Apr 23

It Even Happens To Me

Yes, it really does happen to me. Not too often mind you, but it does happen and I’m telling you, when it does, there is virtually nothing I seem to be able to do about it. I know this comes as a shock to some, but I cannot deny the facts of the matter.

To be specific, I just get lazy some days and don’t feel much like doing anything. I have no doubt that the warming weather of the past couple of weeks and longer daylight hours have a lot to do with it. You see, these last few days I find myself more than content to wrap myself in a couple of blankets and watch my grandson Tucker’s high school baseball team play or sit on the patio and play UNO with Jilly, Ryan, Zachery, David and Sydney … the grandkids almost always beat me … or just go to the woods and walk a bit with camera in hand. Now remember if you will, that with my recent medical situation I wasn’t even sure I would see spring this year so I’m hoping you’ll cut me some slack and forgive me for not having a little more meaningful content in this week’s blog. I know, I know, some of you will say there is never much meaningful content to my blogs, and while I am probably inclined to agree with you, I usually put much more effort into it than I did this week. So forgive me please and hey, why not go for a walk and take some pictures of your own? It might be just what you need and if you get some good ones, pictures that is, feel free to send them my way.

Spring ... You gotta love it!

Spring … You gotta love it!

                                                        

More IRS Nonsense

In case you missed it, now comes a report that over 1000 IRS employees who owe back taxes themselves, received performance bonuses in the past several months that totaled over $1 million. Now please remember that if you are a taxpayer, and in one way or another we all are, you are paying the wages and bonuses for these people. So do you think they will use their bonus money to get caught up on those past due taxes? Me either. I can’t stand it! When will this craziness end?

We Talked About This

You probably already know this. After all, it has been mentioned now in several industry related publications, but I think it is important to take another quick look at the implications of what has now happened and to also remind readers that this blog has been covering this … actually predicting it … for a while now. I speak here of the announcement by one of the world’s largest primary glass producers that they are raising prices by as much as 15% for certain products (5% at the minimum) and these increases take effect as of May 19th. This is on top of price increases put through in the fourth quarter of last year for many (actually most) glass products. Remember when we talked about this … possible price increases? I think we used the word inflationary even. Anyway, you may want to check the pricing in your older quotes before you accept any orders based on them. I know you’re sharp … much sharper than me … but a gentle reminder can sometimes help.

Thank You Judy Adkins

This day started with the receiving and reading of an e-mail sent to me from Judy Adkins (Hickman Building Supplies of Middleboro, Kentucky) and it absolutely got my day started in a wonderful way. Thank you so much!

The Sports Thing

I expected a better start for my Chicago Blackhawks (in the NHL playoffs) but the St. Louis Blues are a very good team and play a very physical style of hockey as well. The Hawks do not do well against hard hitting teams and have tried to match the Blues in physicality but have ended up losing the first two games (of round one) … both losses coming in overtime and a triple overtime in game one. They have come back to win game three 2-0. Game four is tonight. Tough stuff. Mike McCown (Binswanger) and I have traded e-mails on this subject and while he is a serious Blues fan, I had predicted the Hawks would dominate and take the series in five games (maybe six). Now I may have to eat my words. We’ll see! And yes, I know my Bulls have also dropped their first two playoff games to the Wizards of Washington. Somehow, by the way, the words wizard and Washington do not seem to belong together, do they?

The Quotable Thing

Two for the price of one this week thanks to Beth Rush. These are attributed to fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

“A business is like a child: it needs all sorts of constant attention.”

“Once you reach a certain level, it’s easy to think you’re invincible – but you’re not.”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

                                          

Apr 16

Making Music

OK, the clue was not too good, but it was the best I could do at the time. I refer here to last week’s partial picture of a piano keyboard and my reference to a very intelligent and talented mentor (of sorts) that I encountered many years ago and whose sayings have stayed with me for three decades now. As I said last week, he was not an easy man to deal with but after working with him for only a couple of days, I quickly came to realize that there was much he could teach me and it is worthwhile to learn early in life that you don’t have to be fond of someone to learn from them. So I swallowed hard and dealt with the situation at hand. I remember many of his words … little slogans and sayings if you will … but the one that has come back into my consciousness with some regularity had to do with music and while I was at a concert featuring two of my grandsons (David & Ryan) a couple of weeks back, I started to remember and think of this man I encountered and learned from so many years ago.

