Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BEC- Will YOU be there?

The GANA BEC show is fast approaching and when I reviewed the list of attendees I was blown away at the level of quality that is attending. I know I say every year that it’s the best of the best in our industry, but this year it’s really true. Plus in a tough economy to get the turnout we are expecting is unreal, then again having an event like this attracts the shrewd and smart in our industry as no one with a good feel will want to miss it. It’s funny a glazier told me last week he was budgeting for the glass show in Atlanta and I told him that was fine, but in reality he’d be attending the wrong event (if he could only go to one). Obviously I am biased but no way will you ever get the caliber of people and mix of industry professions in one spot at a trade show. That’s what will always make this show the best.

-- Is it not the scariest thing seeing every day another company announcing massive layoffs?

-- As for our industry I think it’s still a battle. The rumor mongers are working overtime and if you try hard enough you can hear a rumor about every company that has ever touched a piece of glass or metal. Tougher times breed this mentality. However at the end of this day not everyone will be standing. The only redeeming factor to this is the fact we have way too many players and the field really does need thinning.

-- Color me confused on the moves by Serious Materials- especially the move to possibly buy the Republic Windows location. Maybe the city of Chicago is stepping up and helping to financially support the move, but I just don’t see it. Glad the folks there who lost their gigs because of the shenanigans of past management will get another chance though- so at least that was a good thing.

-- By the way NFRC put out a note about how great the marketing opportunity it is to sponsor their meetings. What’s next the local Dentist offering sponsorships for root canals? Both are about the same enjoyment levels. I cannot wait to see who jumps in and sponsors this because that means that company has money to burn which means they charge their customers too much if they can throw money at a bizarre gig like this.
-- I did hear from a few others that the IBS show was better than I thought. Still I can only go on what I saw and experienced. Plus they expected 90,000 people and they say only 60,000 attended. (which also seems high). End of the day that show was not a good one for anyone at this point.

-- Got some great e mails this week with links and pictures and jokes and such… here’s a few of the highlites… Thanks gang!

-- From Stu… a billboard that many people wish they could make happen and would gladly wield the apparatus to do the job!

From Tara, classically stupid headlines… some of these are just so amazing...

This is great since you know I pretty much despise all attorney's except a couple.... Guess he'll win somehow eh?

This is almost like the bad bailout stories you hear!

Yep... this would mean there is such thing as a 25-teen....

Now the regularly scheduled links!

The “Link Chick” is BACK! Fresh from the Obama inauguration and she was on fire this week- awesome stuff all around. Hopefully she can keep up as I hear rumors that she may become the new administration’s top diplomat to Cuba.

-- The game of “LIFE” with a new model that is more… shall we say “realistic”
-- Going green now hits the kid market with the Eco Friendly Dollhouse… oh its cute and I know my friend the Pundit will order one for her children (when that time comes)
-- An incredibly cool link on how much caffeine it would take to kill you…. For me it would take 416 Diet Dr Pepper’s…. which somedays I think I have come close to… try it out!

-- A goat was arrested for armed robbery. Seriously. And I think the same people who arrested the goat should sponsor the next NFRC meeting.
-- And a link from Josiah on the Chinese striking again this time with faulty drywall… CLICK HERE.

Video of the Week

Also from the “link chick” it’s a classic video of a husband using his wife to test out bullet proof glass. I believe this is chosen method of most bullet resistant folks…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Viva NOT Vegas

Do you want to be depressed? Then hop a flight to Las Vegas as quick as you can because I have never seen this place so down. I am in town for the International Builders Show and I think we all knew the show would be down, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be as awful as it turned out. Granted these are my impressions but I have been to this event many times and I have never seen it like this. Empty aisles, empty booths, and even exhibitors trying to pull you in… at this show stuff like that has never happened. Add on to it Vegas itself… the bubble has burst here.. in fact visitation here has dipped 10% and casino revenues are down 16%. Add in the stopping of major projects and plans to not open other projects on time and you have a serious and depressing mess. It used to be Vegas was your escape from reality… now it is way too real…


-- On the show just a few notes because I am actually writing my February column for USGlass on it. (Yes for those of you blog only folks, I write a column for the industries top magazine every other month. Not sure why they let me do that but they are charitable people).

-- The window booths were pretty empty- heck Osama Bin Laden could hide in a few of these and no one would find him since no one was going in some of these!

-- The oddest booth’s were the Marble lawn statue booth… offering 10% off on all statues! Along with the Wardrobe Automation booth. Man if the wife saw that, we’d have it I am sure, but not sure there’s a ton of call for it.

-- The Vinyl Institute was there also talking about how great of a product it is… I guess the fact it’s not really recyclable and it’s made from oil is still not a deal breaker eh?

-- Bank of America and Wells Fargo were there… your bailout money at work! BOA was doing computerized horse races for prizes while at Wells Fargo you could dress up like an old time cowboy and get your picture taken! I’d rather see these guys be more serious considering the mess they (and we) are in? Horse Races? Pictures?

