I have been to New York probably a half dozen times or more during the past many years. For the most part, these trips were strictly for business purposes and so my time there was short. Usually in and out in a day or less, so I never really developed much of a feel for the place or for its people. But this past week, I spent parts of four days in the Big Apple and I have to tell you, I was completely caught off guard. You see, I had come to believe all of those stories that I had been hearing for oh so many years about the rudeness … and crudeness … of New Yorkers. But I believe them no more. The people I met while in New York were incredibly pleasant. In every discussion and in every transaction, I was impressed with the civility of the New Yorkers with which I interacted. I even got a chance to meet a couple of guys who invited me to play a quick round of some strange European game where you throw these little steel balls (about the size of a baseball but much heavier) at a target ball and then get points based on how close you end up to the target. I think the game had a French name. I’m thinking it is probably similar to bocce ball which I have never played but have watched people play in some of the parks in Chicago. One of my new friends was a retired attorney … imagine that … me playing this crazy little game with a retired New York attorney in the heart of New York City and thoroughly enjoying it. As I recall, the name of the park was Bryant Park. I have new found respect and fondness for New York and for its people.
Now This Is Good … Construction spending in October hit a 37-month high and easily beat all expectations and forecasts, so says a report from the Associated General Contractors of America. The multifamily housing sector alone was up by 53 percent from last year’s October figures. This is good news for everyone and not just those in the construction industry. New homes need new appliances, furniture, and on and on. Let’s hope the trend continues.
How Long … do you think it will take the Chinese manufacturers of the recently imposed tariff of curtain wall systems (see USGNN™ story of 12/3 by Tara Taffera for the complete report on this) to adjust their prices and delivery methods to once again make themselves the low bidders on virtually everything they go after? While I applaud the efforts of the US Government (the Commerce Department) to put sanctions and tariffs in place when they feel that foreign suppliers are competing unfairly, I don’t think it will make a big difference in the long run. It has not had a lasting impact in other industries when such sanctions have been imposed, so why should it be any different in the glass and aluminum field. Are we dealing with unfair labor practices and aggressive dumping or just whining because we can’t compete? I personally think it is some of both although I certainly agree with the findings of the Commerce Department. But I dread to think of what our standard of living might be if we didn’t import inexpensive goods from low cost producing foreign countries. Don’t think for a minute that we would not all be impacted in a big way. At the same time, it is obvious that “dumping” takes place and that certain foreign governments actively support such activities. It is also often obvious that the low priced materials coming into North America are poorly manufactured and often even hazardous. But we have an affinity, especially in certain segments of the construction industry, for buying cheap and looking for someone to lay the blame on, or fix the junk that we often get … at the low price. So what’s the answer? I wish I knew. Interesting conversation for sure.
He’s The Man? … I was recently told that “The Man” of the house is not necessarily the person wearing the pants around the house. If you think about it, just about everyone in a given house these days is wearing pants, or jeans, or something of the like. No, I was informed that the real man of the house these days is often the person doing the cooking. Yes, the cooking. And more particularly, the grilling and barbequing and such. Specifically, the person offering me this opinion asked me who carved the turkey at my house this past Thanksgiving. I couldn’t deny the fact that I have not carved the Thanksgiving turkey at my house for several years now. My son Patrick carves the thing and I am quite OK with him handling this assignment because he does a better job than I do. So does this mean my son, who has not lived in my house for many years, is the man of my house? I don’t think so! Although he really does do a great job of carving up the Thanksgiving Turkey. And in case you’re wondering, Renee wears the pants in his house!
The Backpack Saga … This story is not yet finished but because of a lack of time and space, the conclusion will have to wait til next week. Bob Price … stay tuned.
Hey Doug Studt … Don’t forget to send me one of your Torstenson Glass Company 2013 calendars. Usually by now I would have gotten one, and nobody sends out a better calendar than you guys! I’ll even pay for it if necessary.
The Sports Thing … I don’t know what to think anymore. My Bears started out so well and have now crashed so quickly that I am totally disgusted with them. The hockey season (NHL) looks like it is going to be flushed down the drain, and my Chicago White Sox just traded away the pitcher that threw the perfect game last season (Phil Humber). The Bulls are 8-8 and just lost guard Richard (Rip) Hamilton to injury for who knows how long and I am not even going to talk about the Cubs who seem to perpetually break the hearts of every fan they have ever had. What … tell me what … is a Chicago sports fan to do???
Give up, you say. NEVER! That’s what most from various and sundry other metropolitan areas of the country might do. But not us Chicagoans. Oh no my friends, we will continue to pay ridiculous prices for poor seats and spend incredibly insane amounts of money for food and drink at the various games we attend and go on giving each other expensive official licensed team jerseys and hats as gifts. We are Chicagoans!!! Kinda pathetic when you think about it. And if anyone out there can tell me how to fix us, please call me at once!
The Quotable Thing … This quote was sent to me a few weeks back but this is the first time I could work it in. It came from Lou Cerny and I thought it was more than just a little interesting. Thanks Lou for reading and contributing to these blog things.
“We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism.” … Nikita Khrushev, 1959.
HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYBODY!!!