Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tough Day

The news out about Zeledyne exiting the commercial business surely was depressing. It’s another sign of how rough things are out there that’s for sure. The toughest thing for me is the folks that have been with Zeledyne’s previous incarnates (Ford Glass, Visteon, ACH) have handled so much thrown at them with pure style and class don't get to see this though. The move to Zeledyne was to me supposed to be the pinnacle. No longer a semi forgotten business unit as a part of a gigantic group, this company was ready to thrive, but unfortunately that black cloud of the economy beat them to it. Those folks, led by Joe Staffileno will all end up somewhere good I’m sure. Just too much talent to go away from our industry. In any case thoughts go out to everyone there affected by this.


-- Now the stark reality of it (and we don’t need an analyst to opine on this incoherently for 10 paragraphs) is that a price increase is surely coming from the primary guys. They weren’t making money (domestically) before, and now with one less competitor it’s only realistic to see prices rise.

-- Meanwhile the industry continues to battle on the ASHRAE front. Despite an incredible and unprecedented united showing, our side still fell short at the recent hearings. There’s detailed info on line on what happened but the positive takeaways are that the industry is united and fighting for something good and one day that will pay dividends. It may not save this issue but it will hopefully save us from more punitive attacks down the line.

-- Funny how many e mails I am getting from Saints fans begging me to pick the Colts in the Super Bowl… (they know I am the “Mush”) well whether it’s good or bad news for you, I love the Colts in the big game… Peyton Manning is just too good… Colts will win big.

-- By the way my heart goes out to my Minnesota friends. It really sucks...but hopefully the nucleaus will bring them to the big game next year. At least you won't be like my favorite baseball team- the Pirates and be out of it for 17 years and counting- I am sure of that.

-- The effort by our world to help in Haiti is incredible. But does it not make you wonder how the massive amounts of money will be spent? I mean we are talking millions upon millions are being raised… I just hope that it all goes to the good of trying to take care of and rebuild that country. I guess I watch too many CNBC documentaries about people getting ripped off that makes me worry that the money won’t get used as the donators intended.

-- A couple more Zeledyne thoughts… they just recently brought back the living legend Lowell Rager. And now he’ll be on the sidelines again… what a tremendously good man… Zeledyne should’ve dusted off the best name of a glass product ever… “Jade Ice”… that coulda been a game changer…

-- Great letters to the editor after the NYT story on domestic glass making…. Was it me or did the original article seem to just end way to early… you know like there was a lot more to discuss?

-- Last, I am baffled by the fascination by the media with Karen Davidson’s decisions to sell parts of her empire. You know it’s like everyone wants to find some sort of smoking gun. I just don’t get it, corporations and people of her stature buy and sell all the time, with less coverage. I also wonder if her husband was still alive, would be people be questioning his intentions? Just no clue why people are jumping on this one at all as it seems completely in the norm without a red flag anywhere in sight.

Off to the Links…

Link Chick is still plugging away, bringing the best of the internet to the thousands of you who click this page weekly…

-- Great story here in the New York Times about how people are still using very simple passwords on line… check it out… and if your password is 12345, time to change it.

-- Evidently scientists had an idea in 2008 that an Earthquake would hit Haiti… but even with that knowledge how do you prepare for it?

-- According to this study, an average NFL game only brings about 11 minutes of real “action”… That is amazing to me… I guess that’s why the remote and the Sunday Ticket is such a must for the true football fan…

Video of the Week:

Cops in Indy at the Colts-Jets game act to me very hastily in arresting a Jet fan… the language is not safe for work as the officer comes out of his car hurling the “F” word and bam handcuffs and eventually tasers come out. A little extreme if you ask me…

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Real News

The big story this week was underplayed pretty big in my opinion. The back and forth between the Fox Business network and the folks at Serious Materials should’ve garnered big coverage. You had major accusations in flight and volleys being returned. The whole story had a very soap opera like appeal along with the classic “he said/she said” portion. Basically Fox said that Serious is involved in cronyism with close governmental connections, while Serious shoots back with a rebuttal steeped in dates and other evidence that supports their case. The entire scenario was very interesting and basically was due to happen because Serious has been so prominently featured nationally and politically that it was a matter of time before folks took shots. Unless something comes back around it looks like the whole story is dying off, and we’ll never know whose story is more real. But end of day this was fascinating stuff no doubt.


-- Shame that we couldn’t get a consultant to opine on this and we could write a long piece that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Dang.

-- Very weird for me to NOT be at the International Builders show… I usually go and unfortunately this year I could not. It’s usually a great bellwether for the year ahead based on the mood of the floor. Supposedly this year’s show is smaller but optimism is high. And that is what most people feel for the residential side- a comeback of such in 2010. The big things will continue to be the banks and their lending strategy but also the many governmental programs that will push money into the system for things like weatherization improvements and so on.

