Saturday, October 27, 2012

Smackdown Week

All in one week the Department of Energy and the USGBC both get taken to task.  It was like a blogging Hanukah for me, with each day bringing a different gift of much needed criticism.  See I for one have been frustrated that these groups get a free pass so much of the time, mostly because they possess massive power.  Finally they are being looked at and quite frankly it’s about time.

The DOE was first hammered in this report of wasteful travel practices.  Then a newspaper took the DOEto task over claims from security agents about fraud, waste, and abuse.  And at the end of the week, even the White House tossed the DOE under the bus heaping the blame for the loan to out of business Abound Solar on them. All of the reports were pretty interesting reads, and hopefully it leads to more reporting over some of the other issues within the very stale organization.  My hope is no matter who wins on November 6th; they take a hard and fresh look at the body.  It surely needs it at EVERY LEVEL.

Meanwhile the USA Today ran two days of stories about the United States Green Building Council and the whole green building world.  To me it was a fascinating takedown of a group that was pretty much bulletproof.  Whenever they got into any trouble, there was always some trade media, to carry their water for them.  Trade media can usually trump bloggers like me.  Now that one of the biggest newspapers in North America has taken a shot it will be interesting to see who comes to the rescue and how effective they are.  The basis of the articles included how business interests became a powerful force at the USGBC, and how “easy” it is to be green, including the all-famous “bike rack” piece.  I have been consistent saying that green building ratings are needed but they have to be valuable and real.  It’s an important part of our industry and future, and needs to be better.  Anyway it’s nice to see others agree.  The whole series can be found HERE.


--  The Architectural Billings Index had a good month, best in two years actually.  Many industry and economic observers are expecting a solid 2013, and if the ABI holds true everyone with the exception of the west should have a solid 1st Quarter.  Plus Dodge reported they think commercial construction will be up 12% despite some holes in the sector thanks to stingy lending from the banks.  I still remain positive about the future, with or without the ABI.

--  It was tough missing glasstec last week, but thanks to excellent tweets from Katy Devlin of Glass Magazine, pictures from Steve O’Hollaren of ICD, and tweets from Guardian, I was able to follow along.  Will be curious to catch up with those folks who attended the show to see what they thought about it.

--  One more week until the election and I just don’t know how folks in the swing states can deal with the insane amount of commercials.  I was in one particular state this past week and watched the commercials alternate from one side to another… over and over. 

--  Last this week... Hurricane Sandy, at the time of this posting was chugging up the coast- hopefully its bark is worse than its bite… stay safe everyone!


--  I would be devastated if my Kindle account was wiped clean like this person…

--  This whole story just boggles the mind.  I can’t even fathom…

--  24 straight years with at least one brother on a football team… amazing.


Ok this is much longer than anything I normally embed… but this is Journey in a classic concert film that has narration from the legendary John Facenda of NFL Films.  So cool.  So if you like Journey, you will like this video…

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Show Momentum

The week ahead features the largest glass show in the world with the opening of glasstec in Germany.  This is the show that happens every other year and it will be interesting to see if the show continues the very positive trade show trend that has been in play throughout 2012.  What we have seen in last several months is that the hunger for information and networking that the trade show scene brings is strong, so it leads me to believe we do have some encouraging steps taking place in our world. 


--  After several weeks of very newsworthy items, this was a slow one… so this post will be shorter than normal. 

--  Question for the readers, a glazing contractor I know has a ton of really old, hard to find, and interesting glass on their floor.  Everything from old obscures and decorative to products like “Greylite 56” and “Houze Lo-Tran” – So is there anyone out there for this group to connect with to see if any of this glass could find a good home?  It’s all in very good shape.  Thank you in advance for any insight.

--  Some moves in our world this past week with a pretty big deal this week with PPG buying Spraylat and Grey Mountain’s Consolidated Glass Holdings picking up the assets of North American Specialty Glass.  Overall, still a very active world for deals and my guess is you may see a bunch in the 1st quarter of 2013 because there are lots of buyers and many sellers tired of fighting the battles…

--  Last this week, Wednesday starts the World Series… can’t wait for the games to come to Detroit and see the players bundled up to play in 30 degree weather.  Really time to either start the season earlier or cut it down to 154 games…


--  Hey it’s late October, TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!  Yeesh the Christmas “creep” continues.

--  I have no words for this.. none.  Wow.

--  A very cool post here on the slang from the 1920’s…


Sorry folks… none this week, Youtube is just giving me these nice black boxes with no video options…

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Big Day Ahead

It is my opinion that what happens on November 6th with the Presidential election will be a life changing event.  Others are watching it too as last week one of the monthly projection reports specifically focused on it as a reason for their results.  The Dodge Momentum Index slipped in August and has been struggling recently and the analysts basically blamed it on the election and uncertainty stemming from it.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the results that day, no matter what they are, will have a major effect on our industry and how we go forward.  Will the closure that comes from the election (or should come) make a difference?  I am hearing both.  From some sides, it’s a resounding yet, but others believe that the gridlock and malaise will continue no matter what. 


