It is very hard to live in Chicago and not have at least a passing interest in politics. I have been convinced for years that nowhere else in the world is politics practiced the way it is in Illinois in general and in Chicago in particular. It’s almost like a sport of some type and it would actually be quite entertaining if it wasn’t for the fact that the results of all that goes on costs the average taxpayer a great deal of money every year. To prove my point, let me tell you a brief and very true story about a guy named John “Quarters” Boyle. And by the way, this is but one of many stories that can be told of how things happen in my neck of the woods.
Boyle was convicted of stealing $4 million from the Illinois Tollway Authority (thus the nick name “Quarters” because it was claimed that most of what he walked off with was quarters used to pay highway tolls). Upon serving his prison sentence and getting released, he was immediately hired into a very cushy City of Chicago management position at a salary higher than he was making while he was stealing all of those quarters. Later (and not too much later) he was indicted for taking bribes from city vendors for fat contracts. When then Mayor Richard Daley was asked by a reporter, “Would stealing $4 million from a public agency disqualify somebody from a city job?” the short and quick answer from the mayor was “No, I don’t think so.”
So maybe because of where I live or because I sometimes am too quick to offer up an opinion, I have been asked repeatedly what I think of the recent Chris Christie (New Jersey governor) situation and all I have to say is that with two of our last three governors having done time in federal prisons, it seems to me that the New Jersey guys are a bunch of amateurs. All of this attention over some bridge traffic problems. Forgetaboutit already!
He’s Gonna Be Missed
PPG’s Ted Krantz just announced that he is going to be retiring in the next several weeks and I for one will truly miss him. Witty, knowledgeable, and always fun to be around, Ted made many a friend in the glass industry over the past 40 years or so and I would like to count myself as one of them. The official story (for public consumption) of how he got into the glass industry can be found on USGNN.com™ but I happen to have a little more insight here so let me share it with you now. You see, Ted started out in life as a police officer but felt that such a job was just too dull and calm for a guy like him. So after he was shot up (in the line of duty) he was forced to take a little time off to heal and it was then that he heard about all of the adventure and excitement that was waiting for people who were daring enough to jump into the glass business. Always fearless and ready for any challenge, he joined PPG and became one of the most respected and recognized people in the business. Good luck to you, Ted. And thanks for all that you did for so many of us through the years!
On the Economic Front
According to recently released information from McGraw Hill Construction’s Dodge Report, 2014 should be a better year for everyone in the construction industry … even you glass guys … than was 2013 which had solid improvement over 2012 to begin with. Specifically, both residential and nonresidential building in 2014 is expected to show solid improvement. Further, the Dodge Momentum index for November was up 2.8 percent (the highest one-month increase since March of 2009) indicating continued growth going into 2014. Go get ‘em guys!
Tom Minnon – What Were You Thinking?
Good friend Tom Minnon (Tubelite) was the first to accept my offer to wager (I picked Denver and he went with New England) on the Superbowl playoffs last week (see below for more on this) and Tom even sent me a picture of the dollar he was wagering … serial number and all. I think this might be illegal (to photograph and electronically transmit pictures of actual currency) but the world has bigger things to worry about right now so I think Tom’s okay here. But here is my real question … when has an aluminum supplier ever won a wager with a contract glazier (even a retired one)? Of course now that I think about it, I guess you guys are kinda gambling every time you take an order from a contract glazing firm! You know, you guys might be the biggest risk takers of all now that I think about it.
At any rate … I want you to hold on to that dollar, Tom, until we bump into each other at a future trade show event and then you can give it to me personally. And I will be checking to see if the serial number matches up. If it doesn’t, we will go to lunch and flip a quarter to see who pays … naturally I expect to win this toss but either way it would be a good excuse to share a meal and get caught up a bit.
Glass Is Going Nuclear
Just heard about this a couple of days ago from one of our readers and will look into it and report back next week, but apparently there is a plant being built somewhere on the West Coast that is going to turn nuclear sludge waste into glass. Now this is a concept! If any of you know anything about this, please pass the information along. This kinda sounds exciting … maybe.
The Broken Tomato Update
Thank you ever so much to those of you who have purchased “The Broken Tomato” and yes, it can be ordered on Amazon.com. A couple of people e-mailed to tell me that they were having difficulty finding it on Amazon but it is there … you just gotta get the right title and author information in. As one reader said, “you have no idea how many books (mostly gardening and cookbooks) are available at Amazon with the word ‘Tomato’ in the title. And again, thank you for your support here and for the kind comments I have received about the book.
The Sports Thing
Okay, let’s start with the important stuff. Last week I picked the Broncos to win the Superbowl and immediately received a bit of ridicule with most of it coming from New England Patriot fans. I also offered to accept wagers on my selection as long as they did not exceed one dollar (my maximum gambling limit). Four people took me up on this and a couple of others said they would place a bet but that a dollar was much too little. One person wanted to go $100 … his money on the Patriots. Well, I’m still staying with the Broncos (against the Seahawks of Seattle) after the Broncos beat up on the Patriots, and I am willing to again offer the one-dollar wager deal to any and all takers.
Just read yesterday that the Russians are favored to win Olympic hockey gold in the upcoming games (next month by the way) in Sochi. I’ve gotta go with the Canadians as much as I would like to see the USA pull it out. No wagers here, though … this one is too close to call I think (there are some really good Scandinavian teams also). And when it comes to gambling, I am at heart a big chicken!
The Quotable Thing
I am not going to claim that this is an original quote, although I am a big follower of quotes and I never have come across it before, but even if it is not, it is too good to pass by. It was said by USGlass editor Ellen Rogers at a recent USGlass staff meeting and I couldn’t agree more …
“Some of the things people say are not necessarily necessary.”
Have a Wonderful Week, Everyone!