Sep 17

I Don’t Get It

I don’t get it. Sure, there are a lot of things I don’t get, but this just seems really odd to me. I refer here to the incredible news (to me, at least) that Robert Morris University now has a varsity video game team with its players on scholarships …for playing video games. That’s right, the school has a video gaming team, and its key players are getting thousands of dollars in scholarship money to play for the school. What am I missing here? Has the world gone crazy, or am I that out of touch?

Congratulations, Donn

I met Donn Harter about 30 or so years ago, and there were three things that stood out to me about Donn. He was incredibly knowledgeable, and particularly so about safety glazing codes. He was very approachable. And he worked like no other to advance the glass industry. I found myself calling Donn on a number of occasions to ask for code information … he was on the forefront of the effort to change and modernize glass codes on a national basis … and on more than one occasion, I also asked him for what might be considered very basic business advice. He was always helpful and never turned me away. He was impossible not to like, and his reputation in the industry was second to none.

Last week, at the Glass Build show in Las Vegas, Donn was honored by the Glazing Executives Forum in a special presentation, which named Donn as one of the industry’s strongest safety advocates. Donn also was recognized for his efforts to grow the national association, as well as the California Glass Association. Donn is a legend in the glass industry and one of the finest people you could ever know. Congratulations, Donn. You deserve every accolade you receive.

The Bridge Story

Today’s blog will be a bit short, because I started writing what I though was going to be a short little item about an encounter that took place at this bridge between a father and son a few weeks back. But my story kept getting longer and longer, so I have decided to make it into a full blown column for USGlass magazine. It is too long for a blog, but will work for a magazine column. I’m OK with this, but now I am a little short on blog material for today. Oh well. You don’t really mind, do you?


Really Heating Up

In the last two weeks, I have received at least four calls from long-time contacts in the architectural glass and aluminum field asking me if I knew anyone looking to make a move. Top of the list (for people being recruited) seems to be project managers, followed closely by estimators and detailers. I think on a nationwide basis, there is a lot of work out there, and the industry is having a hard time providing talented people to keep up with it. My prediction is that this will get worse before it gets better.

See You There

I hope so. I’m talking about the upcoming Auto Glass Week, which will be held October 7–9 at the Baltimore Convention Center. For you autoglass and architectural filming guys, this is where you need to be. The competitions are incredible, and it is always one of the most enthusiastic and fun shows of the year. Check it out at See you there… I hope!

The Sports Thing

Do you realize that the first NHL preseason games are less than 10 days away?! Great news, or what?! OK … the big news, however, is that the first ever weekly winner of the USGlass NFL pick-the-winners contest is now in the book. It was Chris Lalonde from W&W Glass out of New York. You can read more about it here and check out the rest of the leaderboard here. And it’s not too late to play, by the way. While there will be a season winner, there are also weekly winners, so jump in when you can. Go to to enter today. It’s fun and free! Oh, and you’re gonna need a password to get set up and start playing. The password to use is usglassfootball.

The Quotable Thing

Met one of my old banker buddies, Clay Belongia, this morning for breakfast, and as usual, we discussed … and, of course, resolved … the problems of the world. In spite of the fact that he is a banker, I both respect and like him. We have been through a lot together, and I always enjoy our time together. This morning, Clay hit me with what he claims is an interpretation of an old Chinese saying, and because I liked it and it made sense to me, I am using here.

“The secret of success is the constancy of purpose.”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

Sep 03

Controversy Conclusion

OK … because this reporter is known for his compassion, kindness and humanitarian concerns, I have followed up on the great glass-Minnesota Vikings-Audubon Society controversy and am herein reporting my findings to you, because I know that you, like me, love all of nature and have deep feelings for creatures, both human and otherwise. So let me get to the point quickly and then give you the details. To be direct … Minnesota Vikings, 1 – Little creatures that fill the air with their songs, 0.

