Monday, November 24, 2008

Early Thanksgiving Post

Happy Thanksgiving! An early blog post in honor of the holiday. Thanksgiving really is the best holiday of the year. Seriously I know that most people would pick Christmas/Chanukah, but Turkey day is the call. The fact that you celebrate with family, food and football is almost impossible to top. All my life I have felt that way too. Man I was an odd kid. Then again everyone who reads this every week already knows that. Anyway, to all of you out there… even the communist Chinese, the ambulance chasing lawyers and of course my pals at the NFRC, may you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!


-- Shorter than normal post this week, but tons of cool links for you to peruse when you have time… in the “links” section of course….

-- Mixed bag week economically. You had the GreenBuild show that everyone raved about and if the attendance figures were true, then the show was a blockbuster. Something tells me if the gang at Viracon was passing out beer, the probably needed it by the truckload. On the downside, 3 more window operations closed up. The residential world is a massive mess right now and it really does not look like it will get better quick.

-- Speaking of GreenBuild have I ever said how frustrating it is to have a program that pays so little attention to glazing? Oh yeah I have. Sorry. Just had to get that in there one more time. Comical that NFRC pays TOO much attention and these guys too little. Man a little in the middle would be great....

-- Have you made your Glassweek/BEC plans yet? If not, beat the rush and check out the website HERE and sign on up. This will be the event of the year and with the economy staggering, this is the one place that you NEED to be. So keep that in mind when doing the whole 09 budget adventure.

-- I bitched all summer long when gas was 4.15 per gallon and now I am just stunned to silence that its 1.68 at my nearest station. My gosh that is unreal. But does it really make any sense at all? This could be the only thing with less logic behind it than the NFRC CMA/Titanic.

Off the LINKS.. JUMBO edition

-- Well the “Link Chick” was en fuego this week on the link beat… but up first is one I found..
Did you know there was a “World Toilet Day” and it was at the World Toilet Summit where they talked about an end to “flushing toilets” Oh dear.

-- Huge controversy this week when a Super Model was shown and she had no belly button… no she’s not an alien, but it is a pretty wild thing… no innie or outie… I guess I’d trade my belly button to be a Super Model…

-- Interesting story- does a bad economy cause the crime rate to raise? I’d think so, but others disagree.

-- Who steals more info from US Governmental computers? Russia- Nope.. Iran… Nope.,.. our pals in communist China… yep keep buying their stuff folks.

-- Germany is running out of a crucial item this holiday season… Santa’s…

Saving best for last… you think we have economic issues here? Well in Russia they are struggling so bad that sales of Vodka are way off… seriously…

Video of the week

This one has swear words galore in it- so beware. It’s a classic of TV anchors and reporters messing up and just freaking… and as a guy who used to work in this world- I have been there!! Thanks to my sis for the link!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buying Right

Building off of one the theme’s from last week… and that’s buying material domestically. In fact, look for a serious strengthening of the “Buy American” act by the next administration. Allowing projects that have public money in them (Raleigh Airport, Sprint Center etc) to have foreign material in it is insane. With this country in a bit of a struggle and jobs being one of the priorities going forward, having a strong system in place is a must. So I think before that P.O. is placed with the Chinese or the Columbians you may want to think twice. Regardless of when the teeth get back in the “act” I can tell you when people get slow they have time on their hands to take these things on. And no way will a major project with municipal money on it go without someone questioning the product supply chain.


-- Saw the Glass Expo Midwest has Steve Fronek from Wausau has one of its keynote speakers. Steve is a very good guy and his speech on “Solar Powered Opportunities” is reason enough to attend. Not sure how she does it but every year Deb Levy and company get solid people to present and having Steve this year carries that tradition on. For more info on this show- CLICK HERE

-- The “scammers” that USGlass has written about a few times in the last few months are back with a new approach. These folks now are approaching glass shops and the like with the cover of being a charity. (Insert NFRC joke here) They are contacting shops and saying they are doing building work for the charity and getting people to try and put their guard down. It’s an amazing how creative crooks can get eh? Add on to that, the new e-mail edition of the scam features requests from Rabbi’s and Priests! So if you get a request for 1000 pieces of glass from a Priest and he is asking for payment terms etc (all the classic scam elements) beware…

-- My Birthday was this past Saturday… so I am sleeping in… all is well… and my dog (70 lbs of a Standard Poodle) jumps up on the bed… I think to myself that he wants to wish me a happy birthday right? Well he does… He lifts his leg and pees on me! Oh Happy Birthday indeed…. So it begs to question… having your dog pee on you, on your birthday morning, is that any way a good omen? And also since when did my dog become a fan of the NFRC, China or lawyers? Since all of those folks would probably have loved to done the deed… oh well… gotta be a good omen right?

