Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Holidays to all

No traditional post this week...

One item... please keep the folks in Colorado in your thoughts and pray for rain and cooling temps.  What's happening out there is beyond scary and sad.

Other than that- hope everyone reading this has a great holiday... whether it's my friends in Canada for Canada Day or the folks in the US for the 4th... Enjoy it!!

Hopefully the combo of friends, family, and fun can be had by all.

We'll be back on line with a new post end of next week!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What a miserable week

I am starting off with a non-industry topic this week because it really shook me up. It is the insanely depressing video of a 68-year-old bus monitor being verbally abused by the middle school aged kids on her bus.  The whole entire scene was hard to watch and stomach.  Quite frankly it scares me as a father and worries me that my children are headed into a world with these kids as their “peers.”  Meanwhile the video has gone viral and many people are stepping up to show appreciation to woman who took on this abuse.  But it also then brought out even more crazies as some folks starting sending death threats to anyone associated with the school.  So this thing continues to mushroom and I guess we know where these kids get it.
But back to the original sin here, the vulgar treatment of the bus monitor, whom by the way has been a picture of class and grace in the days following.  Those kids are the future and at 12+ years old they are way off the right path.  This wasn’t some “kids being kids” sort of approach in my mind.  This was off the charts.  The respect level is non-existent, and that is a core value that is gone.  This is lax parenting and too much of the negative ills in our society showing in full bloom.
These children are the same age as my kids, and I would be devastated and mortified if my kids would even take part in this.  I would hope my wife and I have taught and raised them better.  We can only hope that with this going all over the world right now that a lesson can be learned…


If the above wasn’t depressing enough, last week in the glass and glazing world surely was.

--  The latest Architectural Billings Index came out and it was horrible.  But worse than the numbers was the comment from the ABI:

"For the second year in a row, we're seeing declines in springtime design activity after a healthy first quarter," said Kermit Baker, the institute's chief economist. "This should be an alarm bell going off for the design and construction industry."
"The commercial/industrial sector is the only one recording gains in design activity at present," said Mr. Baker in a statement. "And even this sector has slowed significantly. Construction forecasters will have to reassess what conditions will look like moving forward.”
That quote is worrisome, especially the end.  I don’t think these construction forecasters have a clue really.  Sometimes I think they create these numbers from thin air to give me something to blog about.  Anyway we’ll see how this progresses.  The first milestones to really watch are next spring.  That is the stretch where the ABI was connected to when it ran positive for several months. 

--  What else was bad this week?  The other tracking measurement we use, the new Dodge Momentum Index also came in down as well… off 1.2 percent from April.  The latest construction material and construction employment reports both went down.  Not a good week. Oh and while we’re lamenting the week, it ends with a report that we are now at the lowest rate of home ownership in 15 years. 

--  And while we are at it, China warned that it was running out of its “rare” materials, with that announcement being scary for our glass and mirror makers, especially since I think that it’s a way for the Chinese government to revitalize its economy by limiting supply and thus raising prices.  (Amazing did I just write a sentence that said the Chinese government would promote higher prices?  What is happening to me? I have no issue at all with raising prices, I do take issues with artificial shortages) So while I seriously doubt they are running out, this “news” has the potential to disrupt our world while the posturing goes on.

--  And lets grab some salt for the wounds… We also had another glazier go bankrupt, and it won’t be the last unfortunately.  And speaking of bankruptcy, we just passed the year anniversary of Vitro America’s bankruptcy sale finalization.  There’s surely a lot to say on that one, but I’ll refrain other than to say it sure has been an interesting 12 months. 

Hopefully next week gets better….

--  Last this week… congrats to my good friend Manny and all of the Miami Heat fans…  (And for some who hate LeBron and the Heat this could be considered part of the “bad week” mentioned above!)


--  Adam Sandler’s new movie really tanked.  Is this the beginning of the end for him?  Of recent fare I liked Grown Ups and Just Go With It, but Jack and Jill was awful and t his new looked brutal.
--  This headline…. Man hits a pony, charged with DUI.  Wow.

--  This just can’t be good.  Pizza vending machines. No way.


