each day you have on earth. The saying is “Life is short” and in reality it truly is. Our condolences go out to the families and everyone who was touched by this awful turn of events.

-- Also condolences to the family of Peter Hurd. Peter also passed away last week. He was known very well in the decorative and obscure glass industry and his insight and abilities will be sorely missed.

-- On the NFRC beat… I owe someone lunch… after putting out the below challenge, I got a great e-mail- the whole transcript:

I don’t know you have given away the free lunch yet or not but I have the “answer”…
(From Max’s blog) “Before I continue... Lunch on me to the first person who can tell me how NFRC can be a consensus when the groups and committees vote overwhelmingly in one direction but the board overturns it? How is that "consensus" based? Seriously?”
At the “open” board meeting Garrett Stone provided it for me “…at the NFRC the board is last consensus vote..” so there you see it is really quite simple. I just have to note that this comment came a day after the group voted 19-5 to lower the number of IA reviews for a manufacturers ACE to match that of a certified laboratory. He did not like the results so he recommended that the board review this decision in the closed session and Tom Culp basically said here we go again, Garrett did not like the results (of which he missed the discussion and vote because he, Gary Curtis, and other prominent board members fly in the afternoon of the last day and then go to the board meeting the next day, because even they know that what happens the previous three days does not matter) so he recommends that the board take a serious look at this and decide in private, as usual after an NFRC meeting I have no idea what the outcome was…

Yep I would love to send this blurb out to the folks that are buying that NFRC is a consensus.. because they are NOT! Send it to the IECC, send it to the DOE (though they are so cluelessly blinded by NFRC that we’d have to read it to them… real slow. ) and send it to anyone and everyone who may even think this group has any interests except their own. This stuff happens… EVERYTIME… and ALL THE TIME. It’s pathetic.
And seriously I am sure the NFRC would spin that this is their way of “consensus” (damn- drink) and that the board for the good of the 501c3 (drink) makes it necessary… but the bottom line is that these processes get bandied about, discussed, worked, and hustled for months if not years, and then at the last moment- without warning, crap like this happens. And usually its someone with something to gain. And you wonder why people get mad….

-- Oh and on that note, the Benney video Q&A where he states manufacturers should speak up has elicited a ton of reaction. The best comment was the following:

See Jim wants the manufacturers to embrace it and just offer “tweaks” What he doesn’t realize that the only tweaks that should happen should be nuclear. Keep up the fight!

OK enough NFRC for now, ½ of my audience just clicked to another site.

-- Don’t forget Fall Conference for GANA- registration is open now… well worth the time folks.

-- The Olympics start this weekend and as I have noted before I am very excited for the events.. not so much for the venue. I do expect there to be massive problems- whether it’s the smog (Don’t worry they are shooting smog “pellets” to break up the smog- seriously) or the military or just the overall lack of care by the communist hosts. Jim Fairley summed it up really good on the USG Message Boards… why did they ever get this honor?
On the Olympics itself- watching Michael Phelps go for 7 or 8 gold medals surely will be “must see TV”

-- Also starting full scale this weekend… football… ah… and while that is great it does pretty much mean summer is over. And that’s a bummer.


-- A blow to the communist Chinese is the cost of shipping. This article here puts it into some perspective. Will this stop the flow? No way, but it could slow it or even the playing field some- which is only fair.

-- In Denver they are using wasted beer to run the cars… Now that could really be an option!

-- Feel sorry for those of you on US Air… now even water costs money… and just a matter of time before everyone else follows suit…

VIDEO of the Week:

Thanks again to Larry (man you have been clutch!) for the video… a little graphic but its kinda like a real life karma lesson…

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Return of the Saturday Post

Way too much NFRC stuff not to do a weekend post....

Anyway the meetings wrapped up this week and I want to thank everyone who posted messages publicly and the raft of e-mails that I got with insight and info too. Thanks folks- it was like being there- with the exception of having the overpaid folks from Potomac trying to sneak looks over my shoulder.

Anyway, a few items to hit...