-- Note all lawyers except Kim Mann of course.

-- Saw USGBC approved LEED 2009…. Man and I just figured out 1.0. But seriously it will be interesting to see if the new release will be any more user friendly. We still know that glass and aluminum take a short shrift there… some day that hopefully will change.

-- Last on the glass shortage... its funny that some believe it does not exist... you know why you don't feel it? Because incredible purchasing people (like a certain VP of Supply Chain that I respect immensely, Mr. Dan Wagner) work with their teams and with the manufacturers to make it as painless to the buyers as possible. Believe me, if you saw what goes on at various purchasing sites and the manuevers that these fine folks have to make, just to make sure the glass is still flowing, you would be blown away. I just wish for the heck of it that the manufacturers and fabricators would slack off on this effort so people that believe this is all "made up" would get to experience it. Oh well. Bottom line is it nice to see talented people doing all they can to keep things rolling- you kinda wish these were the type of people in governmental positions....

From the LINKS…

-- From the “Sucker born every minute file” this lady fell for those Nigerian “get rich” e-mails. Its stunning really… everyone gets them and its been on the news but yet daily people fall for it. This story is especially sad because of how much she spent. By the way, the comments on the story are almost as bizarre as the story itself.

-- Fantastic Op Ed from Mitt Romney on letting the Big 3 go down… no bail out.

And by the way, got an e-mail today on a poll that was done about the window industry and whether or not the window industry needed a bailout… 51% said no bail out is needed… but then you had 36% that said yes we need it and we need to lobby and another 14% that said we need it but not worth a lobby effort… so half of the window industry needs a bailout? Wow something tells me a lot of people are in deep trouble there. (I guess that was obvious eh?)

-- The “Link Chick” checks in with this one… a new poll shows ½ of the primary care doctors in the United States would quit if they had an alternative… wow..

-- And my man W. Cash checks in with this link… Guns, guns and more guns… found in SCHOOLS! Unreal… to borrow his line… we need a gun shortage not a glass shortage.,0,7032242.story

Video of the week…

JACK’S BACK!! Yes 24 is back this Sunday with a 2 hour movie that will catch us all up and prepare for the new season in January… and to get you pumped, here’s a preview….

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beware cutting the middle

A hot subject on the USGNN message board has been the whole fabricator selling direct to the contractor issue. The whole concept of selling direct- whether it’s that scenario or the manufacturer selling direct to the glazier is one that truly rankles and upsets many people. In the industry there’s a natural order of things that actually makes sense and is amazingly efficient. Turning on that would cause chaos, and that’s why everyone is so protective. However, sadly, with an economy that looks very shaky, situations like this could happen more and more. I know that folks in Las Vegas are furious that this situation has happened between a fabricator and contractor and I really believe that grew from the fact it got slow out there. So once it slows up elsewhere, people trying to cut the steps will probably be more prevalent. Keep in mind though it’s the classic “cutting your nose to spite your face” maneuver. It may work in the short term but will destroy in the long term.


-- Can the economic news just get a little more depressing? Yeesh.

-- On the whole bailout brigade… I suffer on that… being in Michigan I have been witness to the Big 3 squandering the good times, being enormously fat and really turning its back on technology and trends while the Japanese at their lunch. However the trickle effect of the Big 3 failing would be beyond belief as there’s so many businesses connected both directly and indirectly to them. Overall I think any support or money given must come with serious restrictions and oversight. Amazing since everyone knows how much I LOVE oversight!

