Latest Blog Posts

Billion Dollar Buses to Nowhere

July 29, 2005 at 2:31pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

In honor of Discovery’s foam-flinging trip to space, I think we all need to stop and read “This Bus Goes Nowhere” by Vin Suprynowicz.

Our Struggle

July 29, 2005 at 2:26pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The global war on terror has been rebranded as a “struggle” by the Bush Administration. I suppose there are lots of reasons why the change was made, including the fact that wars can be won decisively, while struggles tend to continue for a while. But how wise is it to refer to the battle against terrorism as a struggle? Doesn’t struggle invoke images of strain and difficulty, all while getting the crap beaten out of oneself? Even if you win a struggle, you’re still pretty dang wiped out in the end. That hardly seems marketable. I assume that Bush & Co. ran the word past a few focus groups. If so, they need some new focus group participants. Struggle, after all, is associated with folks that Bush ought not be mingling with, most notably Karl Marx (“class struggle”) and Adolph Hitler (”Mein Kampf” [my struggle]).

Welcome to America, former home of the War on Terror, now known as “unser Kampf.”

The FBI Don’t Need No Oversight!

July 28, 2005 at 7:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The FBI wants the authority to issue subpoenas without having to deal with that pesky problem of judicial oversight. Having to mess with judges just slows things down, after all. And it increases the odds that you can’t trample on an individual’s civil liberties without somebody making a big fuss. The money quote:

Mueller said he objects to any oversight of an FBI subpoena outside of the bureau.

Right. Because heaven forbid the FBI actually have to justify its actions to the public before indefinitely detaining some poor soul. Secrecy and closed doors are good! It’s for your own protection! Anybody who thinks otherwise is a terrorist—or, worse, a communist!


My Professor in the News

July 26, 2005 at 7:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

It’s always good to see UNL faculty research featured in the national media, but it’s even more exciting when one of the featured individuals is somebody you worked with. In this case, Professor John Hibbing is helping to stir up debate by publishing research that suggests that political behavior is linked to genetics, and that political behavior and party identification do not correlate nearly as well as most people assume. It is interesting to watch Professor Hibbing’s research evolve. I first worked with him shortly after Congress as Public Enemy: Public Attitudes Toward American Political Institutions came out. That was followed by Stealth Democracy: Americans’ Beliefs about How Government Should Work—a book for which I prepared the index, and I even caught a couple (minor) typos shortly before it went to press. Professor Hibbing is a great guy, he’s very intelligent, and he is a lot of fun to work with. I look forward to seeing where his research takes him.

I’m Back, And I Brought Rain

July 26, 2005 at 2:24pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

You can thank me for the rain and cool weather today. I brought both back with me from Utah, just for all you folks whining about our little heat wave of late. You’re welcome.

Utah was a lot of fun, but it definitely was not a flawless trip. Let’s see: we had car troubles a mere 80 miles into the trip; we had to stay in a hotel the first night as a result; I encountered my first experience with altitude sickness… I could go on, but I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t have a good time. It was just incredible how many things went wrong over the course of the trip. Oddly enough the bad luck actually began three years ago when we were returning from our first trip to Utah. Back then our camper blew a tire just outside of Kearney, making us arrive home a couple hours later than we should have.

I did manage to take several pretty decent photos, so that was a plus. I will eventually post the photos and more detail about the trip. Hopefully I’ll get around to that this week or else I’ll never do it.

I’m pretty tuckered today, but I suppose that’s to be expected after a busy trip. My dad and I have already started planning our next trip, probably for 2007.


July 20, 2005 at 3:51am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’m leaving for the Uintas Mountains of Utah tomorrow morning. My dad and I are shooting for a 6:00a.m. departure. Barring a surprise trip to an internet cafe I won’t be checking in again until Monday or Tuesday. See you then!


July 20, 2005 at 12:38am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Last night I was reunited with a long-lost friend.



July 19, 2005 at 12:32am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I have jalapenos! And habaneros! And serranos! And kung paos!

Well, they’re still maturing, but the fruits are starting to show up. Huzzah! The kung paos are the most developed (and plentiful) right now. Just for kicks I grabbed one off one of the plants and took a bite. It was a bit mas picante than I expected. (The Missus complained that her cheek burned after I gave her a quick kiss.) That inspired me to look up the Scovilles of my chiles. The run-down:

Jalapenos: 3,500 - 5,000
Habaneros: 100,000 - 350,000
Serranos: 10,000 - 25,000
Kung paos: 7,000 - 12,000
Anaheims: 800 - 1,400

For some reason I was under the impression that serranos were less picante than jalapenos. Guess I was wrong.

Go Team!

July 18, 2005 at 7:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I often get songs stuck in my head. Once a song is in there, I hum it, whistle it, finger it (get your mind out of the gutter—I mimic the fingerings that would be used to play it on the trumpet), or bob my head to it. Currently playing in my head is the Coach theme song.

I’m just sharing that with you so that you, too, can have the Coach theme song stuck in your head.

Send an E-Mail, Go to Jail

July 15, 2005 at 12:18am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

A number of e-newsletters are in big trouble, thanks to new laws in Utah and Michigan. I love how politicians think that regulating these sorts of issues will actually solve anything, as opposed to criminalizing innocent behavior and doing nothing to stop the behavior they meant to criminalize.

Any law gurus (calling Mr. T!) care to analyze the situation?

The Ice Man Eateth

July 14, 2005 at 8:02pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I saw Ice Man today! He was eating at Chipotle with some girl. I really wanted to go up to him and say “Dude, you were, like, so gay in Top Gun. That volleyball scene was soooo homoerotic. How come the director cut out the Ice Man / Maverick make-out scene?” But I didn’t.

