Latest Blog Posts

George Clooney In: Raggedy Andy Goes to Washington

April 30, 2006 at 4:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Is it just me, or do George Clooney’s cheeks make him look a lot like Raggedy Andy?

George Clooney looking a lot like Raggedy Andy

Friday Night Assembly

April 29, 2006 at 1:13am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Assembled: One baby crib.

Newly assembled crib with Daisy inside

For those of you who are interested the crib is a convertible “Infinity Crib” from Baby’s Dream Furniture, Inc. out of Buena Vista, Georgia. We bought it from Kids’ Stuff on North 27th Street. It is convertible, which means it converts from a crib, to a toddler bed, to a double bed. Assembly was a piece of cake: twenty bolts and I was done. I only found two small problems with the product: the top rail of the front frame is just a little loose (it just needs a touch of glue), and the instructions say in large letters “PHILLIPS HEAD SCREWDRIVER IS REQUIRED”, even though the only tools needed are the included allen wrench and hex wrench. Tiny complaints, both. I think we got a pretty decent crib for not much money.

Now that I’m in a handy man mood I’m half tempted to install a couple ceiling fans we’ve had sitting around for a while. Too bad I don’t know anything about electrical wiring. Guess I’ll have to give my dad a call tomorrow and see if he wants to tackle that project with me.

What To Do

April 28, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Let’s say, just for fun, that all of my games this weekend are cancelled. My lone high school soccer match tonight, my two high school soccer matches tomorrow, my two youth baseball games tomorrow night, and any Latino soccer games I may be assigned on Sunday. (Pst, Juan, where are my assignments?!) What the heck will I do with myself? The Missus plans to do homework for the Masters course she’s taking, so that rules out computer activities. Yard work is out due to the rain. I can’t paint because the room I want to paint happens to be the office, which is where The Missus will be camped out.

I suppose I could clean. The Missus would like that. I could go buy a weed whacker. That’d be entertaining for about fifteen minutes. I could assemble the crib. That’ll seem a little strange since there’s nobody to sleep in it yet, but we may as well be prepared. I could organize the basement storage area. Ugh, that doesn’t sound fun at all, but it needs to be done.

Anybody have any better ideas?

Senatorial Stupidity

April 27, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Senate Republicans want to send you a check for $100 to spend on gas. I’m speechless. It’s like watching third-graders run government.

Seriously, who could possibly think this is a good idea? Can anybody defend this idiocy?

RIP Paper Boy

April 26, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The paper boy is dead, or at least nearly so. Once every boy’s dream first job, the task today is more often than not handed off to an anonymous adult.

I was a paper boy for several years, beginning in fifth grade and continuing all through junior high. I began with the Lincoln Journal and I experienced the gradual merging of the Journal and the Star. I used to walk the route every day with my dog, Jodi, the ten-pound black schnoodle I never had to put on a leash. On Sunday mornings my dad would drive around with me in our old Ford conversion van, and when we finished we would have breakfast at Hy-Vee with the hunters in their orange vests. I delivered papers in sun, rain, sleet, hail, and snow. Once it was so icy and windy that when I accidentally dropped a newspaper, I had to skate after it for two blocks as it slid down the street. I even delivered papers through a couple tornado warnings. My mom wasn’t happy about that.

In a way it’s a little sad that my kids won’t at least have the chance to have such a cool first job. But then again, by the time my kids are old enough to want a job, all sorts of new opportunities will have opened up.

So long, paper boy.

Jane Jacobs Dead at 89

April 26, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Jane Jacobs, author of Death and Life of Great American Cities is dead at age 89 (subscription or BugMeNot required). That won’t mean anything to most of you, but those of you who study the urban form know that Jacobs was a legend in her field. RIP.

Weekend Wrap-Up

April 24, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

All in all I had a pretty decent weekend. I didn’t get nearly as much trash pick-up done as I would have liked, but I think I had a pretty good excuse. I received a last-minute plea to help train some new Little League umpires for the upcoming season. At first I was pretty bummed that I wouldn’t have a photo of a big stack of trash bags to show off today, but the training session went really well, despite the fact that I ad libbed the entire thing. Trash pick-up along Beal Slough will just have to continue indefinitely until I get it all collected.

On Saturday I had the pleasure of centering the Lincoln Lutheran vs. Elkhorn boys soccer match, featuring the top two teams in Class B. As I expected it was a great match. Elkhorn ended up winning 2-0 with goals in the 75th and 76th minutes. Look for an exciting rematch at the State Tournament.

An assessor was present in the stands so my assistants and I received some great feedback following the match. The assessor seemed pleased with my performance overall. He only really dinged me for two things, both of which I agreed with, and both of which are easily fixable. He must have thought, after seeing me a couple times this season, that I’m doing fine, because Saturday night I received my assignments for districts. I’m not only assigned to the state’s strongest district (4 teams in the top 10 in wildcard points), but I’m assigned to two centers, including the district championship match. That bodes well for some good assignments at the State Tournament, including my goal for the season, earning a center in one of the four State Championship matches.

On Sunday I umped a couple baseball games, both of which went extremely smoothly, save for a 30 minute lightning delay. My partner was a Wesleyan student who was umpiring in Lincoln for the first time. He did a great job.

