Feb 05

Sorry – Kinda!

Okay – I’ll apologize – kinda.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote a few “negative” comments about Chicago politics and the corruption seemingly embedded therein. Specifically, I told the story of John “Quarters” Boyle and then quoted former Chicago Mayor Daley regarding Mr. Boyle and his re-hiring to a key governmental job after he got out of prison for stealing somewhere around $4 million from the  governmental agency he initially worked for. Well, let me tell you, I got a few calls and emails (from Chicago area residents) blasting me for bringing this story back up and suggesting that things (in Chicago) have greatly improved in recent years .. and in particular since Rahm Emanuel was elected as mayor. As an example of how much better things have gotten, it was pointed out that a new ordinance that will be passed in the next couple of days actually requires corrupt suppliers and contractors to “self-report” their corruption. That’s right, the bad guys now have to turn themselves in! Mayor Emanuel … referred to by some as the “Rahmfather” … has hailed this ordinance as a “key reform” in his effort to clean up corruption in city government. So I guess I really need to apologize. With hard-hitting ordinances like this, I’m sure corruption will quickly become a thing of the past as the bad guys start lining up at city hall to turn themselves in.

Starting to Worry a Little

I read a lot. About all kinds of things but in particular about things that pertain to the construction industry with a specific focus on items that could impact the glass and architectural metals segment of the construction industry. I monitor trends of all types and over the past few months one of the trends I have kept an eye on is material and labor cost increases within the building trades. And I have a growing concern that we are headed into an inflationary period that may catch some in a bit of a pinch. If you can … and I know how difficult this can be … those of you that this may pertain to might want to start adding some terms to your bids and contract arrangements that can give you some relief in case there is a big uptick overnight in material and labor costs. Especially on long-term multi-year contracts. Over the past 40 years, I have seen (on more than one occasion) what inflation can do to sub-contractors and certain material suppliers. Be careful out there!

Bill_blogYou’re The Man, Tom

Well, I have to hand it (literally) to Tom Minnon (Tubelite) who was the only one who would take my wager offer against the Broncos in the Superbowl. He was right and in a big way as the Seahawks of Seattle walked all over the guys from Denver. So now I owe you $2, Tom, and I will pay up (with a breakfast or lunch as well) as soon as we can schedule the same. I hate to lose but at least I’m losing to a good guy.

No Surprise Here

Read in the paper a couple of days ago that Eric Lawson, aka the “Marlboro Man,” had passed away. You remember the “Marlboro Man,” don’t you? He was the very cool-looking cowboy shown sitting atop his horse puffing away on a Marlboro cigarette on billboards and in magazine ads all over the country for many years. Those ads (before being banned) were credited with making Marlboro the top-selling cigarette brand both in the U.S. and internationally. After all, who wouldn’t want to be like a cool-looking cowboy sitting atop his beautiful horse? I often thought that if I ever got a horse, I would buy a cool cowboy hat and a pack of Marlboros myself. Of course, I never got the horse so the hat and cigs were a non-factor! Cause of death … chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – lung disease – directly linked to smoking. Guess I should be glad I never got that horse!

Chinese Curtainwall and The Court of International Trade

I am aware of the recent rulings (as reported on January 31 by USGNN.com™), but I am not going to comment on this until next week. I have a story to tell here but need to keep myself out of trouble in doing so and want to think about how to present it before I do exactly that – get myself in trouble. It is a totally true story and may or may not surprise some of you who have followed this matter. Let me work on it and then I’ll (perhaps) tell my personal experience here.

The Broken Tomato Update

I know this is a little self-serving but I am having some fun with it so I am hoping you won’t be too upset with me. Specifically, sales of my book (“The Broken Tomato” – available at Amazon.com) have been surprisingly good since it came out a couple of months ago, but what has become a bit of amusement in all this is that people are sending me (unsolicited) pictures of themselves reading the book. I think it’s cute … so please overlook the self-indulgence.

