Volume 45, Issue 2 - February 2010



Some Answers … Some Explanations
by Lyle R. Hill

As hard as I try, I don’t always get to answer people who call or, as most do, send an e-mail commenting about something I’ve written or been credited with saying. I always try hard to thank people for making contact but usually I can’t spend as much time as I’d like to fully answer those very nice people who make contact. Not that all of them are nice mind you. Every now and then I get a real zinger. Some people are just way too sensitive. But I sometimes feel guilty when I don’t fully respond or answer someone who has taken the time and made an effort to make contact with me.

So now … right now … I am going to answer or respond to a number of individuals who have contacted me about the same basic topic during the past several weeks. This allows me to respond to a whole bunch of people at once and provides me with a cleaner conscience with respect to my obligations to those people kind enough to read and react to my monthly offerings. Okay … so here we go!

The Newt Gingrich Article: This article (which dealt with an invitation to come to Washington D.C.—where I was promised not to be treated like a cow—and receive an award while spending time sharing my ideas with Newt on how to turn the economy around) created an inordinate amount of contacts. It was particularly interesting that responses to this article followed partisan lines. Democrats loved it and some told me that they had shared it with others of a similar persuasion. On the other hand, a couple of Republicans really took me to task for making fun of a truly “Great American Statesman.” One told me that he had actually sent a copy of the article to Newt himself! By the way, I’m an Independent … I was simply trying to point out the absurdity of the offer. But here’s the real beauty in this one. I actually got a follow-up letter from Newt and Callista … I presume that Callista is the current Mrs. Gingrich … asking me to join them in yet another dinner where the legacy of Ronald Reagan would be remembered and honored. I loved Ronald Reagan. He was one of my favorite cowboys. I think he was in theTwenty Mule Team thing when I was a kid. If I could have afforded it, I would have gone to this one. Oh well.

Johnny “The Mooch” Rago & Jungle Jim Bruney:
Both are doing well and thank you to those who have asked about them. The “Mooch” was in a terrible accident more than a year ago but is slowly recovering and it won’t be too much longer until he is out and about once again terrorizing the citizenry of greater Chicagoland. There were a lot of rumors floating around about his accident, but it was not … and here I quote the “Mooch” himself … “like some premedicated thing where some bozos was trying to even up some kinda score or something. Nobody but me would be stupid enough to mess with somebody like me.” As for Jungle Jim, he is currently in the government’s witness protection program and recently told me that he has enjoyed getting out of Chicago and taking up residence in a log cabin on the east end of Main Street in Estes Park, Colo. If anyone is interested he drives a 2006 red Impala with license plate number TK 8594.

Joe Kellman’s Passing:
I was amazed at the number of people I heard from after the Joe Kellman article appeared. Many were former employees to whom I hadn’t talked in many years. I could go for hours telling very true Joe Kellman stories but those stories have the greatest impact on those who knew him best. He really was bigger than life and he meant a great deal to me personally and professionally. He and his wife Lou Anne attended each one of my kid’s weddings and perhaps the one that I most appreciated him attending was Patrick and Renee’s. He wasn’t in the best of health at the time and traveled by limousine from Chicago to Waukesha, Wis., to attend the event. He made it through the ceremony but couldn’t get through the reception and spent the night in Waukesha. I told him how much it meant to me that he had gone to such lengths to be there. As only Joe Kellman could do, he gave me a slap and said “What, are you crazy? I never did like you but I think you got nice kids.”

I was also particularly impressed with the variety of people who showed up for the public viewing at the Kellman Community Center in Chicago’s very tough Lawndale neighborhood. There were politicians he’d help get elected and former convicts for whom he’d found jobs going through the same line paying their final respects. And believe me when I say that the auto glass industry in this country over the past 30 years was not impacted by anyone as much as it was impacted by Joe Kellman.

Burping The Alphabet:
Most of the people who responded to the article about my grandson Ryan were grandparents themselves. And a special thank you to those who shared a funny grandchild story of their own. And, by the way, while I am not against a little fabrication when I’m putting an article together, the story about Ryan and burping the alphabet is based on an actual occurrence. After his story came out, I took a little heat from his sister Sydney as well as a couple of my other grandkids who now want stories of their own. I may have created a monster here. Oh, and by the way, for Christmas Ryan received a ballpoint pen with a built-in recording of a man burping the alphabet … and yes, the man struggles with the “W” just as Ryan would have predicted. Apparently Santa Claus reads USGlass.

Strategic Alliance … helping to settle a bet:
Okay, under normal circumstances I would not do this but because I’m told that there is a lot of money riding on this and that two old friends are not speaking to each other until this is resolved, here is the information they are looking for: In February of 1994, I wrote an article that described a strategic alliance as follows … “Let’s suppose that you have a can of soup but no can opener. Someone you know, maybe even a competitor, has an opener but no soup. At some point, hunger takes over and even though you might not normally deal with each other, you each have something the other can use and needs. Ultimately, you form a strategic alliance, make a deal to cooperate for the mutual benefit of both, sell the soup and opener to the highest bidder and order yourself a nice large pizza.”

THANK YOU: Thank you so much for letting me ramble on a bit here. And, again, if I don’t always answer an e-mail as thoroughly as someone might like, it might be because my day job is a little demanding right now. But please always know that the comments are appreciated. And lastly, I wish you all well in these very demanding and troublesome economic times. Hang in there!

Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago. Mr. Hill’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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