-- Saw that Steve Rosenstock quit the Board of NFRC. He will be best known for his epic upset of Alecia Ward in last year’s election. The NFRC named Roland Temple to replace him, which is a good move (a rare NFRC compliment!) and hopefully will add some logic to a Board that completely lacks it.

-- The mail flew in this week at every level. Man it is exciting how many people are reading and communicating… some insights…

---- On the removal of “Say No to China” and the appearance of the support the US/Canada button on the top right of the page… It was time to be positive and I think that needs to be the message going forward. With a rough time ahead, supporting our brothers in the US and Canada is crucial. The work needs to stay here and hopefully people grasp that.

---- On my hammering of the DOE’s Marc LaFrance. The concern was that he may try and “get back” at the commercial industry. My reply has been, how can he treat us worse? Unless Garrett Stone tells him to treat us better, he’ll keep following that lead. Regardless the guy should be more furious at the NFRC than me… all I do is point out that he is ignored… they are the ones actually IGNORING him.

---- On the NFRC as a whole. Most people are just so fed up. But more than that people are freaked out by the costs and time involved. Best thing possible folks… when you bid and you have an NFRC requirement make sure that cost is a separate line item on your quote (or no quote that portion like several aluminum Mfg’s are doing out west) This way the contractor will see how much more cash this amazingly inept police action will cost.

To the LINKS!

-- This link was actually sent to me by SEVERAL people… thank you.. an amazing story of uselessness. If an Airline screws up and you are stuck on the runway for hours and hours… the airline is NOT required to help you… insane…

-- People taking college football way too seriously… leading to a double murder… thanks to W. Cash for the link! I love the Steelers as an example but there is no way I love them this much…

-- The “Link Chick” sent this one to me… imagine being 7 feet tall… then imagine being that tall at 12 years old! Yes this kid is… wow.

Video of the week:

Well when I talked about “restrictions” on the bailouts… how about starting with AIG… they once again were out spending cash on a junket… great investigative story from a Phoenix TV station. Simply amazing wastes of money!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday NFRC Extravaganza!

Its NFRC time kids… let’s take a look at one of my favorite subjects… this is long too.. sorry.

((BEFORE I START- Since I wrote the below on the plane yesterday… PLEASE NOTE… just because the NFRC is pushing this thing along does not mean it will work or be accepted. Just because the State of California will implement does not mean that it will work in the short or long term or anywhere else. So while the process continues the facts are still the same, the NFRC and its money making labs and IA’s still have no clue on how the commercial world works….)))

-- I enjoyed the NFRC blog especially since it seemed like it felt that were writing it just for me! Thanks guys…

-- Attendance on the blog was noted at 99… up from the 79 pre registered folks… you can assume that a handful of the 20 extras were board types, so still not a great showing… I bet they probably had to get temporary staffing to handle that mob since 11 staff members were probably overwhelmed!

-- The election still smells… some thoughts..

-- The Tony Rygg part is sad- he had no business running and it really is a blatant conflict of interest- one that will be ignored of course. Still it’s funny that the folks at NFRC are so scared that they had to prop up the Admiral to run.

-- Jim Benney was so proud that the turnout was better than last year… however was it better? See when you read between the lines (and that’s what I do here because you learn that they are never straight over there) that this year you had 114 voters out of 209 for 54%. Last year they noted that they had 121 voters BUT that was only 51%... so wouldn’t that mean that the NFRC went from 238 members to 209? And they had 7 less people vote to boot… nice work with percentages guys! And yet there are still people who think the CMA is gonna work… Ha ha ha.

-- Man I wish Jim Benney was grading my papers in High School if he thinks that was a good turnout…

-- On the election site, you could make comments and Frank Fisher of Arcadia who is virtually alone in his commercial love of the NFRC made a hilarious comment. Basically he wrote that the NFRC should alert the media that no one from the commercial side stepped up to be involved in this election… wow.. ok let me at it.

-- First the commercial guys are a lot smarter than people give us credit for. All of the major players know that they’ll be pummeled on the board like Mike Mantegi has been. Mike has tried for years but gets minimized at all turns. Anyway, smart folks know that a board slot means nothing especially when the board is skewed the way it is. No matter what we do, the commercial side will never have the juice to get things done- it is set up that way… you know because they are a 501c3 and so they can basically do whatever they feel.