-- And now some analysts are saying improvements on the commercial side (I hate when they call it “non-residential” it’s so demeaning to those of us in the industry. Do they call professionals “non-amateurs”)The improvements are due late 2010… again we will see… it is a mixed bag really some are saying nothing good til 2011. End of the day no one really knows for sure…

-- When I picked the Chargers/Cowboys Superbowl, I heard from my friends who are Viking and Saint fans to ask me why… I told them the best thing for them is for me NOT to pick their teams…. And it turned out that way… So now I have to choose between the two… ouch… it’s a tough call but I’m going with Vikes… something about the Brett Favre karma has me leaning that way… meanwhile on the otherside the Colts will win big over the Jets… Peyton Manning is way too cool, composed and in charge to let the Jets rattle him.

-- California just enacted a “Green” Building code. It’s for every new building that goes up after 1/1/11. But what about the older structures? Like noted last week, and I stand in agreement with so many out there that the priority should be in fixing the structures already up.

-- Congrats to Rob Struble and his group at PPG for their latest honor as their new blue tinted glass was named as a product of the year in 2009. Personally I think one of the reasons it won was the brilliant marketing campaign that had the glass samples sent out in CD cases playing off the cool “blues” musical theme. Well done and congrats to all involved there.

-- Last, not sure what my fellow 24 lovers think, but I for one am disappointed in the show this year. I know last year I had some issues but compared to the start this year, it’s no contest. Too predictable for me and just not enough to care about yet… 20 more hours Jack… c’mon brother I need that jump from reality in my life.

Off to the links…

The “Link Chick” back in the saddle this week with some good ones…

-- A big time investor sees the bubble about to burst… in CHINA!

-- This would be the definition of “Cold Case”… how about the Chicago Police investigating a murder from 1939…

-- Upsetting story here… H&M and Wal Mart are trashing unsold goods… this is crazy given the poverty in our world.

Video of the Week

College basketball and March Madness will be here before you know it… and if this shot was made in March we’d see it a million times… but since it happened now… well this maybe your only shot… game winner courtesy of Chandler Parsons…

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Go Retro

Had an interesting conversation with a fellow industry member this week. We talked about the fact that our industry and world would be better served if we could get the codes to focus on the huge retrofit market instead of trying to limit and hightail us on new projects. Basically upgrading the millions of existing structures with old technology… the irony here is that we live in such a disposable society anymore. If your microwave breaks, you toss and buy a new one. But if you are in a 25 year old building that has drafts that could chill a room, you put on a sweater. (or break out the Snugglie!) The point is that Washington and the code folks are missing the ball yet again and the focus should be on improvements to existing structures. Heck with the amount of extra inventory building wise out there, that could be all the business that’s left!


-- I have to come clean… those 4 incredible years as BEC Chair… where the conference grew and grew and grew? Well the fact is that I did not do it the right way… I was on steroids… yep it’s true… I’ll be doing exclusive interviews all week…. (Sorry had to mock Mark McGwire there)

-- Speaking of BEC, on my swing through the great state of Texas last week I talked to many folks about the event and hopefully they will give it a shot. I heard the statement “I hear it’s great, just never could pull it off” a few times. Well if you are on the fence, hop on off… it’s worth it.

-- Rest in Peace Joe Kellman.

-- Speaking of the truly legendary Mr. Kellman, it brings me back to the idea that we really need to fire up the Glass Hall of Fame again. I don’t think you need a big ole banquet but I think a virtual honoring would at least be good- maybe a glowing profile in a magazine too. The point is there are many folks still out there that deserve the honor and should be recognized for their incredible efforts in this industry.

-- Snow in Orlando and freezing temps in Florida for the last 10 days plus…. Pretty crazy huh? Get ready for orange juice that you may have to take a mortgage out on… that is if the banks even do mortgages anymore.

-- Funny after a big time hyping all over (me included) BIM had disappeared for a while off the front pages of the news… now in the last week or so it came back with some stories… wonder if this wave will be the one that sticks and moves that technology forward or will we watch it drop below the surface once again.

-- Creative business card? Last week saw an architectural firm and their business cards had their pictures on the back. Finally a great way to keep the face with the name. Really nice when you’re talking to 7 or 8 people and trying to remember afterwards who said what. And with that may be the first compliment I’ve given an architect in a while… wow turning over a new leaf! (Seriously the folks I saw last week were amazing, they could heal my frustration with their entire sector!)

Off to the Links!

Some link chick and some from me… now since she’s linking “for two” I have to be patient…

-- Scary yet interesting article on the “Disposable Worker” trend that’s hitting our country right now. Yeesh.

-- Riding the baggage belt at the airport looks like fun… and this toddler did it!

-- I have jury duty coming up… wonder if they’ll be a cat on the panel with me… like this feline called to duty in Boston.

