Dec 11

This Is More Like It

As regular readers might recall, a few weeks back I became quite concerned about the world’s view of my city – Chicago. We’ve always had this “second city” thing to deal with but for a while there, it looked like we might even slip farther down the ladder of excitement and interest and I was truthfully concerned. No, no, no …not about that ridiculous tallest building thing – I’m talking here about something much more important. I’m talking about our reputation as the most dysfunctional and corrupt political civic organization in North America. You remember, the nut case mayor in Toronto (Bob Ford, I think) was making headlines every day and for a while it looked like Toronto was gonna make us look like a bunch of amateurs. But now comes some good news which has restored my confidence in Chicago achieving the recognition and fame it deserves – politically speaking. You see, last week, the list of candidates for the Cook County Board (think sister in crime and linked to the hip with Chicago) came out and what a relief it was to see that two … yes, two … former felons are on the ballot and both have a very good chance of winning board seats. One, a guy who some people refer to as “Big Al” did federal prison time for a job-rigging conviction and the other (let’s call him “Big Ike”), did federal time for accepting bribes to influence city zoning decisions. I’m telling you, we are back on top!

A Bunch of Wind?

I don’t think so! I have thought for a long time that Europe is way ahead of North America in terms of energy conservation and now comes a report that in 2012, 16 percent of Europe’s electricity generation came from WIND power. Not solar power, wind power. Hmmmm.

Starbucks vs. Iran’s Nuclear Industry

I heard a couple of days ago that there are now as many plutonium-processing centrifuges in Iran as there are Starbucks locations in America. If this is true, and I assume it is, I think instead of all the negotiation and deal- making we are struggling with, we just trade them even up. We give them a Starbucks for every centrifuge. It gets them out of the nuclear production business and once they get hooked on the high priced but quite tasty array of Starbucks products, they won’t have the time, money or interest in thinking about building nuclear bombs.

So Who You Gonna Trust?

Apparently, not too many people. A new Associated Press poll finds that only about a third of us trust each other. For comparison purposes, a 1972 similar study indicated that at that time, only about half of us really trusted each other. I think this begs a couple of questions but the one I wonder the most about is if we don’t trust other people because we know that maybe they shouldn’t trust us? Kinda like the liars conundrum … liars don’t believe anyone because they assume everyone is like them and therefore lying as well. Interesting issue I think.

The Cancer Thing

This week’s blog is being written the night before (12/10) it will display (12/11). The reason for this is that I will be spending just about all day Wednesday the 11th undergoing a stem cell removal procedure. It will be the third day in a row for this and I am really hoping it will be the last day that this will be needed. Then next week, I enter into a four-day total body irradiation process which also takes just about the entire day each day. The following week, I will be in the hospital and after a couple more rounds of chemotherapy, will have my stem cells re-injected back into me. Believe it or not, my procedure (for re-implantation) is scheduled for the morning of December 24, so the first whole day that I will have my own stem cells and everything else starting to heal will be the 25th. I am hoping to be back to blogging sometime in mid to late January but I honestly don’t know. So this is it on the cancer front for now and I promise, that if at all possible, I will only report on this matter one more time and then it will be behind us. I have learned a lot over the past few months and may write about it (in an article or something along those lines) but I have blogged enough about it and I thank you for your indulgence.

Stem Cell Extraction In Action

Stem Cell Extraction In Action

The Sports Thing

So I hope you saw this past Monday night’s football game. Yes, those were my Chicago Bears having their way with the Cowboys of Dallas on a night not fit for man nor beast … I think it was 8 degrees at kickoff and if you factor in the wind, I think chill factor was reported to be something like 8-11 degrees below zero. And the stadium was full!!! So are we Chicagoans tough or just nuts? No need to send me your thoughts on this. I think I know what you might be thinking!