-- Hey Frank, do you know who won the spot 3 years ago for “Commercial Interests”.. none other than Marcia Falke… yep thanks to the way NFRC does stuff, an IA can run in the same category as a commercial manufacturer. Uh Huh.. that makes sense.. a person who can profit like crazy representing the lemmings she’ll be charging someday.

-- Second, the commercial guys are in a severe minority because the NFRC, if you have not paid attention, is a residential group and one that is dominated by money making anti commercial concerns. Any commercial guy running has no chance. Like I said we’re not stupid.
Face it Frank.. aside from you and TRACO, the entire industry is against this… I am baffled on how that is a missed point. And as for the “getting ivolved” angle.. the NFRC fed that line to David Walker of the NGA at the Chicago meeting and it’s a bunch of hooey. And even before that, that was the line thrown at many people… well guess what it wouldn’t matter… (hell I even tried to get people there once!) one example…32 people were involved a year ago to vote by a large margin (doubled) to accept defaults… and a year later the Board did what they do and proceeded HOW THEY WANTED… and that is the RULE not the exception. So believe me the whole “getting involved” stuff is a joke.

-- Last, even if a commercial guy ran, the NFRC had their guys lined up… the Larsens, Rygg’s etc. Please don’t tell me you are that naive. But keep drinking the Kool Aid and if this thing somehow works and glaziers are getting crushed with unnecessary costs and jobs are running late and people are mad… we’ll make sure they all know who was all for it…. Trust me I’ll even take out an ad to thank you guys.

As for the meeting… wow so much to say…

-- It was sad that Glass Magazine could not have anyone cover the event (Though with a major auto glass show I can understand)… which makes me wonder, why even write about it if all you are going to do is repeat the propaganda that was on the NFRC blog? Hell gang, no quotes from me? Damn. Maybe call Marg Webb or someone else to get you the “other side” of the story? Then again with a writer as good as Katy Devlin, sending her to this would be akin to having Bob Woodward cover a student council election at Peabody High.

-- Oh and as for blogs the only people from Glass Mag that read mine are the lazy ad execs (and not all of them- you know who you are) who try to use what I write to get accounts and new ads… Shame they can’t get sales on their own and need to use this forum as fuel. C’mon you got good writers there, get your business the old fashioned way… earn it.

-- Back to NFRC… unless you read USGNN you did not know that several people from the opposing side of the current NFRC adventure were not there in Jacksonville. Good for GANA, IGMA, AAMA and NGA as they all have much more important business in protecting and working for their membership instead of wasting 4 days to watch a bunch of people summarily ignore them and claim “consensus” because they were physically in attendance. It’s funny, I think those groups did all they could to help the NFRC avoid failure but they were ignored thus it will be a painful lesson that we’ll get a kick out of someday.

-- I also got a kick out of the headline over “applause” all around after the Titanic moved up the ladder… yep guys that ovation is well deserved… let’s see it only took years and years and thousands of dollars and wasted hours to develop a program that has little hope, no consensus and will have no acceptance in our industry. Jolly Good Show!

-- I still look back to the first meeting I ever went to… poor Larry Livermore and Greg McKenna were at the front of the room and they looked totally shellshocked as the input flowed in… they knew then and I’m sure would admit under oath now, that this program was going downhill because the board was determined to do their own thing.

-- I saw that Joe Hayden had homework again and asked for people to list the “Barriers to Success for NFRC” and the blog dutifully listed a bunch of them even ones that were sort of negative, but they “forgot” to list the best one and the one listed 1st on the picture board I saw..
Amen to whomever wrote this… Yep the beat goes on but I am thrilled that was there for everyone in black and white to see.. and hopefully in Braille for Marc LaFrance to read. So Joe go ahead and address this.. or have Potomac (damn they have been quiet lately) do up the typical BS PR but facts are facts and the board in its ability hide under their charity tax ruling can veto any and everything if they choose. That said, quit saying you have a consensus because you ignore most of the ones you have ever had.

