Jan 14

Two Quick Things

OK … I need to cover a couple of topics that we have recently talked about, and I want to do so in an expeditious manner. A good blog … in my opinion, anyway… should be a quick, somewhat light read that is interesting, entertaining, and sometimes thought provoking. It is nice to think that, sometimes, a blog comment tempts the reader to investigate on his/her own if more information or background is needed on a given subject, but I don’t think a blog should come across as a lecture, analysis, or detailed report on any given subject. There are so many blogs out there, and some of them are just way too long, boring and not interesting. Wait, I’m sorry … this is getting long and boring. Not really sure why I needed to express that, but apparently I thought I did. Oh well, let’s get back on target.

Two things I want to bring up very quickly, which tag on to comments previously made in this space on Wednesdays past. The first … SOLAR POWER. Specifically, I met with an architect this past Saturday that I have known and worked with for more than 25 years.—a truly good friend. He mostly does small commercial and mid-size multi-residential buildings. He told me that for the last couple of years, every project he has worked on has incorporated solar power in one way or another. He also told me that he intends to continue adding solar usage in everything he touches. I asked him if there were projects that didn’t really (from a cost-benefit standpoint) call for solar. His comment … “I don’t care if it doesn’t pay for itself, we need to get going down this path now and not later.” I couldn’t help but wonder how many others feel this way. Solar is here, and it is only going to grow … and I think that’s a good thing, too.

Second thing, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, U.S Steel is shutting down plants in Ohio and Texas as a direct response to declining oil prices. 756 people will be laid off as a consequence at just these two facilities alone. As recently as this past December, these facilities had been hiring and now abruptly are closing down as orders for steel products used in the drilling and processing of oil have (in some regions) stalled dramatically. More industry lay-offs are predicted as exploration comes to a halt and cheap oil is abundant. Lastly … a personal opinion here … how crazy are we not to be building the keystone pipeline at a time when materials are reasonably priced, labor is available, people need jobs, and the securing of our (energy) future would be so meaningful?

It’s Back

… winter, that is. We’ve got a thick snow cover on the ground, and nightly low temperature readings are single digit. My snow blower and I are spending way too much time together, which is not a good thing. Anybody in Florida hiring???

Where is “global warming” when you need it?

Where is “global warming” when you need it?

Heading to Germany

I am going to my first “BAU” in Munich next week, and I am pretty excited about it. This industry-related event is supposed to be like none other, and I have already made arrangements to meet up with a few of my Swedish and German friends while I am there. I had my doubts (about being able to attend) because of health concerns, but I got a full release yesterday from my doctor, and I’m not sure which made me happier … now being able to get to BAU or getting that full medical release. OK, I know which one made me happier, but I am still really looking forward to BAU. I’ll get a report out on the event and include some pictures, as well. This should be good … real good!!!

The Sports Thing

I was pretty happy about the Ohio State “smack down” of Oregon (42-20) two nights ago in what will now be known as the annual National College Football Championship (playoff). It’s not that I have anything against Oregon, but Ohio State overcame so many problems and work through so many setbacks that it was good to see the underdog come out on top. Way to go, Buckeyes! And what is a buckeye anyway? And, for that matter, what’s a hosier, or a … enough … sorry.

Hey Steve Lewis of TGP, who won the first ever USGlass NFL football pick’em contest, and who, as the winner, will now get a couple of tickets to the opening NFL game of his choice this fall as the winner… have you picked a game yet??? And remember, I am available if you need someone to carry your bags!

An Opportunity For You – One More Time

THIS IS BIG! Remarkably, I have been offered an opportunity to purchase a large number of tickets to the Hockey City Classic being held in Chicago at Soldier Field on February 7. The event will feature a game between Michigan State and the University of Michigan, as well as a second game between Western Michigan and Miami. Best part, you can get tickets (for both games at famous Chicago’s Soldier Field) for only $45/each. E-mail me (lhill@glass.com) or call me to get yours while they last. The proceeds will go toward the support of high school hockey programming. Don’t wait too long on this. They will go fast.

The Quotable Thing

This week’s quote is primarily directed at all you younger entrepreneurs out there, although it certainly applies to everyone. It is credited to William Feather, who I know nothing about. Here it is …

“Improvement in one’s economic position is helped more by cool persistence than by hot enthusiasm.”

Have A Wonderful Week Everyone!

Jan 07

Coasting Time Is Over!

