Nov 20

Second Fiddle – No Fun!

I have never met anyone, in any walk of life, who told me that their goal was to be number two … to be second fiddle. No, they want to be number one … the champ … the top banana … Numero Uno. And why not? Very little recognition goes to the second-place finisher in any competitive scenario. Typically, in most competitive venues, the second-place finisher has been beaten by the first-place finisher. So there is already a bit of a stigma on second place … you must have lost to someone to have finished in second, otherwise you would have finished first. So because I am as human as the next person, the news of this past week has really been tough on me. You see, I just always thought we were number-one here in Chicago for certain things and now, after what went down last week, I have to accept the fact that we are now number-two in a category that I forever thought we would dominate. No … I am not referring to that silly “Tallest Building In North America” thing, although I will comment on that further in just a bit. Rather, I refer here to the Big City Mayoral Wackiness thing. You see, since I was a young child, I have always believed that Chicago had the most colorful if not controversial mayors of any decent-sized city in North America. And if you read a little about the city’s political history, it would be hard to argue against this position. But now, along comes this guy from Toronto (Rob Ford) and he is blowing us right out of the water! A sad day, my friends. A very sad day!

This Is Sooooo Wrong!

I don’t want to be known as a whiner but come on already, are you honestly going to tell me that the One World Trade Center is a taller building than the Sears … oh, I’m sorry … Willis Tower in Chicago? I don’t care what the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat says, I want to look at the facts. And here they are. Willis Tower’s height to the roof is 1,451 feet. One World Trade Center’s height to the roof is 1,368 feet. Willis (the building) is 83 feet taller than One World Trade Center (the building). It is not clear to me when the people who make up the rules for these types of things started allowing spires and/or antennas to somehow be classified as part of the actual building they sit atop of, but the concept is kind of ridiculous to me. I have, however, now started collecting and saving metal coat hangers and as soon as I have enough of them, I am going to take them to a metal sculptor friend of mine and have them configured in such a way as to make them appear to be a “spire” and then affix them to the top of one of the antennas at Willis. Lou Cerny, I hope you are reading this because I will need your help to figure out exactly how to do this from an engineering standpoint. Then Chicago can rightfully reclaim its place as the home of North America’s tallest building. I have thus far collected 21 hangers and if my calculations are correct, I will only need another 2,786,314 to reach my goal. Or I may just attach them to the chimney on top of my house and claim to have the tallest home in the country. I haven’t decided as yet. I’ll figure it out when I get enough hangers to proceed.

The Cancer Thing

Current update is that I am tentatively scheduled to begin my stem cell transplant program on December 2. The first phase will be a Total Body Irradiation (TBI) procedure which will span four days and be performed as an outpatient procedure. I am guessing that I will glow at night for about four more days and then into the hospital for a few weeks for a little more chemotherapy and the transplant itself. Still home for now eating, walking, trying to exercise and rebuilding blood cell and platelet counts. Blood tests yesterday were good. Heading in the right direction. Thank you one and all for your encouragement and continuing prayers. Please don’t stop.

A few weeks ago in this blog, I mentioned that my daughter Amy had suggested that maybe I was suffering from “chemo brain” and in follow-up to that, good friend and former co-worker Nancy Ortlieb sent me this T-shirt. I think it’s a classic. Thank you Nancy. I intend to wear it (whenever Amy is around) with pride.


Thanks, Nancy Ortlieb

Thanks, Nancy Ortlieb


The Broken Tomato Update

In response to a few recent e-mails I have received, I am happy to report that ALL orders for the book, “The Broken Tomato,” have now been processed and shipped. Some of you will have already received your copy by the time you read this. Mine came yesterday. And once again, thank you so much for your support for this book.

Talk About Market Share

According to the November 18 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, Saint Gobain supplies the glass for 50 percent of the cars manufactured in Europe and 3 percent of all glass installed in new residential properties in Europe. Now that’s “market share.”

Some GOOD News – Looking Ahead to 2014

According to McGraw Hill Construction’s 2014 Dodge Construction Outlook, the construction industry is expected to see a 9-percent gain in construction starts next year … and next year starts exactly six weeks from today for those of you who don’t own a calendar. While home building will lead the way, they are also predicting much improved opportunities in the commercial construction sector. This is good news. There are still a lot of talented people in the trades that are either unemployed or underemployed and a gain of this amount is solid.

The Sports Thing

Okay … after that Broncos-Chiefs game a couple of nights ago, can you honestly say that Denver would not be a smart pick to win the next Super Bowl? And hey, has anyone noticed that my Bulls have won five in a row … and please, no need to mention that Blackhawks game last night in Colorado. I saw it too!

And for those of you that have made fun of me for being too much of a hometown promoter and letting my love for my local teams cloud my thinking, please note the enclosed photo of three of my grandsons with the Stanley Cup … which currently resides in Chicago!


Jake, The Cup, Ryan and Sam

Jake, The Cup, Ryan and Sam


The Quotable Thing

Two in a row from Tom Olsen, who actually sent me three pages filled with all kinds of good quotes, many of which seem to be timely and appropriate. This one comes from one of my all-time favorite writers, Mark Twain, and given the mood at the present time, seemed like a good selection.

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then, I repeat myself.”

Have a Good Week, Everybody!


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  1. Richard Voreis


    The only person who remembers who finished in second place is the person who finished in second place.

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      I have no doubt you are correct, but I’m wondering if sometimes they would also like to forget. Lyle

  2. Jack Carter

    You’re writing good so I assume you are feeling better. Your sense of humor has returned with a vengeance! Thanks for a great blog and keep swinging for the fence.

  3. Lyle R. Hill

    Thanks Jack. At this point I’m not sure I can do anything with a vengeance but if something I wrote put a smile on your face or made you stop and think for a second or two, then I had a very good day indeed. And when you get a minute could you remind me of which way the fence is that I am suppossed to be swinging for? I’m telling you that chemotherapy is rough! Lyle

  4. Valerie Block

    Lyle, you are awesome! Keep your eye on the prize–regaining your health and beating cancer.
    Your writing is as clever as ever!

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      Thanks Valerie. Doing the best I can and having friends like you who send support and encouragement my way does make the load seem lighter. Lyle

  5. jan donovan

    Praying continually for you. It actually seems like chemo brain has improved your sense of humor! Will be glad to see you in person again.

  6. Lyle Hill

    Thank you Jan …. For the prayers anyway. Looking forward to seeing you again too. LRH

  1. Second Thoughts on Second Fiddle! » Blah, Blah ... Blog

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