-- Busiest booth… this is a stunner to me… the busiest booth in the entire show was none other than LOWE’S! Yes Lowe’s the chain big box hardware store. The booth was packed and crazy- and it was the only one that was… now help me here… do people really need to come to Vegas and come to this show to see what Lowe’s has? I mean isn’t there one on every corner? Baffling.

-- NFRC was back in the news this week… they are looking for sponsors for their meetings…. that’s as comical as it gets… next thing you know the IRS will ask for sponsors for audits.

-- Also NFRC had their little newsletter out where they talked about how many people approach them to rate products… so my question is… IF SO MANY PEOPLE WANT YOU… WHY DO YOU GO AFTER PEOPLE WHO DON’T? And the answer is these other industries don’t have the financial impact that the commercial industry could have… remember it’s all about the money.

-- But speaking of CMA… the newsletter spent a ton time propping it up because I think they know this thing is DOA. The economy is a mess and there is no way people are going to go for an un-needed rating system when it’s put together with no logic or even brain capacity. The average Joe will see it for what it is- a blatant cash grab… and the Titanic will sink….

-- I think TRACO and Arcadia should sponsor the NFRC meetings so everyone can know who helped push for this debacle if it indeed happens… and hopefully the public will “reward” them if you know what I mean.

-- By the way the state of California is out of money and cannot even give tax refunds. Hmmmm maybe they should start cutting at the California Energy Commission since a few of those folks have wasted serious money over the years….

-- OK enough NFRC… between that and depressed Vegas I may have to jump…

-- Here we go Steelers… Here we go…. Had to get that in there….

-- If you are a fan of Pro Wresting and you watch the Royal Rumble this weekend, I will be there with my son, aka Triple Z. Yes his first wrestling match and rumor has it one of the industries most influential will also be at this event… we’ll have to see if we can get photographic evidence!

To the LINKS!
Only one link this week… been off the internet and I think the “link chick” was working Obama’s inauguration (she I believe is a speechwriter for him) because I have not heard from her… so hopefully they’ll all be back next week…

-- A great idea from Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley on jump started the economy. I am no economist but it sure sounds good… I fully expect someone smart like Scott Surma to jump on this one...

Video of the WEEK

For all of my Steelers friends… the hit by Ryan Clark near the end of the AFC Championship… simply amazing and brutal too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's really.. really..COLD

Greetings from the frozen upper Midwest… not sure but I believe the Polar Ice Caps have reappeared but they are now located on a farm in suburban Minneapolis. Anyway as we freeze all is pretty quiet on the industry front. Next week is the International Builders Show and that should be an interesting gauge for what is going on and what people see happening next. The other item of interest came up this week for me while I was talking with the “Glass Pundit” Kris Vockler. She asked what I thought about the downturns effect on new technology. Sadly I think good products will be downgraded because of costs. We are already seeing projects that are continuing slashing their budgets and forcing the GC to use different materials in order to get costs down. Maneuvers like that are not healthy and hopefully will only be short term. It really does become the classic “cut your nose to spite your face” deal. The smart and savvy will know to not scrimp… let’s hope they win out.


-- Maybe it’s the weather but I was having severe writers block… and ever since I started this blog, I rarely ever had writers block. (The bi-monthly USGlass article is a different story) Anyway I mentioned this fact to my friend and blog reader W. Cash and he hopped on the soapbox and gave me a treasure trove of topics… and instead of me talking on it- this is what he wrote… tremendous, passionate stuff!

Let's talk about shows like 24 and others that scare the wits out of folks who can't tell fiction from reality. Let's talk about how the government could have given every tax payer in the United States $20,000 to put back into the economy instead they bail out businesses who steal the money and pay themselves and the government is clueless as to where the money went. Let's talk about how the U.S. was built on mom and pop type business to now to be run out of business because of big business. We can talk about how all across the country large corporations are laying off thousands while mom and pop business's are trying to show loyalty to there workers and finding ways to keep them employed. America needs to go back to their roots.
I think that article you had on your blog about the Russian Economist although a little far fetched actually has some extremely good points. The Myan Calender has our world ending on December 21, 2012 and nobody has taken that seriously. Now NASA is talking about a solar storm that could cause the world to lose power for up to 2 months but you here nothing about that. Why can't the news talk about something positive instead of negative. My opinion is the News Media has created more problems in this country. The 1st amendment right needs to be looked at seriously. Again we need to go back to our roots and foundation. That is a good topic for you.

-- WOW… here is the link on the NASA Solar Storm… they are calling it the “Space Katrina” Yikes.

-- No doubt where has it right is the greed from the corporations and the lenient attitude towards it. Why isn’t Bernie Madoff in jail? Why can Wall Street get the bail outs but have basically no restrictions on its use of cash? Check out this story on the bank that got money and won’t lend it!!

-- As for the media, I have always believed bad news sells papers and that’s why the focus. Anyway thank you my friend for taking a shot!