-- Did Jim Benney fall asleep? I had a few that said he did and then a few others that said it was others. People falling asleep was even noted on line- so evidently the subject matter must've really been good. Maybe with all the sleeping going on, that's why the discussion was started on going to 2 meetings from the current 3.

-- NFRC's own blog was not a flag waving as expected- but close. I give them this credit- at least they made the effort to inform the world of whats going on- now if they could find that same transparency everywhere else...

-- An addition to the NFRC drinking game... whenever an NFRC elite says the word "consensus" you must take 2 drinks.

-- No doubt that at a board meeting a long the way the subject was "how to convince the world that we're a "consensus"- at that point they probably decided if you say something enough times maybe people will believe you.

-- Gosh I hope that the folks at IECC are not that obtuse to believe the NFRC is a "consensus" organization. Man 2 seconds of research would show they are as much as a "consensus" as this blog is "pro-NFRC"

-- Jim Benney did a 2nd Q&A this week, this time on video with Ellen Rogers at USGNN. You can see it HERE. Good stuff... Of course I have to make some comments on it and here goes:

Ellen asked if Jim was surprised by the opposition of the CMA- and he said he was... of course that was after mentioning the whole bogus "consensus" (drink twice) deal.

Before I continue... Lunch on me to the first person who can tell me how NFRC can be a consensus when the groups and committees vote overwhelmingly in one direction but the board overturns it? How is that "consensus" based? Seriously?

Jim then noted he was surprised that the NFRC wasn't able to get the opposition into the fold easier.... well geez Jim... let's see, your group is imposing an extremely unnecessary program on this industry, all the while ignoring our views and rejecting our offers of education and direction.... I guess they figure that in the end they'll wear everyone out...

Ellen then asked a great question on the issue of the labs and NFRC elite benefiting from this program (or profiting madly as I would say) and Jim danced on it and basically said "well those are the people that come to the meetings!"

Incredible- but true. See just because the industry is too busy you know doing things like installing material and developing new products etc, we have to suffer because this is all people like Marles McDionald and Rich Biscoe have to do all day.

By the way, Marles and Rich are from labs that will surely do very well if the SS Titanic floats. So why shouldn't they come eh?

Then Jim decided to throw this gem out:
"We need manufacturers to step up and say 'this program is great- except for this- we need to change that..."
He went on but my head exploded.

Jim- manufacturers HAVE BEEN noting stuff for YEARS! But it is IGNORED. Greg Carney and Marg Webb represent hundred of Manufacturers and future affected parties and they speak for them each meeting... but yet their views get whacked.

My gosh... this stuff sadly works on the folks from the DOE who for some reason drink the NFRC Kool Aid straight... either that or there's pictures... hell who knows... but no one with a mini bit of logic can take that last sentence seriously.

"We need manufacturers to step up...."

That is classic... should go on to the NFRC website... hell that statement should win an award.

What many of you may not realize is how many people had been stepping up and slowly walked away because their efforts were ignored. Its just sickening that Jim could actually believe that last comment.

-- Last, Jim looked 5 years in the future with hopes that this program will be a great success and we'll all laugh about the hubbub... actually they'll be plenty of laughing... I'll be howling when the IA's can't handle a crush or the simulators have no clue what aluminum is... and then when someone sends in a trapezoid with a customization all over, the software starts smoking. And CMA will be as bad and unused as the current sitebuilt is.

Then you should thank the folks who decided to go after this, when there was NO CALL FOR IT- whatsoever- except for the revenue flow and the "good of the NFRC"

(Note there was no mandate, no codes, no call from California.. NOTHING. You must not forget that this program was born from a chance to make MONEY)

Its the Titanic.. and I hope all the board members are excited to be on the ship!

-- Oh and one last Q&A from Joe Hayden, the current Captain of the SS Titanic.

It was very generic (like it was written by the overpaid PR agency flacks) but he did mention the word "Consensus" so everyone drink! Twice!

OK so for the billionth time...

As a design tool- this program could work great. But as an un-needed full fledged waste of time, money, and overall resources certification program this is as wrong as can be.

But as many have noted, this thing is too far down the tracks.. so we all can just wait to see the implementation, watch the anarchy and the ignorance by the stakeholders, and enjoy the show!