I was a little disappointed but then again, maybe it was my own fault. Traffic had been terrible and then when I finally got there, there was no place to park. The closest parking garages were all filled and I ended up parking about 12 blocks away at a metered spot and walking to the event. They say there are two seasons in Chicago – winter and construction, and it sure seemed to be the case yesterday as I tried to make my way to Neocon at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. And because I had parked at a metered location, I only had two hours before the meter expired and I was more than a little worried that if I didn’t get back in time, they would tow my car … they do these types of things in Chicago … and the cost and aggravation of trying to get your car back once it is towed is an absolute nightmare. So I went in with a bit of a bad attitude and so maybe that clouded my thinking. Maybe. But I gotta tell you, I was a little disappointed. For me, not enough glass guys and way too many furniture people. In fact, it seemed like every other booth was a chair manufacturer. I did get to see, quite by accident, a few old friends not the least of which was Al Hardt who was going out as I was coming in. Sometimes the best part of these shows for me is getting to catch up a bit with guys like Al so while I was a little disappointed in the show overall, I was glad that I went and quite pleased with the people I had a chance to talk with … and I got back to my car with exactly two minutes left on the meter!
This Is A Classic
… at least in my opinion it is. As I have gotten older I have watched less and less TV with each passing year. Intentionally not watching TV is a major piece of my plan to prolong my sanity for as long as possible. I do, however, listen to news radio programs all the time … in the car, in the office, and even in the shower. And just yesterday, I heard what I thought was a classic comment from a gas industry expert who was asked the question about why gas prices continue to climb (they jumped in the Chicago area by 17 cents a gallon last week and are now the highest in the nation … even higher than in Hawaii). It was pointed out by the reporter doing the interview that the dollar has strengthened, oil reserves are high and productivity is outpacing demand domestically. The guy being interviewed was from some association of oil refiners or something of the sort and his very quick and somewhat abrupt answer was that a good part of the recent price spike had to do with the added cost of switching from winter blended gas to summer grades. He went on to say that the summer grades of gasoline are more costly to produce.Now here is why I think this is a classic … and yes, I know I have ranted too much about this whole gasoline thing over the past several weeks but you see, at one time in my life I actually owned a gas station and it will forever be a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Ok, back to the story.
The reporter then reminds the guy being interviewed that he had in fact interviewed him about this exact same matter last fall … I think he said mid-October … and when asked about why prices had started to take off in the fall of 2012, this industry spokesman said that the run up in prices then was due to having to switch over to winter blends which required more additives and therefore was more costly to refine. So then the reporter asked him, “which is it?” The guy then asked back … “which is what?” The reporter, realizing he might have the guy on a bit of a hook, pressed on and asked … “so which is more costly to blend, the summer or the winter grade of gasoline?” And the industry spokesman’s answer … “well both of course.” And now you know why I don’t buy into most of the public explanations as to why gas costs us what it does these days.
I have on more than one occasion made fun of the US government in general and the IRS in particular while putting out these weekly blogs over the past two years and now I am wondering if it is coincidental or something more sinister (given the reports over the last several days about information gathering by the NSA) behind the fact that I have now gotten a call from the IRS wanting to meet me to go over some documents and filings. It is pretty much a known fact that they are targeting nonprofits and heaven knows I have ben operating as a non-profit endeavor for most of my life! I would comment more here but you know who might be reading this.
Did You Know? – Part 2
I am sorry. I asked the question last week but did not provide the actual answer … from the Snapple tea bottle cap I referenced at that time … and a couple of readers were quick to point this out to me. So the answer is … the bumblebee bat is the smallest mammal on earth according to Snapple real fact bottle cap # 886. Boy some of you people are picky!
Battle for the Wall – ASHRAE 189.1 Proposal
I was asked to repeat this one more time and so I am doing so right now … special note here to all GANA members and those concerned about the loss of glazed exterior wall opportunities if ASHARAE’s current proposal to reduce the allowable glazed area in certain buildings is adopted. Please take a quick look at GANA’s June 4 bulletin (GANA Glass Reflections) and pay particular attention to the section titled … “Call to Action” … because you can help here by filing an appropriate comment about this proposal. Read it … get involved. Please!!!
Don’t Worry – Be Happy
Now comes this from a study conducted by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. In a study of 36 industrialized nations using various criteria to determine who is happy (with their life situation) and who is not, the Australians finished first! Sweden finished second, Canada (yes, Canada) third and then came (in order) Norway, Switzerland and the USA (sixth). I didn’t read through the entire report but read enough to know that Australia’s solid economy, which has not suffered much at all while the rest of the world has plodded along these past few years, had a fair amount to do with their “happiness quotient”. On the other hand, I am not really too bothered by this because I am sure that once the U.S. government gets a copy of this report, something will be done about it. A new program perhaps or some type of a governmental financed initiative can’t be too far away. Hey, maybe even a new cabinet position. A “Secretary of Happiness” may be just what we need. I even like the sound of it, don’t you?
The Sports Thing
Well, I got a rather snippy e-mail from Danny “Southside Irish” Simon last week after mentioning him in my blog but because I am Westside Irish and therefore of a much more refined nature than my Southside counterparts, I am going to choose to ignore it altogether. As you may recall , it had to do with hockey, as in Chicago Blackhawks hockey and while we are on this subject, my beloved Blackhawks will be playing the first game of the Stanley cup finals tonight at Chicago’s (Westside) venue commonly known as the “Madhouse on Madison” and I can hardly wait for the puck to be dropped.
While at Neocon yesterday, I happened upon the Walker Glass booth and noticed that Marc Deschamps was quite engaged in a discussion with a couple of potential customers as I approached. Apparently he noticed me coming and when I got within striking distance, he quickly excused himself and grabbed me. He then told me that the Montreal sportswriters are picking the Bruins (of Boston) to beat my Hawks in six games. I told him I was picking the Hawks in six … the same exact thing I had said to his cohort Danik Dancause when I bumped into him at the GANA booth earlier … and then Deschamps smirked at me. Yes, he smirked. In my town, in the Chicago Merchandise Mart, about a mile from the “Madhouse” and approximately 24 hours before the first game would start, he smirked at my suggestion that the Hawks would prevail. Naturally, I immediately threw down the offer of an appropriate wager, which Mr. Deschamps wisely wanted no part of. They may be happier than us up there in Canada, but when it comes to the Stanley Cup, once again this year it will end up in the USA. You know, I can’t even remember the last time a Canadian team won it although if my memory is correct it might have been the Cannuckleheads of Vancouver who immediately tried to burn their city down after the final game. But you know what, in about two weeks that Stanley Cup is going to be resting sweetly in Chicago – over on the Westside.
The Quotable Thing
This week’s is from Brian Jefferies and I like it. Mark Twain, who i loved to read as a kid, gets the credit for having said it.
“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you read the newspaper you are misinformed.”
Have A Great Week, Everybody!!!