Book of the Week:

Thanks to my Mom and Sister (mom’s idea, sister pulled the trigger) I got a Kindle E reader for the holidays. It’s awesome and weird at the same time reading a book on a tablet like machine. But its been great. First book I read was very good too… it’s the inside story of the world of Off Shore betting parlors called “Bets, Drugs and Rock n Roll” by Steve Budin. The language is crass in parts but the book is very interesting especially if you’ve laid down a bet with a bookie or on line before. Amazing how gigantic that business is too!

Video of the Week:

IT’S BACK!! Yes this weekend hour number 8 of 24… time to rejoice as Jack Bauer will be back in our lives again!!! Here’s the preview of the show… I CAN NOT WAIT….

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A ton of good people about

Happy New Year… In the most recent issue of USGlass I gave out awards for some of the good things we have going on in our industry and also recognized some very good people who deserved some props. And after doing it I realized a few things… the biggest being I should’ve named the top 30 or 40 people who deserve some limelight… not just 10. The moral for me is there are some seriously good people in our world. Folks with ethics and morals, class and style, that are professional to the core. Too many times we miss all of that in the daily pitter patter of our industry and I hope to keep bringing to light the names of people who fit that description. So for those of you, who I forgot, be prepared… I’m coming after ya…


-- Obviously I saw the International Aluminum announcement and as I noted a few weeks back, unfortunately more of this stuff was due to come and I hope that the folks there can do what needs to be done to work through it all. My heart and support goes out to them.

-- WEBCAST ALERT… GANA is doing another VERY helpful webcast scheduled for January 28th at 12PM EST. This one will be on the new rules from the Consumer Products Safety Commision (CPSC). While you may not recognize the name, it is a very important update on how the labeling and certification will go for glazing in “hazardous” locations. More info can be found HERE, so check it out. The other bonus that none other than the legend Kim Mann will do the presenting, that alone is worth it. Seriously take a sec, click the link and check it out.

-- Speaking of Kim Mann, I almost needed a lawyer of his high grade this week… See in the last 10 months, I went on an epic stress eating binge… some people drink.. I eat… anyway I have gained a ton of weight… then over the holidays I grew a beard at the urging of my daughter… so needless to say I look like a jewish and balding version of Grizzly Adams… So I go to the airport to fly to the great state of Texas and when I give my license to the TSA, he looks me up and down and says “This is not you”… Now I should’ve been thinking since security was going to be tougher but I wasn’t… so I stammered that I just grew the beard and I am much bigger than I appear in the license… he looked again and let me pass… then he cracked “That picture must’ve been when you were at your fighting weight!”…. yep… gotta by a razor and start Isagenix… yee ha…

-- Football playoffs… early Superbowl choice… Chargers vs Cowboys….

-- Saw that good ole Gary Curtis is back on the board of the NFRC…. He replaces Roland Temple who retired… which is depressing. Gary has never been a fan of our industry and was one of the ringleaders trying to jam the process down our throats… he also was the one who gave the various excuses in the past… (most famous one- “it’s in the codes!” which it wasn’t this was after we proved it WASN’T a congressional mandate either) so its old home week at NFRC and the gains by hiring a guy like John Lewis surely just got minimized there. The Titanic is now back on course… icebergs straight ahead!

-- I got to see a LEED job that I must’ve filled out a mountain of paperwork for today… and the job was smaller than a broom closet…. It killed me… I killed a forest of trees and probably a ton of computer energy filling out forms and writing letters for a building that Michael Landon could’ve built himself on Little House on the Prairie… Brutal.

-- Can I be snide and say I want to know where my global warming is right now?

-- Last, it was a tough start to the new year for me and my family as we lost our oldest dog, “Rascal”… Rascal was a beagle-terrier mix who suffered from severe seizures every 4-6 weeks or so. He was a tremendously good dog who just had the awful misfortune of the seizures and despite tons of different medicines and protocols (wish I had pet health insurance… wonder if congress can pass that one… every pet should have it!!) he lost his fight this past Saturday. By the way the doctors assured me he felt no pain during the seizures.. and I hope that was the case. Anyway rest in peace little buddy…

Off to the LINKS…

Well folks she’s baaaaaack… yes the all knowing and all famous Link Chick re-appeared after taking December off to go to Spa Treatments and other fun stuff… or maybe she got pregnant and just didn’t want to tell me…so she avoided me…. who knows… Anyway good stuff as always…

-- A Dog is a great pet (I still have 2 at home…) so is a cat or fish… but this guy had a tarantula… and can you believe the spider hurt him? Yep… people… odd…

-- Link Chick wrote the headline for this one: “Don’t people remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker?”… guess not after preacher Rick Warren brings in 2.4 MILLION in donations…

-- Loved this story... the most overused and now “banned” words in our society… you know like “unfriended” and “Stimulus”….

Video of the Week:

Brian Pitman of GANA sent me this one… it’s the opening of the new Burj Dubai and the fireworks display is insane… I think they took every firework ever lit in the US on July 4th and used it here… never seen anything like it… Thanks for the link Brian!