E-letter: What’s not to love?

So, here comes Valentine’s Day, and what’s not to love? Sure, the world’s politico-economic environment has more knots in it than one of my dry-fly backcasts on a windy day, but such things never change.

I have mentioned before that I beat the Valentine’s Day Guilt Month 25 years ago with what I consider to be divine inspiration. I decided, rather than show up late with wilted flowers, to pre-arrange flowers delivered to Lee Ann’s office. This is a good idea, because it not only presents the flowers, but does so in front of witnesses.

Kerry Knudsen
Kerry Knudsen

Then the idea hit me to automate. I told the florist to send flowers every Thursday from the end of November until the end of April. I said not to go big, just a little array every Thursday. Sometimes I start the year with a few new vases, but basically the cost is under $20 a week, or $400 a year.


The reason for the stop and start is the same reason as for fishing season. Going fishing is one thing, wind-knots notwithstanding. But having an Opening Day is an event — one that people look forward to, schedule promotions around and create dialogue about. In the case of office flowers, there is no promotion or scheduling among the employees, but when the end of November rolls around and the flowers arrive, it is always a show-stopper.

There may be a new person in the office that wonders what’s the deal? And when she’s told, the response usually moves from “isn’t that nice?,” to “my husband even forgets anniversaries and Valentine’s Day.”

There was even the March day about 20 years back when we attended a “spring picnic” in a community centre. All the spouses were there, and when we arrived, I gravitated toward a knot of husbands over in front of the stage. I could see something was odd, but I didn’t figure it out until the first one asked, “are you the son-of-a-bitch that keeps sending your wife flowers?”

Yup. That would be me.

So it doesn’t matter if it’s calculated or automated, because the thought is always behind it. And it doesn’t matter if it’s not expensive or expansive, because something happens between a woman and a flower that I do not understand, but most of us have learned to exploit. It may not be chivalry, but it works.

Let me add something else. Lee Ann is an executive with a major Canadian association, Landscape Ontario, where she oversees publications in another trade that, much like ours, is populated with family ownership, and burdened by governmental compliance issues and labour scarcity. She was not born an executive, and I often wonder if sending flowers, in addition to just being plain fun, made others stop and look. At minimum, they saw a competent, cheerful, productive person that had a stable, loving and supportive home life. In these days, that’s a skill set companies need.

To top off the list of benefits, guys, if you manage to forget Valentine’s Day or your anniversary, you’re covered. From my perspective, any husband that misses this trick is losing.


Speaking of chivalry, did anybody see the Democrat debate between King Lear and Lady Macbeth? I imagine Shakespeare never considered putting those two in the same room, but it works. I can’t tell at the moment whether it qualifies as a comedy or tragedy. Could be both.

I know… politics, and I’m biased. But seriously, Hillary has made $220,000 per speech for a total of $150 million over 15 years, talking to bankers. I would be happy to do that for half, and I would only charge Canadian dollars.


But back to the topic — what’s not to love? Statistics Canada yesterday released its report of December building permits, up 11.3 percent to $6.9 billion.

Better, yet, the MPA (used to be Magazine Publishers Association) has published its Magazine Media FactBook for 2015, showing a clear path for you to be a major influencer in purchasing of home decorating and home remodeling decisions. Read print magazines or magazines with print and digital components. Magazines have prestige you simply cannot find in other media.

Canada’s long-term projections on wood-products manufacturing are positive, all the way to the 2030s. The loonie is hurting us in many sectors, but for exporters, it’s heyday. Fuel is cheap. That means transportation costs are cheap, so your employees are getting a raise, irrespective of their paycheque. (I know, Justin, Kathleen, Rachel, Christy and the rest have other ideas, but for today ….)

It will be interesting to see how the food chain justifies price increases while trucking, a major component of their cost base, is getting relief.

We can see the unions starting to become uneasy again, but I am of the impression that they need to be careful, as their historic relationship with the overall population has eroded, and nobody can miss the effect union and Democrat leadership has had on Chicago, Detroit, New York, Washington, St. Louis and so on….


A short anecdote. I know a fellow that works in a union shop. One of his duties is as a fill-in fork truck driver. As you know, the propane tank on a fork truck has a “due-by” date on it, by which time the tank should be replaced.

Recently, he was driving the fork truck and two union reps approached him, told him the tank was expiring that day, and that he should refuse to drive the truck for “safety” reasons.

He declined, having a longer view of his employer’s health and welfare than did the union. He continued to drive and the union continued to fester.

I trust my acquaintance will be OK. In other places and times he would not. There was a day back in the ’70s when I, personally, was physically assaulted in a washroom by two union officers over a part-time/full-time issue. I had to work my way through school, so this is part of that story. It was one of those situations that was going to turn out worse for them or worse for me, so I made the proper decision. In fairness, I admit that incident (and two others) have permanently coloured my opinion of unions, but the unions have made a decades-long practice of showing me right. Like I said, look at Detroit.

So unions are not to love. But for the rest, it’s February, I have immunity from Valentine’s Day Guilt, the economy is chugging along, politics are what they are and 2016 is shaping up to be a stellar year.


A couple of side-notes:

  1. Be sure to visit our website or our YouTube channel and take a look at the WMS videos we did. We didn’t move into the video realm until we were sure we could provide an exceptional product, and we are proud of the effect. Since this is an autobiographical day, I had my own TV segment on the environment back in the mid-’90s, so I am accustomed to the video world. I am also aghast at what happens in the monkey-see/monkey-do world of videography, now that everybody has a pocket video camera and a YouTube account. It’s nearly as bad as what happened to magazines with so-called desktop publishing and spellchecker. Nearly. Anyway, if you want to see pure idiocy on display, go to YouTube and type in “unboxing.” If you want to see educational, useful, stylish snippets of our industry, type in “Wood Industry.”
  2. Remember that subscribers to Wood Industry magazine can advertise in the magazine and on the web to find employees, to sell used machinery, to offload inventory or to announce events, address changes or even sell your business. The rates are nominal or free for “subscribers,” that is, people that manufacture secondary wood products in Canada. This should be a no-brainer, as Wood Industry is, bar none, the most read, most respected, most talked-about media in this sector, and your ad will be seen. You can reply to this e-letter for fast response.
  3. Finally, there is a huge divide between our magazine model and others in this sector. One group of advertisers has elected to address you, our readers, through Wood Industry. We are deeply grateful for those advertisers, as they have the understanding that it is you that is important, and that the supplier base, including Wood Industry magazine, relies on your health, your safety and your prosperity for our own survival. By advertising in Wood Industry, they are demonstrating their own understanding of the industry, of marketing, of value and of success. It is reasonable to deduce, then, that they will be attentive to value, to time and to service and will treat you well as though their lives depend on it. Because they do. Magazines have prestige you simply cannot find in other media.

XXOO — and trout season opens in eight weeks.



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