Nov 21

When Will It End???

Well just when I thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, I received a message from United Airlines asking me to contact them in regards to the Dora the Explorer backpack.  You may remember that this backpack mysteriously showed up in one of my suitcases after my luggage had been lost somewhere between Newark and Chicago on my return from the Glasstec show in Dusseldorf last month.

The Troublesome Baggage

I didn’t have my cell phone on at the time the call came in, so a message was left informing me that United Airlines now wanted me to return the Dora backpack. But the problem was that I had taken the backpack, along with its contents, to the local Salvation Army Thrift store with some other items being donated, just a couple of days prior. By the way, I know some of you are not believing any of this Dora backpack saga but I have several witnesses to this and even allowed Chris Bunn and Kaitlan Mitchell of USGlass to listen to the United message. The three of us were at Greenbuild doing some video work when I got the message and I let them listen to it primarily to dispel any thoughts whatsoever that this whole thing was made up as “blog fodder” or something of the sort. And now that I think about it,  shame on anyone of you that would accuse me of such a thing. Do you really believe I would stoop so low??? But lest I digress even further, let’s get back to the matter at hand.

OK, so upon returning from Greenbuild (San Francisco) I figured I would just drive over to the Salvation Army store to buy back the backpack I had donated in an effort to get United Airlines off my back and be done with this craziness once and for all. I wasn’t about to try to ask for it back free. Way too embarrassing. I just assumed I would buy the thing and put this all behind me. Besides, the Salvation Army is an incredibly wonderful group and I have no problem in donating money to them. But before going, I called them to see if the backpack was still there … and you know where this is going don’t you … yes, it had been sold and because the buyer had paid cash for the thing, they had no record of who had bought it. So now what???

After thinking about this whole bizarre chain of events for awhile, I decided to call United Airlines and come clean. Just tell them the story and ask them who to send a check to in an effort to somehow clean this mess up and move on with my life. So I dialed the number that had been given and … the voice of the person who answered the call sounded quite familiar. Too familiar in fact.  Indeed, It was the voice of Bob Price! He said he left the message as a joke because I had originally stated that I thought the pinky-purply-bluey little backpack might be his, but you know what … I think it really was his. Nice job, Mr. Price. Whether the silly thing was yours or not, you got me. You got me good. So I guess now we’re even … maybe! 

Greenbuild ReportIt certainly didn’t disappoint, the Greenbuild show that is. I wasn’t originally planning to attend this show but then a friend asked me to meet up with an inventor of sorts to take a look at some new product developments and then one thing led to another and off I went. And I am really quite glad that I did because as usual, there were lots of things to see and plenty of old friends to reconnect with. I won’t even try to cover all of what was taking place there but I am including the following brief slide show in an attempt to give you just a little of the show’s flavor. USGlass videographer, Chris Bunn and I also put together a brief video which covers a few of the not so common things that could be seen at the show. If you’re interested, you can check it out at http://www.usgnn.com/newsLyle20121119.htm.

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Say It Ain’t SoNo more hostess Twinkies … now that hurts. The spongy little cake thing with the creamy filling was invented in Chicago in 1930 and has been a favorite junk food for millions of people ever since. According to information sent to me by Emily Torres of mbaonline.com, there were over 500 million Twinkies sold last year … almost one Twinkie for every man, women and child living in the United States, Mexico, and Canada combined. Sales have been above $2.5 billion a year and hundreds of Twinkie employees manned 33 bakeries, 556 distribution centers and 570 outlet stores. And now it is all going away. What a shame. And who’s to blame … the unions because they wanted to have their cake and eat it too or was it bad management that creamed the place? Maybe some of both with a more health conscious consumer thrown in. I am not so interested in taking a side as much as I am interested in finding out if the rest of my life will now have to be lived Twinkie-less. Please, say it ain’t so.

Hey YouWake up and smell the coffee or are you all sizzle and no steak. And whatever you do, keep your powder dry and don’t count your chickens before they hatch! Sorry … it’s national cliché month and while some people hate them, I think they are an important part of our language and history. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

The Oil & Gas IssueWell I was a little surprised by the responses I received to my blog commentary regarding oil, gasoline, energy independence and such in last week’s blog. I thought I was talking about something really good but somehow the comments coming in were not necessarily in agreement. However, I think most of the negative reaction to the news I reported as being positive was simply frustration caused by what many people consider to be inflated prices for gasoline. I received several comments and even a couple of reports/studies from some blog readers about all of this and I promise to dig into it a bit more and try to have additional information and commentary on the whole oil-gas-energy matter in the next couple of weeks. It’s an interesting subject to be sure. More to come … I promise.

The Sports Thing I had the unexpected and very pleasurable opportunity of interviewing Kevin Johnson, currently the mayor of Sacramento, California and formally a three time NBA all star guard while playing for the Phoenix Suns, and it was a real treat for me. I love basketball and Johnson was without question, one of the best guards of his era. During the interview he made the comment that the only thing that kept him and his team from grabbing at least one, if not more, NBA titles while he was playing was a guy by the name of Jordan and his team, the Chicago Bulls. Mayor Johnson, with all due respect, I think there are a lot of former great NBA players that would say the same thing. The 90s belonged to Jordan, Pippen and the Chicago Bulls.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, Nick Bagatelos, President of Bisem-USA and Lyle


In case you are wondering, Mayor Johnson was at Greenbuild to accept the “Green Mayor of the Year Award” for his energy conservation efforts. During the interview, he stated that his goal is to see the Sacramento area become known as the Emerald City within the Emerald Valley. Kind of a take off on the “silicon valley” moniker. And you know, I think he just might do it. Go get ‘em KJ. We’ll all benefit from your success here and I can assure you that in this endeavor, the Bulls will not stand in your way.


The Quotable Thing … This is less of a quote than it is a story or joke, but it seemed appropriate given my Dora The Explorer backpack adventures of late. It was sent in by Phil Blizzard after he read about my initial            baggage problems with United Airlines. Thanks Phil.

“I went to the airport and told the clerk, ‘I want a ticket to Atlanta but I want my luggage sent to Detroit.’ The clerk looked at me and said, ‘Sir we can’t do that,’ to which I replied, ‘Well you did it yesterday!’”


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