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“Wait a second. What’s this about?”

August 16, 2005 at 2:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Yet again, the Lincoln City Council has come up with a new way to top itself. The Lincoln Journal Star reports this morning that the Council was “distracted” and “failed to ask the right questions” when it approved pay raises last December for M class employees. My major complaints:

  • This stuff happens all the time. The Lincoln City Council is notorious for not thinking things through. Councilman Jon Camp said he wants “to resolve any doubt and make sure the information is accurate.” Why weren’t doubts resolved and information checked in the first place?
  • The City refused to give salary study information to the Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA). When LIBA conducted its own study, LIBA could not confirm many of the City’s numbers. Governments should not be in the habit of hiding public information from the public.

Even if it turns out that the City did everything right in this situation, they will have done it in spite of themselves. Any time Council members admit incompetence and the City refuses to divulge information (which is contradicted by other sources), the public rightly wonder what the heck is going on. This is yet another example of why Lincolnites ought to be ashamed of our leadership. We should do better.

When Would You Pass on Gas?

August 15, 2005 at 8:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I have a not-so-hypothetical question for you all. Gas prices are climbing, that’s no secret. How high will they have to climb before you make substantial changes to your lifestyle, either by force or by choice? What will those changes entail?

I don’t plan to make many changes, regardless of the price of gas. Being a Star Tran user I hardly drive my own vehicle, which can go well over a month on a single tank of gas. Driving around the region to officiate soccer and baseball games could get pricey. Colleges pay mileage, so their games aren’t a problem. For games at other levels I would just need to decide how far I’m willing to drive before demanding a raise. The Missus drives about 70 miles each weekday, so we’ll take a hit there. But fortunately her car gets reasonable gas mileage.

Beyond that, well, I suppose we’ll take vacations closer to home. But we don’t take very many vacations, so that is hardly an issue. Flights to the in-laws’ place in Albuquerque will likely become more expensive, but the in-laws pay for or subsidize The Missus’s tickets and I only go once per year (or less).

In short, we are situated pretty well. For now. Knock on wood.

Update: Prices could be worse!

Sunday Paper

August 15, 2005 at 2:24pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The LJS apparently loves hybrid vehicles so much they decided to print an article about them twice in Sunday’s paper. I shouldn’t be surprised. The Sunday paper is quickly approaching 0% content/100% advertisements. That the LJS would print the same article twice on the same day is pretty consistent with the overall quality of the Sunday rag.

Lincoln’s Downtown Gyro Wars

August 14, 2005 at 4:14pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

There was an interesting article in the LJS today about the rivalry between the “Gourmet Grill” and “Ali Baba’s” on the corner of 14th and O. It was nice to get some comprehensive history on these two joints so kudos to the LJS for this one.

I should add, I can chime in a bit on a few of the issues/observations raised in the article:

1) It is also my observation that Naqib isn’t exactly the friendliest guy in the world. He could learn a lot from George in this respect (or for that matter George’s main helper - the guy who always looks like he just rolled out of bed).

2) Although Naqib may not be so personable, his brother and nephew are actually really nice guys.

And 3) - you heard it here folks: not sure if this is provable or not - but it is rumored that the GG uses Kronos gyro meat products (ie known for that ubiquitous “smiling woman” poster) whereas Ali Baba’s uses Grecian Delight. Having known others in the fast food greek/mideast grill type industry, it is well known in that community that Grecian Delight is the superior (and more expensive) gyro meat than Kronos, and the distinguishing diner can tell. 

Which is why I go to Ali Baba’s regularly and prefer it to the Gourmet Grill. But beyond gyros - the grilled chicken kabobs are the best - and ask them to use tandoori seasoning as well on it.

Who Turned Out the Lights

August 14, 2005 at 12:23am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Power went out for an hour or two (I wasn’t really paying attention) in parts of Lincoln today. We here at the Wilson homestead (48th & Highway 2 area) were among the affected. I received reports that folks both north and south of the 40th & Old Cheney area noticed their lights flicker, but their power did not actually go out.

Who else was affected? Does anybody have any information on the cause?

Ribfest: A Quick Report

August 12, 2005 at 4:24am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I hit Ribfest tonight. It was the first time I had ever been to Ribfest in the evening; typically I visit during the day since I work Downtown. Overall it was a great experience.

