I was disappointed. I had such high hopes and now, they had been dashed in just a matter of a few minutes. I had fought some really brutal traffic to get there, had brought my very good but bulky camera, and had even invited my grandson Jake to go with me so he could experience it all first-hand. And then … disappointment! Talk about letting the air out of someone’s balloon. I speak here … actually I am writing here and not speaking … of the Chicago Auto Show and what was to be my very first glimpse of the new, next generation C-7 Chevy Corvette. I had such high expectations because I have loved the Corvette since I was a kid back in Maywood, Ill., when my older brother’s college roommate picked him up driving a 1958 red Corvette convertible. Right there in front of our little stucco house on 18th Avenue. It was love at first sight and my feelings have not changed in all of these years. So I was excited to see the next generation Vette up close and personal. But upon seeing it first hand, I was not impressed. Not at all. And then when my grandson Jake said “You know Grandpa, I think the thing looks like it might be trying to imitate a Dodge Viper” I had to wipe a small tear from my left eye.
As if it is some small consolation, I did like the new Chevy Impala and the Buicks weren’t bad either. But I fear they may have forever tarnished the Corvette. Pity!
Wrapping It Up
It’s probably been 20 years or more since I attended a Chicago Auto Show so I was actually a little excited about getting to go this year. Things certainly have changed over the years. No Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Plymouths … you get the picture. Not as many aftermarket vendors as their used to be either and I didn’t think the crowd was all that big. Especially not for a Friday afternoon and evening. Jeep had an incredible display that blew everyone away and the wait to get a ride (with a professional driver at the wheel) over the incredible Jeep test track was over an hour and twenty minutes. In general, I was not too impressed with the show except for one exception. And that one exception was the very obvious use of what I will refer to here as Vehicle Wraps. Film products used for everything from pin stripping to full size rolling billboards. This product, and the film people that apply them, have come a long long way. I was surprised that I didn’t see any paint protection film displays … or maybe I just missed them … but the wraps, both partial and full, were quite evident. And I like them. It offers a great way to either dress up your vehicle or turn it into a rolling billboard that advertises your goods and services. Makes sense to me!
The Mirror Question
A friend of mine called earlier this week and asked me if I could recommend someone to her who would be considered an expert on mirror installations. I won’t go into the details of why she needed an expert on the installation of mirrors but we talked for a few minutes and then I made a few contacts on her behalf to see if I could find someone who was up to date on all of the proper, approved and safe methods for handling and installing full-sized mirror panels on typical interior wall areas. And you know what, I couldn’t find anyone who felt comfortable enough to take on the assignment. I was referred to the Glass Association of North America (GANA) website for some of their technical information on mirror handling and installing (and GANA does a great job with this stuff) but the consensus among the people I talked with was that everybody kinda installs mirrors the way they feel they want to install them and that there are a lot of shoddy practices being used when it comes to mirrors … and particularly so with commercial mirror installations. Apparently there are a lot of law suits going on over improper mirror installations as well. You know, regulations and recommendations are only good if you follow them.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
I read in yesterday’s USGNN.com and Door and Window Market Magazine newsletters that two of my favorite companies are now in a hotly contested law suit over alleged patent infringements. I’m not going to name any names here but suffice it to say that the parties involved are in what is known as the “Electrochromic” field. This is unfortunate indeed and I am not going to pretend for even a minute that I know anything whatsoever about the suit but I do believe that electrochromic products have tremendous potential and in the past couple of years have really started to take off. I hate to see a couple of the industries most talented players spend their money on attorneys instead of on R&D and product promotion. I know these disputes arise from time to time and there is often some basis to them, but I hope this gets settled quickly.
Glass Industry Double-Digit Price Increases!!!
Last week I reported that I was hearing about some very large increases for glass products but after the blog was published, a couple of people scanned over some printed documentation and wow, some of the proposed (I say proposed because sometimes these price increases don’t actually stick or are quite negotiable for certain people) really are double-digit. Have things gotten that much better? Wouldn’t some smaller incremental increases have been a little easier to swallow? Or is nobody swallowing anyway?
The Sports Thing
Okay, one office group sent me an invitation to join their March Madness college basketball pool, but it is only a $10 entry fee so I am still good for one more as long as it’s not too expensive. As mentioned last week, it should be an incredible NCAA tournament and there are a number of potential champions. You gotta love it … I know my good friend Gil Rager, who I referee kids basketball games with, is loving it. He’s the biggest college basketball junkie I know … it might even be an addiction!
Those Crazy Blackhawks
With their win over Vancouver last night (which I am starting to think may be the dirtiest team in hockey) they have now tied the NHL record of 16 consecutive game without a loss (They are 13-0-3 this very moment). The Madhouse on Madison (aka The United Center) is really rocking.
Without question, the hottest ticket in Chicago for a sporting event of any kind is a Blackhawk ticket. It’s been that way for awhile now and with the delay in getting the season started and the success the Hawks are having, a ticket to one of their games is more than just hot. It is scorching hot. At this past week’s Auto Show in Chicago, the Blackhawks had a good-sized display where kids could shoot pucks at a net and older kids … mostly fathers it seemed … could get their picture taken with a couple of the gals who skate out onto the ice and help clean it during time outs during the games. They are referred to as the Ice Crew or Ice Girls and they are quite popular. My oldest grandson, Jake, drummer for the very popular band Finding Valor, was with me when I took in the Auto Show this past week. Not surprisingly, Jake decided to say “hello” to the gals who I think asked him for his autograph.
The Quotable Thing
This week’s quote was one of my dad’s (and he had a bunch of them) so in honor of what would have been his 102nd birthday, I am using it here.
“When the going gets tough, the guys who talked tough are usually nowhere to be found.” -Lyle Alvin
Have A Great Week, Everybody!!!