I finished off the weekend with a trip to Crawdaddy’s with The Missus and Husker Pilot, who just returned from AMS (Academy of Military Science). Welcome back, HP!

Lone Star Cliche

April 24, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Can we please declare an end to the overuse and abuse of headlines in the form of “Opponent Hooks ‘Horns” and “‘Horns Hook Opponent”? Pretty please?

Achy Breaky Ref

April 21, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Ugh, it’s that point in the soccer season when referees who have been doing a lot of games start to feel tired and worn out, and injuries start popping up. I am surprisingly energetic, despite a history of problems with in-season fatigue. But I’ve been bit by the injury bug. First came what appears to be an anterolateral shin splint in my right leg. It doesn’t bother me much when I walk or run forward, but changing directions, running backwards, and side-stepping are all somewhat painful.

Then last night I developed what could be a much more serious injury. (Where “serious”, in this case, means that it could really screw up my ability to referee for a while.) Not five minutes into my first game last night I felt a twinge, and I instantly knew what had happened: groin strain. The last 75 minutes of that game were not especially enjoyable. I then had to go ref a youth game immediately afterwards. The muscle felt like it loosened up a little, but I still had to be pretty cautious. I hoped that a good night’s sleep would magically cure me. It didn’t.

So here I am, a referee with a respectable chance of earning the honor to center one of the state championship games, and I’m injured. Just to make things fun, I’m scheduled to center what should be a great match between two of the state’s best boys teams on Saturday, and last I heard an assessor plans to be there. (That’s a good thing, by the way. It’s hard to get better without being critiqued by an assessor now and then.) I don’t want to, but I may have to bail out of some of my game assignments next week to allow myself some time to heal.

If anybody has any magic healing potions or techniques, I’m all ears!

Do You Know What Today Is?

April 20, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Today is 4/20. Giggle.

The Missus and I supped at Outback last night. We hadn’t been there for ages, nor had we been near 48th and ‘O’ since the construction began. It felt strange blowing through that intersection without stopping. The food at Outback was pretty decent, and the service was very good, if a tad too perky at times for my tastes. We ended up sitting next to two middle-aged women having a girls night out, which was a bit of a downer. They bitched about, well, just about everything, but as far as I could tell none of the stuff they talked about was really that big of a deal. Smile, ladies! You’re eating good food, you’re with nice company—quit complaining about stupid crap and enjoy the moment.

Today through the weekend look to be beautiful spring days. I hope you have plans to get outside and enjoy them.

I Can Bearly Stand It

April 18, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I am suffering some extreme Oso withdrawal. I didn’t get my weekly Oso fix last week, so it has been two whole weeks since I last had a tasty Oso burrito. I’m gonna make it there today, though, darn it. I can’t wait for my jerk chicken burrito with black beans, chipotle crema, jalapenos, and habanero salsa. Mmmm… 12:30 can’t come fast enough.

Nuclear Power to the People

April 17, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I am a strong proponent of nuclear power as the best overall source of energy available. It’s clean, it’s cheap, it’s sustainable. Surely Hell hath frozen over, for now even the founder of Greenpeace agrees with me:

Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely.

Breaking Even

April 17, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Even though I started my taxes back in February, I just wrapped them up last night. The Missus and I are owed a little from the feds, and we owe a little to the state. Add in the cost of Turbo Tax and we basically broke even. A big refund would have been nice in a way, but this outcome makes me even more pleased. It means that, despite the complexities added to our tax return by my various side jobs, we managed to play the tax game pretty well.

This year’s taxes may be confusing as heck if we end up wrapping up our adoption this year. Adoptions add a layer of ifs, ands, and buts that I’m not sure I’m ready for. Not to mention all of the other financial considerations to think about. Oh well, that’s a worry I’m more than happy to worry about.


April 14, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Seder PlateWe’re hosting a small Passover seder at 625 Elm Street tonight for a few family and friends. It has become an annual tradition at our house, to the point where my family members ask about it every spring. We keep it pretty low-key and informal—we use our own homemade haggadah, for example—mainly because in any given year there are only 1 or 2 Jews at the table. We have a good time and enjoy the food. (Except for the maror. Ick.)

As I mentioned, we use our own haggadah. We keep things pretty short, but we don’t keep them this short! (Click on the intro page to start the animation. There is sound, so have your speakers ready.)

If you have never attended a seder, it’s worth trying sometime. If nothing else, go for the matzo ball soup and wine. There are always community seders which non-Jewish guests are welcome (and encouraged) to attend.

Good Decisions

April 12, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I reffed a soccer game out in Grand Island last night. Mid-way through the second half I suspended the game due to lightning off to the south. It was a difficult decision to make because on the one hand the lightning was putting on a heck of a show, but on the other hand my usual rule of thumb—the 30/30 rule—had not yet kicked in. There was no thunder at all, so determining the lightning’s distance was pretty much impossible. Eventually my partners and I decided that because the wind was blowing so hard perpindicular to the storm, it may have been carrying the lightning’s sound away with it. (I know that’s not exactly how sound works, but you know what I mean.) We halted the game, cleared the field, and sat around for 30 minutes. As so often happens in these situations, the lightning bolt that convinced us to stop the game was also the last bolt we saw. Darn it, we could have kept playing. Then I saw the front page of this morning’s Journal Star:

Teenage girl killed by lightning in Beatrice

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