That’s right, not surprisingly, the little birds lost and those big bad Viking guys won. Specifically, the National Audubon Society reported a week or so ago that they had lost their battle with the Vikings to use a “bird-friendly” glass for the new state-owned stadium that is being currently built in Minneapolis. The bird guys fought for almost 14 months to get the glass changed, but their valiant struggle was in vain. The reason … and you surely could have guessed this on your own by now … was MONEY. The bird friendly glass would have supposedly cost only another $600,000 to $950,000 (less than 0.1 percent of 1 percent of the anticipated construction costs). But before we get too critical here, let’s remember that many of the Vikings players will be receiving more than that to play football for about seven-to-eight months, and so we have to keep our priorities in perspective here. Plus, as reported in this blog just a few weeks ago, cats around the county kill more birds every year than the new stadium glass is expected to. I would have more to say on this, but my wife just pointed out to me that both of our bird feeders in the back yard are in need of refilling, so I gotta jump on that right away.

Back To The Future???

I just finished reading a report that high schools across the country are re-instituting shop classes as part of their academic offerings. Many schools had done away with shop classes because there just were not enough kids interested. But with changing economic times has come a change of heart, and now in many schools, especially in urban areas, there is a waiting list for these classes. I took electric, metal working and woodworking shop classes while I was in high school, and I thought they were terrific. It seems to me that kids coming out of high school today are absolute wizards with a computer but can’t change a flat tire, paint a room or even make the simplest of repairs to a household device. Maybe I’m just too “old school,” but there are basic life lessons and skills that can be picked up in a well-run shop class. I actually think this is a good trend. Every kid should have to take some basic “handyman” training as part of the standard curriculum. OK – I’ve said my piece, and I thank you for letting me vent just a little.

But Would We Want Them

As those of you who know me well can attest, I am not pure Irish. I am actually 50-50 Irish and Scottish. My grandfather, Burns (my mother’s father), was pure Scot and married a Scottish gal, and this is the Scot side of my bloodline. I always claim to be Irish, because I was much more influenced by the Irish side of the family while I was growing up than by the Scottish side. Besides, the Irish are a lot more fun. However, there is no denying that I have a Scottish connection, so I have followed with some degree of interest the upcoming vote by the Scots as to whether or not they will break away from the UK and become their own nation. The vote is two weeks away, and current polling says it’s too close to call. The question for some is “What will happen to the UK without the Scots?” Some feel that Britain could be in big trouble without the tax dollars that get sent to London each year. A couple of political pundits have suggested that what’s left of the British Empire could petition the U.S. to become our nation’s 51st state. After all, our federal government seems to have no problem in sending large amounts of money to troubled states and municipalities … especially around election time. So such a move could prove interesting. Recently, Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, writing for the Telegraph, said …”if Britain were to somehow leave the European Union and become the 51st state of America, we would actually be one of the poor states.” So if they’re not bring much to the table, would we really want them?

It’s That Time of Year.

It’s That Time of Year.

The Sports Thing

OK. It’s started. Football that is. High school and college games are going strong, and the NFL’s real season starts in just a little over 24 hours. I will be attending the Northwestern vs. Western Illinois game on the 20th, and I am really looking forward to it. I’ll also be starting my job as the official team photographer for the Willowbrook Renegades High School hockey team in about two weeks, so while I have truly enjoyed this past summer, I am ready for fall, and to some extent, winter. By the way, if you haven’t gotten in yet, there is still time, but you should probably get going. I refer here to the official USGlass NFL “pick’em” contest, which is free to enter and could prove lucrative if you are good at predicting NFL game winners. Go to to enter. And did I mention, it’s free??? Winners will be announced here weekly. Get in now!

The Quotable Thing

This week’s quote comes from longtime reader and regular “quote contributor” Art Lafferty. It is credited to P.J. O’Rourke, a well-known and often quoted Civil Libertarian.

“Giving money and power to the government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

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