Apr 16

Making Music

OK, the clue was not too good, but it was the best I could do at the time. I refer here to last week’s partial picture of a piano keyboard and my reference to a very intelligent and talented mentor (of sorts) that I encountered many years ago and whose sayings have stayed with me for three decades now. As I said last week, he was not an easy man to deal with but after working with him for only a couple of days, I quickly came to realize that there was much he could teach me and it is worthwhile to learn early in life that you don’t have to be fond of someone to learn from them. So I swallowed hard and dealt with the situation at hand. I remember many of his words … little slogans and sayings if you will … but the one that has come back into my consciousness with some regularity had to do with music and while I was at a concert featuring two of my grandsons (David & Ryan) a couple of weeks back, I started to remember and think of this man I encountered and learned from so many years ago.

One of his favorite sayings was that an orchestra is worthless without a conductor and the better the conductor, the better the orchestra will perform. He then likened that to a business. Talented, well trained and prepared employees are not of much value without someone to direct them and the better the director (leader) the better they will perform. Sure you have to have people who can properly play their instrument (do their job) but someone has to direct (lead) and the good director (leader) knows how to get the best performance (work) out of the people he or she is directing.

Of course he was right. And watching a truly good conductor leading a group of grammar school kids through a number of well performed musical pieces on a cold Thursday night a couple of weeks ago at the local high school gym, brought the memory of him and some of what he taught me, back into my consciousness. You need talent (performers) and equipment (instruments) but leadership must be there to make it all work.



YOU Owe Them!

Yes you really do. Specifically, now comes a report that if you divide the current national debt by the number of employed men and women in America, each employed person owes $106,000.00. Apparently, the non-working public does not owe anything so maybe the best thing to do (if you can’t pay up on the $106K that you owe) is to quit your job and try to get on some kind of welfare program with as many freebies as you can garner. Then again, I don’t think the government is going to send you a bill for the $106K so maybe you’re better off keeping your job after all … not really sure!

He’s Baaaaack

Couldn’t believe what was waiting for me when I got up yesterday morning (Tuesday April 15th). Temperatures had dropped over night into the mid-20s and there was about a 1” coating of snow on everything. Yes, Old Man Winter had returned. The crazy thing is that just a few days before, the grandkids and I were making giant floating bubbles on the patio and enjoying what we thought was the arrival of spring with sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. This has been, and continues to be, the craziest winter of all time!

Will it ever end?

Will it ever end?

And He’s Baaaaack Too

Yesterday belonged to the Tax Man who comes around once a year to get his due. Most polls find that people do not like the IRS … I’m being mild here. Most people can’t stand the IRS, however, studies conducted by a number of governmental and private firms indicate that Americans are actually very good about paying their taxes and living with the situation. Specifically, studies have shown that (1) Over 90% of Americans say that “Personal Integrity” was the primary reason they comply with tax codes and pay what they owe, (2) Tax evasion in America is estimated to be significantly lower than in most other countries – although 60% of respondents in one study did say they comply with tax laws because they want to avoid (at almost all costs) an IRS audit, and (3) it is estimated that in the U.S., only about 1% of wages and salary income fails to get properly reported and taxed. I also found out that approximately 61% of taxpayers can expect refunds this year and that about 56% of working adults in this country think they are taxed at a fair rate. Last two things on this – 50% of us pay a professional to prepare our returns and 75% of all tax forms/filings are submitted electronically. Thought you might want to know!

Hmmmmmmm – Part 2

Thank you to the readers who either e-mailed or called to discuss what I think is a rapidly approaching problem for the glass & metal industry in particular and most likely the entire construction industry in general. I refer here to what many feel is a pending “skilled” labor shortage brought on by increased work volumes combined with the loss of experienced workers and the lack of training of new recruits during the recession period of the last few years. A couple of people told me they are already having trouble filling vacant positions and they expect the situation to only get worse in the coming months. The outcome, or fallout if you will, of this will most likely be higher labor costs across the board. I don’t see how this can be avoided.

The Sports Thing

The NHL playoffs start tonight and will be followed in just a few days by
the start of the NBA playoffs. I love hockey and to me, there is nothing more exciting than the NHL playoffs and particularly so when your home town team (Chicago Blackhawks for me) is involved. It’s going to be a great playoff. The basketball thing is also good. I went to last Friday’s Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons NBA game with my grandson Jake and while the game was good … the Bulls cranked up the energy level in the fourth quarter and came from 18 behind to win the game by 8 points … the real fun of the night for me was having the one-on-one time with my oldest grandson who is an absolutely wonderful kid. Wait, he’s not a kid anymore, he’s a fine young man. The Bulls are an exciting team and it would really be great to see both Chicago teams make deep runs into the playoffs. What … you don’t share my enthusiasm for Chicago teams???

The Quotable Thing

Sandi Hill provided (and insisted that I use) this week’s quote and because I learned years ago not to argue with her, here it is.

“Be yourself. No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong”           -James Leo Herlihy

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”               




1 comment

  1. joseph mckenna

    Mr Hill
    Congratulations on being cancer free, i saw the article in April’s US glass. In September of 2009 I had and Bone marrow transplant as well. I know all to well what being a BMT patient is all about, and i am sure that you have learned many lessons about your own inner strength. A person cant undergo a procedure like that without learning a good deal about oneself. Enjoy each comming day as the gift it is.
    Joseph McKenna
    All Metal Specialties

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