Curiously, he looked just like he did in this photo, but he was wearing a green jump suit instead of a white dress uniform. And he hasn’t aged a day. In fact, that’s the strange part about the whole experience. I think Ice Man must have invented a time machine to hop from 1986 to today. He must be smart. He didn’t act all that smart in the movie.


Firefox, You’re Ticking Me Off

July 14, 2005 at 12:39am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’m a big fan of Firefox. It’s a great web browser. I find it far more enjoyable to use than Internet Explorer, Opera, or any other browser I’ve ever used. I’ve loved Firefox ever since I first got my hands on it, which was sometime back in the Version 0.8 stage or so.

That being said, sometimes Firefox really ticks me off. Lately, in fact, it crashes on me about once per day. They aren’t random crashes, either. They typically occur when I visit pages that run heavy scripts or code of some sort. A page heavy on DHTML killed Firefox today. That was after an earlier crash, the cause of which I don’t recall. Two crashes in one day is unforgivable, especially crashes caused by activities Firefox needs to be able to handle if it’s going to claim to be the best web browser available. I don’t have any proof, but I’m tempted to say that I have more crashes with 1.0.4 than I had with earlier versions; I don’t recall this kind of grief happening a couple months ago.

I realize Firefox is just at 1.0, and 1.0s will always be somewhat immature. But daily (or even weekly) crashes are something up with which users will not put. At least, not the users that Firefox needs to attract in order to become a true competitor to Internet Explorer. Firefox 1.1 is due within the next few months; I hope that version gets rid of some of the crashy behavior so that more people will be willing to give Firefox the chance it deserves.

The Bomb Was a Bust

July 13, 2005 at 7:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Yesterday’s bomb scare outside Oso Burrito was a bust. The Journal Star reported this morning (article not available online) that the suitcase was empty. That’s a good thing, of course. But either a bomb or a whole bunch of size 54DD bras would have made for a much more exciting story.

Gardening for Dummies

July 13, 2005 at 7:36pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

If you’ve ever been to the Wilson homestead you know that my garden takes up about 40% of my back yard. That’s not saying a whole lot, of course; because the house sits on a corner lot, the back yard is only large enough for the garden, a patio, and a small patch of grass. The Missus and I made the conscious decision to give the garden a big chunk of our precious back yard real estate for two reasons. For one thing we wanted the garden to be close to us, so that we would tend to it and keep it thriving. The other reason was more practical: it’s one of the few spots in our tree-dominated yard that gets a decent amount of sun.

Anyway, I’ve learned over the past year and a half that I really enjoy gardening. I’m not any good at it, mind you, but I like working in the garden, and I love that I have access to all sorts of fresh food a mere dozen steps from my back door. Recently the garden has really begun taking off, renewing my interest after a bit of a ho-hum period in June.

Our yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumber plants have been going strong for a couple weeks now. Our acorn squash plant is going strong, but the fruits won’t be ready for a while. Our pumpkin plant is flowering like crazy, so hopefully we’ll have a bunch of big orange pumpkins in time for Halloween.

But what’s really grabbed my attention recently is the growth spurt put on by our pepper and chile plants. Our green bell pepper plants are beginning to fruit (no sign of fruit yet from the yellow and red pepper plants, although they are blooming). Our kung paos (thai chiles) have been out for a while, and I noticed our serranos, anaheims, and jalapenos are all beginning to show up. (Along with some fruit on a plant creatively called “big chile.” I’m guessing it’s an anaheim or NuMex variant, but who knows. Hopefully the fruit will be good for chiles rellenos.) Sadly, my little habanero plant, although healthy looking

, doesn’t seem to be doing much.

Given how well the garden seems to grow, you’d think I actually knew something about gardening. Ha! I don’t know a darn thing about gardening. I know the difference between live and dead plants, and I’m pretty good at noticing the symptoms of dying plants. Beyond that, though, I’m pretty useless. A friend of mine is a soil scientist—I know, sounds boring as heck, doesn’t it?—and during his most recent visit he commented that the garden soil seems to be of fairly high quality. That was good, and surprising, news, especially considering the fact that the previous owners of the house had obviously neglected the soil in the back yard over the years.

If anybody out there wants some garden-fresh vegetables, let me know. If this year’s harvest is like last year’s we’ll have plenty of extras to go around. And with the garden being 50% larger this year, well, we could really have our hands full!

My First Bomb Threat

July 12, 2005 at 8:36pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

What an exciting lunch!

Right after I ordered at Oso, the owner, Nader Sepahpur, came in and began speaking with his employees behind the counter. He asked if they knew anything about the suitcase sitting outside, how long it had been there, etc. In a rather “do I really have to do this?” sort of tone, he said something to the effect of “I suppose I should call the police.” Sure enough, police officers and fire fighters soon began blocking off the area with their vehicles and caution tape.

Unfortunately, that also included blocking the entrance to most every business on the south side of O Street between 14th and Centennial Mall. We had to use the back fire door to get out of Oso. When we did we saw that there was a large burgundy suitcase sitting on the sidewalk not far from the now closed board sports store (a half building west of Oso). As we left, the bomb squad was prepping their nifty suicide robot to investigate the suitcase and, I assume, to blow it up if necessary.

There were several camera crews on scene, so I’m sure more details will be made available on the news tonight, and in the Journal Star tomorrow. It’ll be interesting to hear what sorts of exciting things were inside.

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