-- The NFRC announced they are going down to 2 meetings a year… it’s a good news/bad news thing… I mean 3 times a year I get a treasure trove of fun stuff to mock.. now I’ll only have 2. Damn. But seriously you wonder why it took them this long, except for this has always been what one observer called a “travel club”… see before I got going on this blog, the NFRC was great at having their meetings at plenty of expensive (Hawaii, Quebec) and out of the way (Santa Fe) locales. Then hammering started and we got sensible locations that were actually accessible by non stop flights. Fiscal responsibility! But seriously the conspiracy theorist in me has another thought… I wonder if going down to 2 meetings is because they know when the Titanic hits the iceberg, that’s one less 4 day stretch of abuse…

-- Last… you know my blog accepts comments and my e-mail is on the site for everyone to use (and they do- believe me!) But NFRC has a “blog” but yet does not allow comments… which kinda makes it more like a revolving press release and not a blog… but any way good try guys and thanks for keeping us all up to date.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still trying to get a feel for 2009

This week I was in Las Vegas and I was curious on how the economy would weigh on people’s minds. What is in store for us in 09? As expected it was a mixed bag… the good news was the many General Contractors I met with were confident that 09 was going to be OK. The majority of them felt that 09 would be lighter on the commercial side but not deathly. And all felt that the heavy load of institutional work will help carry us through. Still everyone had an example of banks hurting their business because projects had been postponed thanks to the recent crisis. But amazingly the attitude this week was brighter than it was a month ago at GlassBuild- so that was encouraging. The bad news was from the manufacturing side. Many major players were pushing doomsday scenarios. In fact one major player on the glass side started cutting its sales workforce in efforts to reduce it by 17%.... (I know who, but waiting for the glass media to catch it before I comment- I have had enough trouble for this week!) So while some see the glass half full many others see it half empty. As I have said many times before, I think it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.


-- No NFRC on this post (hooray’s come from the masses) but I’ll have a full NFRC post for the end of the week… (because without it so many would be lost and the NFRC would not know what to respond to…)

-- As I have written here before- flying has become no fun at all. On the flight now and I am crammed into the smallest seat possible. The guy in front of me has his seat reclined all the way back and then every few seconds repositions himself to make the chair push into my knees even further. On the window side, the gal sitting there will not put the shade down, so the sun is streaming in and of course making this hot plane even hotter. And of course she is asleep! And my lap top is half open with keyboard on my stomach and my hands uncomfortably trying to type. Pure misery.

-- Happy Birthday to blog reader and friend Matt Ferguson of AGC… worked with Matt years ago and heard he’ll be 49 this weekend.. 49? Man I can not believe it. Anyway a happy and healthy one bro.

-- From the trends… Solar continues to every day make news, but lets not forget about the previous hot topic.. BIM… slowly but surely there’s new BIM folks popping up on every street corner. You gotta love how the me-too trends work in our world huh?

-- One trend that I think will have good growth is the blast and security side. Starting to see and hear more of that on a daily basis.

-- For those of you smarter than me (yes I know that would be... everyone)… saw an ad for plastic that has Low E values. How does that happen? Do they coat it like the glass guys do? How good can it perform? Any insight would be great… just seems very odd to me.. You know since I am anti plastic and vinyl and all.

To the Links…

-- This article says it does not matter who is president, that the stock market will recover… you know I have no clue what makes that market tick- never had and probably never will.

-- Great article (thanks to the link chick!) about Green Prisons… yep even your inmates can be green but what’s funny on this one is the talk to a guy who is in for Murder but the prison is “Minimum Security” – how in the heck? Then again the prison is in Washington state… and Washington state is home to one John Hogan who believes that skyscrapers can be made from Vinyl. So why not.

No video of the week- I may put one on the forthcoming NFRC extravaganza post…

Monday, November 03, 2008

What a surprise... NOT

Well the election results are out for NFRC.... amazingly every "pro" NFRC person won! Wow.. I guess the upset of Alecia Ward last year was an aberration. You know this stuff is actually getting so pathetic that even I may tire of it... nah... why let them get away with it!

Seriously though lets look at it...

Jim Larsen from Cardinal is back on the board... yep the more things change the more they stay the same. If the NFRC was running the Presidential Election tomorrow they'd somehow find away to re elect George W Bush.