As my father Lyle Alvin said to me on many an occasion, “You can only coast when you are going downhill.” Now you and I both know that this is not entirely true. We realize that there are times when simple momentum will allow us to coast – for a while, anyway – but you get the point, I hope. Yes, there are some people who, for any number of reasons, do seem to coast through life without much effort, but for the 99 percent of us who were not born wealthy or won the lottery, we have to expend some amount of effort to support ourselves. And so it is to you that I say … “The holidays are over and it is now time to get back to work.”

I know many of you don’t want to, but we have no choice. Well actually you do, but the consequences of certain choices may not be a good thing for you, if you know what I mean. So let’s go – let’s get back to work and make something of this New Year we’ve been given. Some of you are reporting large backlogs of work, and some are even expressing concerns about finding enough manpower to do the work you have, so I say to one and all … “Coasting time is over – You need to get going.” And I know you can do it!

Gas Prices – Part Two

In my last blog (just before Christmas), I mentioned that the “cheap gas” thing might not be a good thing for us in the long run. Prices here in the western burbs of Chicago are now below $2 a gallon in a few places, and it will be interesting to see how much lower they can go. BUT, jobs are already being cut in the drilling and processing of oil in both the U.S. and Canada because of this. As this blog stated before the holidays … “Not everybody will benefit equally and, in fact, in the long run, the whole ‘cheap gas’ thing may turn out to hurt us.”

Another Cold One

It is now 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, January 7, and the temperature outside my warm little home office is one degree BELOW zero, with a forecast high for the day of three above zero. Schools have been closed for the day (can’t get the school buses started), and the only positive for me with the cold temperature is that a couple of my grandkids are going to come over in a few hours and do some snow mobile riding, which I may (or may not) take part in. But along these lines, I have not heard much about the global warming thing for almost a year now … at least not in my area of the world. So what’s going on with this previously much talked about “hot” topic. I hear a politician or two talking about it every now and again, but what’s the scientific community saying about it? Just curious.

Catching Up – Part Two

In my last blog, I made reference to having gone in for my first haircut in about a year and a half. And while I thought this was a harmless comment, a couple of “wise-guy” readers made contact and said they did not believe I have an actual barber, because I don’t have any actual hair. So, please note the picture of my barber, Nick, below. I see Nick approximately four times a year, and I do actually get a real haircut when I see him. Haven’t you guys got better things to do than to make fun of my hair?

Yes, I have A Barber!

Yes, I have A Barber!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Part Two

I can only hope that your holiday season was as good as mine. Time with family and friends was great – the best holiday I can remember. The nine grandkids made it special, but time with extended family and others also contributed to an absolutely wonderful time for me. A special treat this year was to spend a part of New Year’s Eve watching my oldest grandson perform at a very popular Irish pub and restaurant. He and his group were incredible, and it was a very special night. Again, I hope yours was great, too!

Grandkids making Christmas cookies.

Grandkids making Christmas cookies.

New Year’s Eve with the grandson.

New Year’s Eve with the grandson.

The Sports Thing

On a very sad note, my Chicago Blackhawks lost the “Winter Classic” game on New Year’s Day in Washington, D.C., against the Capitals, but fortunately, the rest of the holiday season was so good that the loss did not impact me quite the way it might have otherwise. I still predict the Hawks make it into the Stanley Cup finals, and you know how good I am with my sports predictions.

BUT the BIG sports news is that Steve Lewis of TGP won the first ever USGlass NFL football pick’em contest and I think this means he will get a couple of tickets to the opening NFL game of this choice as the winner. Congratulations Steve. And just in case you need someone to tag along to the game you pick, I can make myself available!

An Opportunity For You

THIS IS BIG! Remarkably, I have been offered an opportunity to purchase a large number of tickets to the Hockey City Classic being held in Chicago at Soldier Field on February 7. The event will feature a game between Michigan State and the University of Michigan, as well as a second game between Western Michigan and Miami. Best part, you can get tickets (for both games at famous Chicago’s Soldier Field) for only $45 each. E-mail me (lhill@glass.com) or call me to get yours while they last. The proceeds will go toward the support of high school hockey programs. Don’t wait too long on this. They will go fast.

The Quotable Thing

A quote that I can relate to first hand, sent in by Art Lafferty. The quote itself is attributed to Edmund Wilson.

“There is nothing more demoralizing than a small but adequate income.”

Have A Wonderful Week Everyone!

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