Latest Blog Posts

Not my Aleve!

December 21, 2004 at 7:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

You can’t have it! You can’t take it away from me! I don’t care if it’ll kill me—long before it does so it will have cured all my little aches and pains.

Aleve is one of the few OTC medications that actually works for me. I’ll be really ticked off if they decide to put it back behind the counter just because a few namby pambies kicked the bucket after being given overdoses for the sake of medical science. Not that I have too much to worry about right now. At my current rate of consumption any change in Aleve’s availability should affect me in, oh, 8 years or so. I probably don’t even use one of those little blue miracles—no, not THAT little blue miracle—per month. But taking away my Aleve would be like ripping my security blanket out of my hands. That’s just mean!

Hungry for a tomato? Tough.

December 21, 2004 at 6:18pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Florida’s tomato Nazis (aka the Florida Tomato Committee, a New Deal relic charged with ensuring tomato quality, because consumers are apparently too stupid to do that on their own) have decided that you shouldn’t be able to have plentiful fresh tomatoes this winter. You’ll just have to stick with the same old bland tomatoes you get every year?

Why’s that?

Because the Florida Tomato Committee decided that the UglyRipe variety of tomato, despite its tastiness, is just too darn ugly to ship out of state. I bet you didn’t know there was a government body that decided whether or not a tomato looks good enough for you to eat.

Does it bother anybody else that taxpayer bucks are being used to fund this kind of tasteless (sorry) regulation? It bothers the heck out of me. Why should I care if somebody wants to buy ugly tomatoes, so long as they meet standard food safety guidelines? I happen to care a lot about the appearance of my food—I won’t eat a banana that’s anything but bright yellow, for example—but why is it the government’s business to apply anal-retentive appearance standards, that have nothing to do with food quality, to my food? Appearance standards are for the free market to determine, aren’t they?

I’ll bet by now you’re thinking that the UglyRipe must be hideously ugly. It’s not. It’s a little lumpy, sure, but I wouldn’t call it ugly. Heck, being a bit short in the produce intelligence department I probably wouldn’t even notice anything different about them if I saw them in the grocery store.

Yet another example of petty government excess blocking consumers from having a wide variety of choices. ::

sigh::

The Urinal Game

December 21, 2004 at 12:18am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Are you ever confused about which urinal to use in public restrooms? Don’t fret!
The Urinal Game is here to help. You’ll never pick the wrong urinal again!

How to Price Your Products

December 20, 2004 at 5:47pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Joel Spolsky has an interesting article on pricing software. Although the article has a software orientation, the topics he covers are relevant to most any situation in which you want to know how much to charge for a product or service.

A Night on the Town

December 19, 2004 at 5:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus and I went out for our version of a night on the town last night. Dinner and a movie is about as exciting as our nights on the town ever get. But truthfully I don’t think we could handle much more excitement than that.

We began at Crawdaddy’s, down in the Haymarket. Mrs. Wilson and I love Crawdaddy’s. The place appears to be a total dive. Let’s just say the interior won’t ever compete with The Venue. But that’s ok. It gives the place character, and it’s a character Crawdaddy’s is not afraid to embrace. When we walked in around 5:45 we were the only people there. What a shame. There really should be a wait at a place like Crawdaddy’s.

The food, as usual, was excellent. Mrs. Wilson got her usual crawfish pie, while I got my usual Ultimate Big Ass Burrito. My burrito was a little disappointing because it wasn’t nearly as spicy as it could have been (I ordered it with Crawdaddy’s own mofo salsa). That’s probably for the best, though, because sitting in a movie theater with a gut full of habanero-based salsa probably could have made for a few uncomfortable moments—or one very, very prolonged one.

After Crawdaddy’s we headed over to the Lincoln Grand, Lincoln’s newest movie theater and, at 14 screens, its only megaplex. Douglas Theaters, the City of Lincoln, and the Downtown Lincoln Association all have high hopes for The Grand as part of Downtown Lincoln’s revitalization. If Douglas doesn’t get some better management into The Grand, it ain’t gonna last long.

Let me say one thing up front: The Grand is an attractive place, inside and out (although Mrs. Wils

on was not crazy about the ‘70’s orange countertops in the restrooms). The stadium seating is nice, the eye-catching exterior decor is nice ... you get the picture. But the things that people really remember—like how long they had to stand in line to buy a ticket, and how organized the seating process was—were executed very poorly. Most critically, none of the employees seemed to have been trained in the art of customer service. While waiting to enter our theater we stood among a mass of dozens of people. People wishing to see several different movies were all grouped together in one very disorganized—and disgruntled—mob. From what I could understand the “correct” procedure was to fight your way through the mob, find the ticket-taker at the front of the mob, ask him if your movie was seating yet, and when he told you no, return to the back of the mob. The procedure annoyed the hell out of the ticket-taker and the customers. And once the ticket-taker decided we could be seated ... what a madhouse. Eventually two more ticket-takers showed up to help, but the damage had been done.