--  Last week Jenni Chase on the Glassblog on Glass Magazine had one of the best posts of ALL TIME… her piece on being a glass geek was excellent and if you missed it, please check it here.  My geek story is from when the new Pittsburgh Airport opened 1992, it featured TONS of glass.  It was the first airport to feature a mall in it and since it was pre 9-11, you could meet people at the gates, so you could shop while you wait.  Anyway, my brother and I went out there right after it opened, just to look at the glass- and see all the logos.  We were on our knees looking at logos on the glass by the automated walkways, and craning our necks to see logos up high on an all glass storefront.  Needless to say we looked like we were either idiots or casing the joint.  Obviously that could NEVER happen in our current world…   Anyway, Jenni’s piece and the great comments that came from it were excellent reading!

--  Yet another reason I struggle with the Department of Energy.  Last week the Pittsburgh Tribune Review ran a story about athletes getting special breaks from the government and the good ole DOE was at it again.  From the story:

Agassi's Las Vegas nonprofit took $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to help erect the "Alternative Energy School of the Future." According to the agency, the money was earmarked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, solely for the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education -- no other schools need apply.

Wow.  Now politics aside… WHY is the DOE giving 1.5 million to anyone for something like this?  And not to mention a tennis player’s charity is the right place for that amount of money?  Really?  The rest of the story can be found here and it’s infuriating.

--  For those of you who have been in the industry a while, the name Jim Bradford will be familiar.  He is the former President of both AFG (before they were known as AGC) and the old United Glass Corp.  Bradford left the industry way back at the start of last decade and has been successful in his ventures.  This past week however he made news when he was embroiled in a mini controversy at Cracker Barrel where he is a board member.  Here’s the Cracker Barrel side and the very intense response from their largest shareholder who is not happy.

--  Last this week… the poor Washington Nationals… man who would think me picking them for the World Series would jinx them in the 9th inning of game 5.  Now it is obvious there is no more fortunate/clutch team in the world than St Louis.  Wow.  And as for the Yankees, losing Derek Jeter surely isn’t a good thing.  Ouch. 


--  For the branding geeks like me…. Wendy’s is getting a newlook and logo.

--  And yet another frightening virus like program for you to be aware of.  This one is wild.

--  And only in Detroit is where you can have a squatter living legally with the real homeowner.


The Ohio University Marching 110 is the “best band in the land” but this effort from another college in Ohio… is pretty good…

Sunday, October 07, 2012

A Great Resource

This past week the AIA put out a tremendous document (86 pages!) on integrating energy modeling in the design process.  The reason this is so exciting is because it’s a very thorough examination of everything that the designer needs to know to push the envelope energy wise. Quite frankly, that NEEDS to happen.   Plus the benefit for us as an industry is higher end, value added products will have a better chance to get through the specification process AND through the bidding adventures without getting value engineered out.   And with that the designer will now have (if they follow the criteria) some weight behind them with facts & figures pulled on the buildings energy performance.  And yes I know this sort of design process has been happening for years, but this document gives it a chance to be main stream and somewhat standardized.  Kudos to the AIA for an excellent job.  If you want a copy (and you should) it can be found here.


--  A Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in Canada… can’t believe its already here… blink your eyes and the US version will be here in a second.

--  Am I the only one bummed out to know that every other industry can cut corners left and right and have no blowback?  I have written about bags of dog food that mysteriously get smaller (but for same price) and now I experienced it with a kitchen faucet.  After 11 years, our faucet needed replaced- we went to get the same model, and after we installed it we noticed it was smaller, thinner, and just shoddy overall.  Same model, and surely wasn’t cheaper.   

--  Gotta give credit to Jeff Razwick and the gang at TGP.  They have been effectively using social media all year, and this past week Jeff used their blog in probably the best way possible.  He wrote an informative, magazine like piece on code trade offs.  Good, healthy content.  Well done.

--  Congrats to Viracon and all the folks back to work in Stateboro, GA.  A lot of people thought when Viracon suspended operations there to do upgrades that the plant would never re-open.  Great to see it has!

--  The Canada Border Service Agency ended its look into alleged Chinese dumping of unitized curtain wall after not finding enough evidence to go forward.  I have to admit I am stunned.  I don’t know enough of the ins and outs of the investigation, but this surely was an interesting turn.

--  March 31st, 2012- I picked the Yankees to beat the Nationals in the World Series, right here on this blog.  Now that is stunning that I am even that close to a pick being right!!  Now that the playoffs are here, I do like that match up to happen, but will say beware the Tigers and their pitching, and also maybe this is the year “Moneyball” wins with the upstart A’s. 

--  Last this week we had freeze warnings in Michigan and I believe snow fell in the west… winter is knocking on the door.  Dang.


--  Teachers and students embroiled in a sex scandal that turned even wilder with a cover up.  Isn’t this some sort of TV show?  Yeesh.

--  A story about a treadmill order gone very wrong… though I still laugh about calls that come in at 8AM as “early” as in my college years that was really early, but now?  8AM is like mid-day!

--  Bad News/Good News sort of story… home gets broken in to, stuff gets stolen… cops though track the material via an APP and find the crooks… and they are stuck in the mud..  throw the book at em!!!


I am not sure what this whole “Gangham Style” dance craze is, but was sent this video of a baby that only eats when it hears the music.