The Quotable Thing

As explained with a little bit detail last week, the following are actual answers to tests and quizzes from fifth- and sixth-graders as accumulated by a couple of Ohio teachers. And once again, I will thank Bobbie and Dottie Rovner for sending them my way. I hope you enjoy them. Grammar and spelling is as the kids provided it … no editing.

“Socrates was a famous Greek who went around giving people advice. They killed him. He later died from an overdose of wedlock which is apparently poisonous.”   

“The Greeks were a highly sculptured people and without them we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks also had myths which are young female moths.”

“Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100 foot clipper which put his men in great danger.” 

Have a Wonderful Holiday, Everyone!


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  1. Mike Wellman


    Just had a chance to catch up on your blog. I was not aware that you had a battle going with Cancer. Just wanted to send out a quick note to pump your tires a little. I am sure that you are putting up a heck of a fight. Cancer doesn’t stand a chance against you my friend.

    My thoughts are with you. Hang in there. Look forward to seeing you as soon as the opportunity arises.

    Happy Holidays.

    Mike Wellman
    (in Toronto)

    1. Lyle Hill

      Thanks Mike. Always nice to hear from you and knowing what a ski bum you are, I hope you are enjoying all of the early (and heavy) snow. Have a great holiday yourself and I do look forward to bumping into you down the road a bit. However, if that “bump in the road” meeting takes place in Canada (or anywhere else for that matter) and requires even the slightest amount of driving, I gotta be the guy behind the wheel. The cancer thing is scary but its nothing compared to that road trip you took me on up near the artic circle a few years back. Take care! Lyle

  2. bill stone

    As a Bear season ticket holder and native Chicagoan, I was proud ,but our defense was not like the Monsters of the Midway. However Lyle be grateful for the colorful characters on the city council. When guys like Paddy Bauler and Vito Marzullo led the parade, along with the original Mayor Dayley Chicago worked. Bring back the old boys. Bill Stone Louisville Plate Glass Company

  3. Lyle Hill

    Bill … you probably hit the nail right on the head. I have one of those old political buttons from earlier times that says “Chicago – The City That Works” and in some odd ball, crazy way it did. Not so sure anymore.You know, I kinda like Louisville, but without a city council made up of 50 lunatic alderman all trying to get at least three of their relatives, friends, or partners in nefarious deeds a high paying city job through whatever means available, I just don’t think it would be any fun. Always good to hear from you Bill and I hope business is good. Take care. Lyle

  4. Deb Levy

    Lyle, really who are you kidding? Chicago is still the second city … New Yorkers still win in every way, they are just too smart to get caught. Oh and by the way, the lengths some people will go to to get out of writing a blog every now and then. Don’t think I didn’t notice you weren’t even reading USGlass …

  5. Lyle Hill

    Deb … I am truly honored. I didn’t know you read my blogs. But now you are putting a lot of pressure on me here because now that I know you are lookiing in from time to time, I’m really going to have to TRY to step up the quality of these things. Also, the reason that my picture showed me reading the Chicago Tribune instead of USGlass was just a matter of timing. I had infact just finished USG. I will however be a little more carefuil in my picture selections going forward.

  6. JM

    Hill: Some bad news. “Big Al” just called me. Said he read your blog and he is not a happy man. Asked me for your home address. I told him I thought you were in the hospital. He asked me which one. I told him I didn’t know. Got some good news for you though too – “Big Ike” hasn’t called me yet. Johnny The Mooch

    1. Lyle Hill

      Thanks Mooch. And if “Big Ike” does call, tell him you think I left the country. Lyle

  7. joel Helfer

    Hey Lyle
    Just had a chance to read your blog. Didn’t enjoy the picture of you in the hospital. Hope all is well and you have a speedy recovery. Am in the process of reading ” The Broken Tomato”. Read chapter 7 first to see how you came up with the title. Pretty good joke!

    Hope you have a great new year and the health and energy to continue your wonderful contributions to the glass industry!

    All the best from the Helfer Family!


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