A simply insane soccer match in Brazil.  This almost looks like a Saturday Night live sketch!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Survey Madness

Very interesting study released by PPG at the end of last week.  They commissioned a study of architects and it covered a wide range of subjects.  The headline piece was that the architects surveyed expect building integrated clean energy sources to increase.  However I think that is a folly somewhat because I think most architects WANT to do the right thing but in the end simply can’t because of costs, supply, sources etc.  If however this can happen, and architects are able to get these net zero style products in the specifications (and through the value engineering built to knock them out) we’ll surely be on a great path.  Long way to go though.  There was one other item from the study that truly stunned me too.  PPG actually finished 5th in name recognition.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in Pittsburgh or maybe its my respect for such wonderful PPG folks like Keith Pettigrew, Jan Rogan, Glenn Miner, and so on that I always thought they would be one or two- but in this survey they trail USG, Armstrong, Kawneer, and CertainTeed.  Kawneer I could see, the others since they are out my world were major surprises.  Nonetheless, an intriguing read.


--  Hope everyone had a great Fathers Day.  A favorite part of this industry is how many fathers and sons are in it together, so this holiday really means a ton in our world.

--  Heard through the grapevine that NEOCON, the big decorative show was solid, but not spectacular.  Guardian really made a heck of an impression with a big social media push that led to good crowds at their booth.  No doubt those guys have really committed to using the online world to help drive business/awareness.  Also from the show, I was sent pictures of the GGI booth and it looked impressive and otherwise was able to keep up on the rest of the goings on thanks to the excellent twitter feed of ICD’s Steve O’Hollaren (handle- SteveO_ICD).

--  Want to know a frustrating scammy sort of deal?  I was due an upgrade on my phone, so I went in and got a new one.  All was fine. Got the new phone and life was peachy.  But then my bill came and I saw this $30 charge for an “upgrade fee” – something no one had told me.  Evidently it’s a legit charge in their minds, but pretty dastardly and wrong if you ask me. 

--  Looked like some serious work got done, as always, at the recent IGMA meetings.  I love the focus on the NREL testing and thermal stress piece.  To me all of the technical work done there has some serious importance in our world and everyone who isn’t attending and involved should be happy that those who are there are looking out for our best interests.

--  Last this week, thanks to friend of the Blog and very happy Kings fan Joe Carlos of TriView Glass.  These are giant portraits printed on grass.  Not glass, but GRASS.  Crazy.


--  I actually like some of this group’s music (I have very wide ranging tastes) but this newspaper surely didn’t.

--  Comical, yet bizarre article on fairy tales that get updated via the movies.

--  Terrible tragedy here  but why are these kids playing in a cemetery? 


--  I loved the past “Bourne” movies and am curious to see how the new one, the first without Matt Damon in the lead, does.  Here’s the official trailer.  Looks pretty good.  Oh and by the way, want a raw and fun hockey movie?  Check out “Goon”… it won’t win any awards but was a campy romp.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

A good delay

The news that LEED version 2012 will be delayed for rework did not surprise me in the least.  I have been on the side of hammering LEED for a while now, and have not been alone in that opinion, and now it’s obvious that the folks behind this green rating system realized they needed to get some things in order.  Hopefully this next generation of LEED, to be named LEED v4 will be a better program for all.  From our industry perspective there’s still a ton of confusion about what variation of LEED we are actually on.  Every day I see requests come over that range from early versions to things that I don’t know even exist, so when that continually happens, you know there’s some serious disconnects.  And that does not include the holes in LEED as it is.  Anyway, its good things are being addressed; let’s hope this additional time brings improvements.  

By the way, the best chance you have to get into a serious understanding of LEED 2012 (v4) is at the Glazing Executive Forum with the excellent Paul Nutcher presenting.  Seriously a must attend. 


--  Got my issue of Glass Magazine this week with the iconic Top 50 Glaziers as the feature.  Great reading as always.  Also kudos to the designers there too, as the layout was very clean, classy and interesting.  Really impressive. 

--  Insanely bizarre article about Solar Panels that are being built to work underwater.  My first thought was…  it sure would be nice to perfect the ones that are for buildings first… my second thought after reading this article was the pure amazement that 2500 people work at the Naval Research lab.  Doesn’t that seem a bit high?  2500 people?

--  Ever see the commercial where the lady is sitting in tub watching a movie on her iPad?  Am I nuts here but there’s no way I’d take an expensive electronic product anywhere near a tub.  Do any of you do that?