The amazing part for me was somehow the Admiral Tony Rygg won a seat. Here's how this is amazing..
-- Last year he had the lowest vote total of anyone when he ran unopposed.
-- He was running against 2 totally professional people- one of whom, Roland Temple, would've been a massive step up for this organization.
-- He is listed as an "independent consultant" for election purposes but in all the registration material and basically forever he is a part of the California Energy Commission.

Why does that last point matter? Well Rygg's little buddy Nelson Pena also has a board spot- in essence giving California 2 voting spots... I guess that's not illegal in the NFRC world since at one time I think Cardinal had 2 or 3 people wrapped up.

But it is amazing that all of a sudden he gets propped up to run for that spot and he wins.

It figures California should have the power since after all they are the Guinea pig for the maiden Titanic voyage. Hopefully they have seasick bags left from that great Site Built success!

Am I questioning the election? Sure I am. I wouldn't trust the NFRC as far as I could throw em. Please independent voting group aside, the whole thing smells.. including the amazing last minute turnout... Is ACORN signing up NFRC voters too?

Anyway more of the same... more ignorance and arrogance towards the commercial industry but continued cluelessness will be the downfall... as someone told me over the weekend- its like they DON'T want a program that works...

Last I do follow the NFRC blog- I still get a kick out of the fact that this medium that Marcia Falke cooly dismissed in Arizona a year ago is so big for them now. Anyway its a kick trying to follow their spin.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday on NFRC

Well folks they did it.... yep they showed their true colors.... this item came out yesterday:

Generic/default framing values: The NFRC Board of Directors directed the Technical Committee to remove any reference to default frames in NFRC 100 and 200 documents at this time, and to also direct the Technical Committee to continue to work on proper calculation techniques and that they study the results against real CMA data during a maximum of the first two years of the program.

And this... this is what I wrote after one of the meetings in November of 2007 (and its in the archives here if you want to see it whole):

Today it was VERY clear the division and opinions on this whole issue. The debate that it raged around was not a crucial piece but the sides that were taken basically PROVES my point that the this whole debacle comes down to money.

Without getting technical the situation was surrounding a "Default" table from NFRC on the frame groups. The manufacturers and trades all wanted to keep the defaults in the NFRC frame process because it does allow the manufacturers to not have test their products if they do not want to.The test labs obviously want EVERYTHING tested, so they along with Cardinal Glass (who I wonder, out loud, do they sell glass as a priority or are they just a test lab/legislation party that happens in passing to sell glass) pushed to have the defaults eliminated.

So the room voted and the manufacturers outnumbered the labs 32-16. But before the debate was done, it was announced that this issue should be sent up to the board for their "direction"

That brought an intense response from Marc LaFrance of DOE, who noted this is insane, that there is no reason for the default to be removed, and after discussing this for 2 years, we need to move on.

Greg Carney followed with a note, that once again it looks like it does not matter that the group has voted a certain way because the Board will continue to make its own calls.

Anyway, after a short break, it was announced that the Board is "willing" to consider the defaults, so for now.. that's still alive.

But will it last? My answer: No. Why- because looking around the room, many of the 16 votes against the default were Board members... but with some of the changes on the board, there is hope, but the big players on the board like Marcia Falke and Tony Rygg voted against- so something tells me this too... like Tom Culp's extremely reasonable proposal from last meeting (that was voted through overwhelmingly) will get shot down.

I CALLED IT!! A year ago!

This group is simply freakin disgusting.

Its funny this also proves that when I made the crack about the Board ignoring Marc LaFrance because he sounds like a teacher from Charlie Brown I was right! Amazing.. the DOE along with a majority of people see whats right... but MONEY MONEY MONEY over rules.

This program is absolutely headed down- with decisions like this, it is so obvious that they have no idea what they are getting into.

Simply amazing... bottom line is the next time these people call themselves a "consensus" then this blog post should be used as example A.

And by the way, after the last meeting David Walker of NGA wrote a great piece and he urged people to get involved. I wrote him after and said that it does not matter because the NFRC will do whatever they want... well this surely proves it... does not matter if everyone in the industry votes... 3000- 16... as long as the NFRC and the labs want to make money... they'll go against the majority... and the "consensus"