Amy N. (Allstate Insurance)

Amy N. (Allstate Insurance)


Don K. (Keller Windows)

Don K. (Keller Windows)

The Sports Thing

Here’s a tip. Always bet against me in the big games. You see, even when the odds greatly favor me, I am always wrong. I am like a curse when it comes to picking winners. Sure I’ve been right a couple of times over the years but it was only because I went with my home town team … which I always do in championship games (the Blackhawks as an example) … but otherwise, I am ALWAYS wrong! It’s sad but true.

Okay, the Olympics start tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow, with certain preliminary and minor events on Thursday, even though the opening ceremony isn’t until the day after … Friday, February 7. And remember, I’m picking the Canadians for the hockey gold medal. We’ll see if my curse holds up, won’t we?

The Quotable Thing

This week’s quote comes from regular contributor Art Lafferty. It’s a little long, but I think quite good. And as always, thanks, Art.

“My grandpa Max the junkman would say in Yiddish, ‘The wheel is always turning’. What he meant was how to behave toward people. The person on the bottom of the wheel, you’d better be nice to because at some point you’re going to be on the bottom.”    -Mandy Patinkin

Have a Wonderful Week, Everyone!


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  1. Tom Minnon

    Hey Lyle,

    You are a REALLY good loser! We actually went for double or nothing in the Super Bowl. You won the first round against the Patriots, I won the Super Bowl, so I think we’re even. But since you’ve put it in writing for all to see, I’ll take you up on that free breakfast or lunch. I prefer lunch, it will cost you more, and maybe I can order off the dinner menu :). Don’t forget to bring the 2 dollars!

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      You got it Tom … and you know I forgot about that double or nothing deal but as you said, I put it in writing so it’s a done deal now. But no dinner menu … that would be pushing it. AND, I will bring that exact $2.00 bill. Lyle

  2. Don Keller

    Lyle, Sandy shared a copy of one of your articles with a coworker who told her that she liked your writing style. So Sandy brought a copy of your book (The broken Tomato) to work to show her and now this coworker is ordering two books. One for herself and one for her son-in-law. Thought you might like to know. Don

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      Don … thank Sandy for me please. And make sure you keep me on the “popcorn list” also. Lyle

  3. Debra Levy

    Lyle, Chicago is fooling no one with the self-reporting corruption deal cleverly packaged as a law!

    We smart New Yorkers know that what the Mayor is really doing is trying to share best practices among those engaging in the corruption and circulate new “business development” ideas to each other.

    Maybe they will even have a conference someday and all those advanced email-writers from Nigeria who frequently contact me about my awaiting millions in winnings will come. Geez.

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      Deb … I would respond to your comments but as a politically independent and conservative leaning individual, I’m not sure I am allowed to visit, live in, or comment about New York … at least not according to what the governor of New York recently said in one of his speeches. In the final analysis, while I do belive that politicians from Chicago in particular and Illinois in general are corrupt, I also belive that politicians from New York tend to be just plain wacky. I would say something about the Nigerian e-mail people but I just got this really great offer to receive $250 million from one of them if I send him $10,000 immediately by wire transfer and I don’t want to do anything to ruin this deal. Lyle

  4. Ted Wantuck

    Lyle; Glad to see you back in the saddle (not the Marlboro man’s saddle). Re: Broken Tomato, I was ready to order but became concerned with the picture of Don Keller. The subject matter may be too heavy for me since Don appears to have injured his wrist lifting the book! I’ll probably order it anyway and get my wife to help me lift it; she has to help me with the big words anyway.

    Sure glad we don’t have any of that city corruption here in Detroit!

    Welcome back.

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      I appreciate your comments Ted but I think you’re a lot tougher than Don … right? Also, can you really imagine me writing anything “heavy”? As for your “corruption quotient”, I think the fact that Detroit hasn’t got any money left probably helps keep the coruption in check. By the way, recent predictions are that Chicago could be the next big city to fail finacially as debt has gone out of sight and tax revenue is flat. I guess we’ll find out. Take care and thanks again. Lyle

  5. Johng736

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