Jul 09

You’re Killing Me Here!

Now comes a report from the China Youth Daily that people in that country are dying from working too hard. Reportedly, as many as 600,000 people a year are working themselves to death. Part of the problem is that the state makes heroes out of those who put their jobs and party loyalty ahead of their families and personal health. Apparently, 16-hour work days are not at all uncommon, and a seven-day work week is also quite routine. While there is some dispute over the actual number of workers who work themselves to death (mostly heart disease and strokes caused by lack of sleep and stress), there is no disputing the fact that workers are spending way too much time on their jobs and feel pressured to do so. Japan has long acknowledged that some people die from work related causes associated with putting in too much time on their jobs and even have insurance provisions for these types of deaths. SO … the next time your boss asks you to put in an extra hour or two, don’t complain! You’ve got it made … comparatively that is.

I Guess I Was Wrong

This hurts quite a bit, but I have to come clean on this. You see, for years I have told people (because I believed it to be true) that Chicago was the Hot Dog capital of the world. What I meant by this was that Chicago consumed more hot dogs per capita annually than any other city in the world. As the home of Oscar Meyer and Vienna Meat Products, this seemed perfectly logical to me. Also, it seems that you can’t go more than a dozen blocks or so anywhere in Chicago without crossing paths with a hot dog stand of one kind or another. Apparently, many years ago, I was told (and believed) the hype about Chicago and its love of hot dogs. Well, now comes a report from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council that shows Los Angeles as the biggest consumer of hot dogs, with New York and Atlanta rounding out the top three. So apparently … I have been wrong, and if any of you have made life-altering decisions based on my statements about Chicago’s hot dog consumption, I sincerely apologize. 

More Bad (Hot Dog) News

I received an e-mail earlier this week from well-known glass industry guy Tom Hiebel informing me that he would be sending my (investment) check back to me, because he was abandoning his campaign to raise enough money to buy Chicago’s most famous beef and hot dog retailer … Portillos. Tom was heartbroken by this, but as he explained, “I just sat on my buns a little too long before getting serious about this, and once others got the jump on me, I couldn’t ketchup. While I would have relished involvement with this hot dog icon, I guess I just couldn’t cut the mustard here, but I’m not going to beef about it.”

One More Hot Dog Thing

Just out of curiosity, I looked up the world record for hot dog consumption, and according to the International Federation of Competitive Eating, the record is 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes (by Joey Chestnut in 2013) at the July 4th Coney Island contest sponsored by Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. I also found out that the world record for bratwurst consumption is 70 in 10 minutes. Hard to believe you could eat more brats than dogs in 10 minutes. Probably some guy from Wisconsin.

Surety Bonding Trend(s)

Now for a little serious stuff that pertains to many in our industry. You see, I catch a little heat if I don’t include some serious stuff in these weekly blogs, and while I can be a serious guy when I try to be, I truly believe that there is way too much seriousness in the world, and I think way too many people take themselves too seriously to begin with. At any rate, some serious stuff now: There is a very strong trend that has been growing for the past few years wherein general contractors are now requiring all of what they consider there important or key subcontractors to provide 100 percent bonding for their work. The mood in the general contracting world is that the cost of the bond is more than worth the risk mitigation that is provides. Many general contractors are now requiring bonds for any contract over $50,000. During my four decades in the industry, I worked for only a few GCs that required everything to be bonded, but the trend is real and is predicted to grow. Just letting you know what to expect if you have not seen it already.

The YKK Thing

The guys at YKK have garnered a bit of a reputation for producing interesting—and often quite humorous—presentations at various industry trade shows over the last few years, and this year’s AIA show was no exception. This year, the YKK team introduced a new dance that I believe they called “The Architect.” I wandered by their booth and got into it myself. After just a minute or two of instruction, I became quite proficient at a move called the ‘protractor’ and received much applause for my mastery of it. Thanks, YKK, for bringing some fun to these events. You have great products and know how to present them in an interesting manner.

YKK’s Joey Bernard (center) Hitting His Groove

YKK’s Joey Bernard (center) Hitting His Groove

The Sports Thing … Are you kidding me???

I read yesterday that that LeBron James is now considering a possible return to the Cleveland Cavaliers that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has now taken down (from the team’s website) his open letter to Cavalier fans wherein he accused James of being “narcissistic, selfish, disloyal, callous and cowardly.” Gilbert pulled the letter that he posted almost four years ago when James left the Cavaliers to go to Miami for more money than I can even comprehend. So what will Mr. Gilbert do if James once again snubs his Cavaliers? And would you want to work for a guy who ripped you this badly in public simply because you wanted to better your financial situation? Perhaps a lesson here about “burning your bridges” me thinks. And yes, I saw the score of the German-Brazil semi-final World Cup Soccer game yesterday. A 7-1 embarrassment for the host country that I don’t think anyone saw coming. Although I will tell you, that if games regularly had eight goals scored in them, I might consider becoming a soccer fan.

The Quotable Thing

Once again, a quote provided by Roxanne Lampl that hit home (for me, anyway). It was said by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and I like it a lot because it seems to describe with a fair amount of accuracy where I have found myself on a few occasions. Hope it speaks to some of you too.

“When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you till it seems as if you couldn’t hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that’s just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

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