-- If you have watched the first 2 episodes of 24 then keep reading.. if not skip to the next paragraph. I love 24… it really is one of my faves… but this year I have one huge beef… the President’s conundrum is between saving millions of Americans and preserving our infrastructure or saving a small civil war torn foreign country. Umm maybe I am jaded but how in the world is this a decision? Cmon… seriously? Regardless I have a huge man crush on Jack Bauer.

-- Friendly reminder on BEC… one of the presentations will be given by Henry Taylor of Kawneer. It is about LEED and green and for my money, Henry is the best LEED person in the US (with Beth Hockett of Trainor following in 2nd). If you want insight on LEED, it’s worth the trip just for that. Sign up today, and they'll squeeze you in.. no problem!

-- And speaking of my friend Henry… the President’s husband on 24 this season is named “Henry Taylor” man the guy gets around eh?

From the LINKS!

Surely check the link above on the Solar Storm.

-- How is this for a Mom and Pop shop getting hammered by stupid big business. Yep a CafĂ© is told to stop playing their CD’s unless they pay up!
And what kills me on that one is that this owner would’ve kept buying CD’s but now has been run off.. affecting the economy in their own small way.

-- Great quick piece from TIME via the Link Chick on the fact that the “Green” car is actually dying… amazing huh!

-- A Florida girl sent 35,000 text messages… LAST MONTH! That’s like one a minute… wow..

Books of the Week

If you like overweight comics with horrible drug problems… check out “Too Fat to Fish” by Artie Lange (known now from being on the Howard Stern show) and The Farley Show which is about Chris Farley’s life. Both books are great reads… in fact I read the Lange book in no time at all.. just hard to put down. The Farley book really covered his life and how it all fell apart thanks to so many battles with drugs/alcohol etc. Anyway good reads!

Video of the week

My sister comes through again… a great video set to Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire” that takes you through 50 years of events. Someone actually took the time match the song to actual pictures! Very cool. Love the song.. love the video…

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It's HERE!

Well it’s finally here… 2009 is upon us and we’ll finally see exactly how good, bad or ugly the year will be. So far it seems like everyone is holding their own but the million dollar question is will it last? Most experts are predicting "no". Worse yet I’ve heard some predictions putting our industry off as much as 30% from last year. The first signs will be if and when people go out of business. So far only rumors of people’s demise are out there, no fact. When it starts, and I believe it will no later than mid year, will it just be a trickle or a full scale stream? As I have said before, strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.


-- The push for GlassWeek and BEC is on… and I have to say, if you are examining your budget and trying to decide if you’ll attend any events, then this one needs to be at the top of the list. No offense to any of the other shows or events, but quite simply no event has the drawing power, the education, and the networking opportunities that this one does. And in what could be a “down” market, a great source of help can come from your friends and network. BEC offers the best angle for that. If you need more info, CLICK HERE and I hope to see you there…

-- Plus a new Top 10 list by yours truly will debut at BEC… so how can you miss that! LOL

-- Congrats to Ajay Glass and the Stathopoulos family for the fantastic article on them in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. I have known these guys for a few years (and they also are loyal attendees of BEC by the way) and I am glad they are getting positive pub. Good people who deserve it. The article by the way is located here.

-- In a USGNN piece last week I was quoted about trying to stay positive and not letting the stuff that gets me down, affect me. Immediately I heard from several people that thought it meant I’d be softer on some of my favorite subjects like NFRC and communist China. I’m here to tell you, my edge will still be there, but my resolution is to try and not let it consume me. So no one is getting off the hook but hopefully I can keep my focus, stay positive and proceed. I mean who knows maybe the Titanic won’t sink…. Or maybe the stuff from communist China won’t be terrible… nah not working…

-- One thing I don’t get is the people who go to Times Square for New Years… I am not sure what the attraction is by being a sardine while you freeze your tail off… then bam its over… I guess I am no fun, but I just don’t see the payoff there… I get enough of being crammed on every flight I take and living in Michigan I think I am frozen 9 months out of the year…

Let’s go to the LINKS!

-- Great article on Solar vs. Polar… what happens with Solar panels in the winter…

-- This house could cause some debate.. its called a “Passive House” and it doesn’t need a furnace… even though it’s in Germany…. Everything is great about the concept until you see the max size of the house…

-- Great site given to me by the “Link Chick” and its name says it all… People Who Deserve It… (meaning a punch to the face!)

-- Time Magazine paints a very bleak picture of Las Vegas… economic disaster alert!

-- And why not… a Russian Professor predicts the end of the US in 2010… one of his theories is California will become its own little country… oooooooh can the NFRC move their permanently then?

VIDEO of the WEEK!

My friend Dan sent me an amazingly timely video… It talks about Energy and our need to work to find other sources.. Yep.. Timely.. from the awesome Schoolhouse Rock series… in the 1970’s!!! Go to the 2:20 mark on this one when they talk Solar… amazing… and like Dan noted to me.. it’s shows it was a cycle.. hopefully this time the cycle ends and we stay focused on the prize…