Aug 27

Time For Some Fun

I am very much aware of the world in which we live, and like some of you, I am often quite troubled by it. Every time I hear a news report or pick up a paper or magazine, the news is sometimes so incredibly discouraging that I just can’t stand it. Wars, riots, earthquakes, kidnappings, political bickering, corruption, glass shortages … and on and on. While I like to know what’s going on in the world, it can get kind of depressing. For me, one of the great relief valves for this is sports.

No, I don’t play much of anything anymore, but I have learned how to become a great, and sometimes even informed, spectator—often in person and at many levels. I will get to a college football and basketball game or two this year, and I have agreed to serve as the team photographer for the Willowbrook High School Renegades hockey team this season. It is a great relief from the reality that surrounds us.

And now, you sports fans you, I am proud to announce that this very blog is going to introduce you to an opportunity to have some fun this football season. And it won’t cost you a dime. You see, Nick St. Denis of USGlass has put in place our very own glass and metal industry football pick’em contest, and not only is it free, but it’s easy to play. And you don’t have to be an expert.

And here’s the best part: Weekly winners of this pick‘em contest will receive a $50 gift card, and the overall season winner will receive (you should probably sit down for this) two tickets to the home-opener next year for the NFL team of their choice. While winners will be announced in other USGlass locations, I intend to announce the weekly and annual top three in this blog (under the sports section report) on a weekly basis. It should be fun, and personally, I am predicting that the aluminum suppliers will dominate the winners circle. They have always been the sharpest guys in the industry, followed closely by the glass fabricators.

You’ve gotta be associated (involved) in the architectural glass industry to play, and the sign-up, rules and picking process is really easy. I did it earlier this morning, and it took all of about eight minutes. Naturally you should do this on your own time … at lunch or something … and not on company time.

Go to to get signed up and ready to play. I’ve already made my first week’s selections, so I’ll wish you luck!

[Editor's note: At the "register" page, you'll be asked for a password. The password is usglassfootball. Please, do not share the password beyond reading this blog and signing up. We also ask that you include your company name at the end of your username. Also, those who sign up but are not directly affiliated with the architectural glass industry will be deactivated from the league. So please respect the process, and direct any questions to Nick at Thanks, and good luck!]

What A Wonderful Summer-Part Three

The kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are starting to drop. Boy, I hate to see it go. One of the best summers (weather-wise) I can remember. But as they say, “all good things must end,” and as much as it hurts, summer 2014 will soon be a memory. Great while it lasted, though. 


The Sports Thing

Football season (NFL) is a little over a week away with final pre-season games being played out tomorrow. And as reported above, the USGlass football pool contest should add some excitement to it for many of us. But the big news in Chicago sports at the moment is the little league champs from the Southside who took the city, and parts of the nation, by storm the last few weeks. The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars won the American Little League title and then lost to South Korea in a game that was actually pretty exciting for the World Championship. The kids have been under the microscope for the past 15 days or so, and at every turn, they have impressed everyone who meets them. They’re a great bunch of kids and great representatives of the city and nation. Way to go, guys!

The Quotable Thing

Longtime friend and glass industry guru Don Ude sent me a couple of pages of his favorite quotes, and there were several that were quite good. My August article in USGlass focused a bit on people like me who collect quotes and such, and maybe Don is also one of those (like me) who hang on to these things if he thinks they are worthy of saving. Anyhow, this was one of the ones from Don, and it made me chuckle when I read it.

“I wish the buck really did stop here. I sure could use some of them.”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”                        

Aug 20

Controversy Update

OK … Last week, I promised to investigate the big Minnesota glass controversy that had been reported and, because I always … well, at least most of the time … keep my promises, I did so. As you may recall, a reader contacted me and told me there was controversy over the glass being used for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium and asked me what I knew. At the time, like most times, I did not know much, but I did, as promised, look into it. Here is what I found.

Reportedly, the Minnesota branch of the National Audubon Society has asked its supporters to sign a petition asking that the glass that was specified to be used in the new stadium be switched to a more bird-friendly product (ceramic fritted patterns) to reduce the number of bird deaths that will otherwise most likely occur if the original, non-fritted glass product, is used. Tens of thousands of people have already signed the petition, but the problem is, as almost always is the case – money. The glass change will reportedly cost about $1.1 million more than originally budgeted.

Allegedly, as many as a billion birds a year are killed when they slam into a glass clad building. The new stadium is smack dab in the middle of a traditional bird migratory route, which makes this situation even more problematic. The matter is bouncing back and forth between the owners (who claim they can’t afford the extra costs) and the Auduboners, who point out that for a project of this size, the upcharge does not represent a large percentage of the overall cost. If I find out how this turns out, I will report in accordingly. (Update: See USGlass’ story on the matter here.)

So there you have it, and now you know. One other interesting item I came across while looking into this: Did you know that buildings are apparently not the number one cause of death for birds in this country? Cats are! Of all the things I found out while doing my research, this was the one thing that surprised me the most. Cats are killing more than 1.1 billion birds a year. I found that to be quite incredible. Shame on you cats.

Now This Is Incredibly Good News

I got a copy of a memo received by a glazing contractor who I am doing a little consulting work with, and while it was a little surprising, it was also actually encouraging … at least to me. The memorandum was from the glazing contractor’s Viracon sales rep, announcing that they would not be able to process any new orders until April 15 of NEXT YEAR. They were booked solid. Sold out. Many of you most likely know about this already or perhaps saw the reports last week in about the situation. No doubt, some are a little disappointed, or perhaps even bothered, by this—but if you are, I think you need to see the positive side of it. Here we have one of the most reliable, professional and quality oriented glass manufacturers in the world saying they are sold out for at least the next nine months. What great news for the architectural glass industry! Be happy … whether you are a manufacturer, fabricator or installer, you should see the positive side of this news.

They Might Need A Lawyer

India’s national public radio broadcaster recently announced that all of its employees over the age of 35 are being let go. Talk about age discrimination! However, they will allow employees over the age of 35 to take a test, and if they don’t “sound too old on the phone”, they might be allowed to keep their job. Anybody know a good lawyer?

What A Wonderful Summer-Continued

I really hate to see it winding down, summer that is, but as they say, “all good things must end.” Four of my grandkids started school today and the rest will be back next. I think they hate to see it end as much as I do. Maybe more.

One Last Lick of Summer.

One Last Lick of Summer.

The Sports Thing

How about those little leaguers from Jackie Robinson West (Chicago)? I have watched every game of theirs in the Little League World Series tournament, and they might just go all the way. They won last night and play again tomorrow. Love watching the little leaguers. Lots of emotion, lots of enthusiasm and lots of healthy competition and just think … none of them are getting paid to play the game they love!

The Quotable Thing

This week’s quote suggestion comes from none other than Roy “Stumpy” Darby, who has amassed an incredible collection of quotations and sayings. In fact, his collection is even bigger than mine. You can find out more about “Stumpy” and his collection on page #72 of this month’s (August) issue of USGlass Magazine. This particular quote is attributed to Scot Adams.

“Informed decision making comes from a long tradition of guessing and then blaming others for inadequate results.” 

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

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