--  Very sad that “I’ll Have Another” was scratched from the Belmont Stakes.  Really wanted to see him run for the Triple Crown.  I am starting to think I may never see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime.

--  A tremendous honor for 3 PPG scientists for their developments on glass advancements.  People pick on our industry all the time but the technical developments are happening almost daily, and this recognition proves it.

--  The annual Neocon trade show is this week in Chicago.  While I will not be there I will have my contacts in attendance and giving me a flavor.  This show has the extreme decorative flavor that has become a growing segment in our world.  I’ll give my recap via my contacts next week.

--  Last this week; the “Road to GlassBuild” blog that gets linked to on e weekly is now going to weekly and more frequent updates.  Some great video spotlights, Q&A’s and news about the show.  You can bookmark the site by going there now.


--  Really interesting article on the use of “Search and Replace” when it comes to publishing.

--  From the Miss USA pageant last week… is Pretty Woman a role model?

--  Dare you to find a more bizarre story. 


The whole “Call Me Maybe” song video parody thing has reached fever pitch.  Everyone has done one, but I think it all started with this really funny piece by the guys on Harvard baseball team.  12.2 Million people have viewed this version… amazing!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Tough Loss

Very sad and frustrating news over the weekend when it broke that solar player Konarka was filing for chapter 7.  Konarka as some of you may remember was poised to become a major player in our industry before the adventurous circumstances of 2009 took place.  Yes I am extremely biased but I really did see a strong potential for the Konarka product in specific parts of the building envelope.  And I still do.  They had some of the right pieces but just could not get over the hump.  I would bet though you have not hard the last of them or the product they developed.  There is simply too much potential.  As Guardian proved at the AIA show, there’s still an appetite for solar material in our world and work continues all over the place to get more and more products up to speed.  So while this is tough news for the movement, I will stay positive.  By the way I think it is absolutely laughable that people compare what happened at Konarka to what happened at failed solar manufacturer Solyndra.  Not even close folks.  But because there are some minor similarities people will run with it… sadly that’s the world we live in these days.


--  The start of hurricane season is here and the predictions are for at least 1 to 3 “major storms” to hit.  With how insane this year has been weather wise (no snow, but yet Friday night in Michigan it was 46 degrees at my house) anything is possible.  So those of you in hurricane alley, hold on….

--  And this is the year where will look back on the Hurricane that changed the glass and glazing industry.  Hurricane Andrew hit 20 years ago this August.  That incredibly devastating hurricane helped push and legitimatize the major hurricane codes that many follow today.  And with those codes came a new product segment, one that still does quite well still, though more saturated than ever unfortunately.  In any case, let’s hope that we don’t have anything like Andrew in 2012.

--  Very negative moment this week.  The depressing jobs report and the entire rancor surrounding it did shake me up.  I am have been hanging on the optimistic side, but when the construction segment is absolutely miserable in these reports, it can’t be anything but depressing.  28,000 people lost their job in the construction sector last month.  Horrible. 

--  And while we’re all down, how about the story that came out this week that health care costs will probably rise 7.5% in 2013.  Seriously?  Here’s the miserable evidence.

--  Very happy to see the excellent Glass Magazine “Great Glazing” series give some love to the United Hospital in West Virginia.  I know a lot of the people who supplied on that project and I’m thrilled they got some pub.  Here it is in case you missed it.

--  Really cool list here, 30 “famous” people with Law Degrees you may be surprised by…  none of them by the way are as great as the legendary barrister Mr. Kim Mann or my pal of BEC fame Rick Kalson. Numbers 17-19 were surprises to me for sure.

--  Last this week, a happy birthday to my sister, also known as the Queen of Nordstrom.  She’s now been out of the glass industry for a couple of years and still thriving.  I think between her and Scott Surma they are the only two folks I know who have escaped this world and stayed away…


--  Website collects great passive-aggressive notes. Interesting.

--  This will be on a future episode of Grey’s Anatomy I am sure.  By the way, if you watch that show, how hokey was that cliffhanger to end the last season?

--  A crazy graduation in Denmark with a sex tape… yep.  What a wild prank.


An absolutely awesome one this week… 10 million views on Youtube in a very short time.  It is a wedding proposal like no other, very elaborate and impressive!  I’m a fan of production usually and this one brings it! Congrats to the happy couple!