The movie we decided to see was Closer. I thought it was very well done, although I can certainly see why many people wouldn’t like it. Closer is a tale of sex, trust, and betrayal among four people. In my opinion the four main actors—Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Clive Owen—performed very well, but I’m no cinema buff. The movie moves pretty slowly and is mainly dialogue-driven, but it held my attention throughout. If you don’t mind frank discussions about sex, I recommend seeing for yourself if Closer is something you enjoy. If you flip out at the mere hint of The Evil ‘F’ Word, Closer isn’t for you.

Fetus, Honda Civic…What’s the difference?

December 17, 2004 at 8:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Here’s a repugnant headline from the Omaha World-Herald: Pregnant woman killed; 8-month fetus stolen. “Stolen?” One steals watches and cars and pretty little trinkets. One does not “steal” a human being.

Ugh.

[Update: 12/17/04 4:16pm]The thing was recovered! Oh wait, it’s not a thing any more—it has finally achieved baby status.

In all seriousness, this is great news. At least now the poor grieving husband is not also a grieving father. Not that that’s much of a consolation, but in a grisly situation like this, it’s something.[/update]

Don’t Piss Off the Plus-Sized Community

December 17, 2004 at 5:14pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

This tale from the University of Oregon is pretty entertaining. Apparently last year’s production of The Vagina Monologues didn’t go over well because some groups were underrepresented: the “women of color community,” the “plus-sized community,” and the “queer community” were all offended that “their people” didn’t have prominent roles (or any roles at all). So this year everybody gets to play, there are no auditions, and, in theory, everybody will be happy. Or something.

Which raises the issue: I thought acting was all about being something you’re not. Doesn’t it take something away from the performance if everybody just plays ... herself?

New Dining Venue

December 17, 2004 at 4:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

There’s a new dining venue in town called, oddly enough, Venue Restaurant and Lounge. It’s not your everyday restaurant. Why? Well clue #1 is that they serve duck and creme brulee, not common features on menus in Lincoln, Nebraska. Clue #2 is that their steaks cost over $20. Again, not common in Lincoln. (After all, it’s not like the steaks have to travel all that far to arrive at your plate.)

It looks like a place that is worth visiting, if only rarely. There is certainly a market for snooty food in Lincoln, and Venue is likely to cater to a portion of that market. I, personally, wouldn’t have chosen 70th & Pioneers as a location, though. The old Ruby Tuesday’s in the Haymarket could have made an excellent location for this type of restaurant. Whereas 70th & Pioneers will rely on locals, a Haymarket location thrives on locals and visitors. And even if Venue is shooting for locals, southwest Lincoln may have been a wiser choice. There’s a whoooole lot of money east of 27th Street and south of Old Cheney Road.

Anyway, I wish the owners the best of luck. Lincolnites love their food, so as long as Venue actually serves food that’s worth the price, they’ll do just fine.

Long Weekend Ahead

December 17, 2004 at 4:24pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I have a loooong weekend ahead of me. Twelve indoor soccer games await me: 4 tonight, 4 tomorrow, and 4 on Sunday. The games on Saturday and Sunday don’t bother me so much. But tonight’s games mean I won’t get home until 10:00pm or so, and I won’t have eaten supper yet. My body will be pretty ticked off at me, but whaddayagonnado?

On the plus side, the Missus and I hope to get together with friends on Saturday night. We don’t have a specific plan yet, but I’m sure whatever plan we do come up with will include food. Mmmm…food.

Bowling Together, Bowling Alone

December 16, 2004 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

When Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone was released in 2000, it took the academic and civic world by storm. Putnam’s thesis is, in short, that as bowling leagues go, so goes society. Bowling leagues have decreased over the years, a trend which is associated with simultaneous declines in civic participation, social capital, and so on.

Now Jason Kaufman has a retort.

For the Common Good? American Civic Life and the Golden Age of Fraternity argues that, contrary to Putnam’s assertions, the decline of some types of civic organizations—fraternal clubs in particular—is actually a good thing. Fraternal organizations were divisive; their decline indicates that Americans are becoming more equal and less desirous of exclusive clubs to “protect” themselves from others. Kaufman’s proposal sounds far from bullet-proof, but I’m intrigued enough to pick up his book from the library. (It doesn’t appear Lincoln’s libraries have a copy yet.)

I’ll keep you posted.

The Frustrations of Winter

December 16, 2004 at 4:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I happen to love winter, but I know that many (most?) Lincolnites would prefer to skip all that snow, ice, and bitter wind. Love it or hate it, nearly all of us can empathize with this guy‘s frustrations. (530KB WMV file)

Daisy Photo

December 16, 2004 at 12:24am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I don’t know why, but I feel like posting a photo of Daisy today. So here she is.

Speaking of Daisy, I took her in this morning to get her hair cut. She wasn’t all that shaggy, but it had been two months since her last trim. With Christmas coming up we wanted her to look extra-nice for the inevitable barrage of photos as she shreds the piles of wrapping paper and boxes.

Shh!

December 10, 2004 at 9:39pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Do you ever get frustrated by people who think that speaking on a cellphone requires increasing the volume of their voice by no fewer than 30 decibels? Or, more generally, does it just irk the heck out of you when people yammer away on a cellphone in a place where you’re forced to listen? Would you like to do something about it? The Society for Handheld Hushing has some tools for you to use in your (futile) quest.

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