One of his favorite sayings was that an orchestra is worthless without a conductor and the better the conductor, the better the orchestra will perform. He then likened that to a business. Talented, well trained and prepared employees are not of much value without someone to direct them and the better the director (leader) the better they will perform. Sure you have to have people who can properly play their instrument (do their job) but someone has to direct (lead) and the good director (leader) knows how to get the best performance (work) out of the people he or she is directing.

Of course he was right. And watching a truly good conductor leading a group of grammar school kids through a number of well performed musical pieces on a cold Thursday night a couple of weeks ago at the local high school gym, brought the memory of him and some of what he taught me, back into my consciousness. You need talent (performers) and equipment (instruments) but leadership must be there to make it all work.

 

pianolylesblog

YOU Owe Them!

Yes you really do. Specifically, now comes a report that if you divide the current national debt by the number of employed men and women in America, each employed person owes $106,000.00. Apparently, the non-working public does not owe anything so maybe the best thing to do (if you can’t pay up on the $106K that you owe) is to quit your job and try to get on some kind of welfare program with as many freebies as you can garner. Then again, I don’t think the government is going to send you a bill for the $106K so maybe you’re better off keeping your job after all … not really sure!

He’s Baaaaack

Couldn’t believe what was waiting for me when I got up yesterday morning (Tuesday April 15th). Temperatures had dropped over night into the mid-20s and there was about a 1” coating of snow on everything. Yes, Old Man Winter had returned. The crazy thing is that just a few days before, the grandkids and I were making giant floating bubbles on the patio and enjoying what we thought was the arrival of spring with sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. This has been, and continues to be, the craziest winter of all time!

Will it ever end?

Will it ever end?

And He’s Baaaaack Too

Yesterday belonged to the Tax Man who comes around once a year to get his due. Most polls find that people do not like the IRS … I’m being mild here. Most people can’t stand the IRS, however, studies conducted by a number of governmental and private firms indicate that Americans are actually very good about paying their taxes and living with the situation. Specifically, studies have shown that (1) Over 90% of Americans say that “Personal Integrity” was the primary reason they comply with tax codes and pay what they owe, (2) Tax evasion in America is estimated to be significantly lower than in most other countries – although 60% of respondents in one study did say they comply with tax laws because they want to avoid (at almost all costs) an IRS audit, and (3) it is estimated that in the U.S., only about 1% of wages and salary income fails to get properly reported and taxed. I also found out that approximately 61% of taxpayers can expect refunds this year and that about 56% of working adults in this country think they are taxed at a fair rate. Last two things on this – 50% of us pay a professional to prepare our returns and 75% of all tax forms/filings are submitted electronically. Thought you might want to know!

Hmmmmmmm – Part 2

Thank you to the readers who either e-mailed or called to discuss what I think is a rapidly approaching problem for the glass & metal industry in particular and most likely the entire construction industry in general. I refer here to what many feel is a pending “skilled” labor shortage brought on by increased work volumes combined with the loss of experienced workers and the lack of training of new recruits during the recession period of the last few years. A couple of people told me they are already having trouble filling vacant positions and they expect the situation to only get worse in the coming months. The outcome, or fallout if you will, of this will most likely be higher labor costs across the board. I don’t see how this can be avoided.

The Sports Thing

The NHL playoffs start tonight and will be followed in just a few days by
the start of the NBA playoffs. I love hockey and to me, there is nothing more exciting than the NHL playoffs and particularly so when your home town team (Chicago Blackhawks for me) is involved. It’s going to be a great playoff. The basketball thing is also good. I went to last Friday’s Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons NBA game with my grandson Jake and while the game was good … the Bulls cranked up the energy level in the fourth quarter and came from 18 behind to win the game by 8 points … the real fun of the night for me was having the one-on-one time with my oldest grandson who is an absolutely wonderful kid. Wait, he’s not a kid anymore, he’s a fine young man. The Bulls are an exciting team and it would really be great to see both Chicago teams make deep runs into the playoffs. What … you don’t share my enthusiasm for Chicago teams???

The Quotable Thing

Sandi Hill provided (and insisted that I use) this week’s quote and because I learned years ago not to argue with her, here it is.

“Be yourself. No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong”           -James Leo Herlihy

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”               

 

 

 

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