I do have some gripes, all of them directed at Johnson’s BBQ. For one thing, their service was pathetic and slow. In part that was because they used local help (high school aged girls). I’m not bashing the girls necessarily, although they didn’t go out of their way to provide anything better than mediocre service. Considering they were probably being paid minimum wage and I’m certain they received only scant directions on what to do, I can’t really fault them. The behind-the-scenes workers—that is, the guys actually running the joint—were lazy and slow. I realize they’re probably tired, but 1) it’s only day one of a weekend-long event, and 2) I’m paying them way too much money for them to be bums. I ordered a BBQ pork sandwich. The pork was barely (and I do mean barely) done, and the sauce was pathetic. I’m not sure what it was called, but even Kraft pulls off a better barbecue sauce. Last year I ordered their thermonuclear sauce. Now that was a sauce that was worth the money. Anyway, my suggestion: skip Johnson’s this year.

For an encore I decided to try some ribs from Rasta Joe’s. I had overheard a guy talking about how good they were, so I figured I’d check them out myself. Not only was the sauce about 65 times better than the Johnson’s miserable sluice, the ribs were very tender and the meat was impressively flavorful. Rasta Joe’s saved the day.

Throughout the evening Soul Dawg performed on the stage. They started off a little rough, but they really picked up steam as they went along. Their peak was probably early in their second set when everything really clicked. By the time they finished for the evening they had drawn quite a crowd around the stage. There was even s

ome (playful) booing when they wrapped up and didn’t play an encore.

The highlight of the evening, other than Rasta Joe’s ribs, was definitely overhearing two guys in line behind me discuss one’s sexual escapades with his lactating wife. I’ll spare you the details.

Blogroll Produces

August 12, 2005 at 12:32am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Ever since I began the blogroll a few weeks ago I’ve noticed the hits on this site jumping a fair bit. The new visitors haven’t been commenting, but that’s ok. I don’t mind lurkers. Hi lurkers!

For those of you who don’t know what this whole Lincolnite thing is about, I suppose I should explain. Eventually Lincolnite will be a neato community resource for the city of Lincoln. But it’s a work in progress. I chip away at it when I can.

If you have any suggestions, or if you would just like to de-lurk, drop me a note in the comments.

Pig Out

August 11, 2005 at 11:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m headed off to Ribfest in a couple hours. I hope you are planning to attend. Even if you’re not a pork fan there are plenty of other options, including beef, chicken, and a little seafood. Vegetarian? Uhh, I think you might be out of luck. You could always chew on a used napkin or something.

Everybody’s favorite band Soul Dawg—featuring my high school track coach (and cross country coach, and history teacher, and citizenship issues teacher) Ted, and my favorite substitute trumpet teacher and fellow bus rider Joel—is performing tonight at 6:30. Look for me near the stage; I’ll be the one trying to throw rib bones into Ted’s saxophone.

Friendliest Bus Riders?

August 11, 2005 at 2:37pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Have any of you who ride Star Tran—all 25 of you—ever noticed how friendly the riders are to the bus drivers? I’m not talking about “the regulars” who know the drivers and go to their kids’ birthday parties. I mean the occasional riders, or the ones who ride frequently but who don’t ever interact with the drivers. I’ll bet a good 75% of the riders say either “Thanks” or “Have a good day” when exiting the bus, even when leaving via the back door. And they even say those things to the crappy and/or surly drivers.

I first thought about this after talking with a friend who currently lives in New Jersey. She was very surprised by how different the people are, and she noted that she earns curious stares when she says things like “Thank you” to folks like store clerks. If nothing else, the fact that Lincolnites say “Thanks” to their bus drivers is yet another small reason that I enjoy living in Lincoln.

Sunken Gardens

August 3, 2005 at 2:16pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I dropped by the newly-renovated Sunken Gardens last night. It looks nice. Very, very nice. Some random thoughts:

  • The dome at the entrance is very cool.
  • I like the extensive brick work on the paths. Somebody spent a lot of time cutting and laying bricks.
  • The bench that appears to be the lopped-off top of an old column or pillar is a nice touch.
  • Why is the upper path composed of loose gravel rather than bricks? The gravel was not very stable and thus not very accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Volunteers are being recruited to spend one night per month at the gardens to help prevent vandalism. Seems like a flood light and a couple web cams could do the trick.
  • On the whole the designers did a very good job integrating plenty of appropriate seating opportunities. Their biggest fault—and it’s not very big—was in leaving out moveable seating. But that’s a minor quibble.
  • Even the parking lot looks nice. Nobody ever spends time designing parking lots to be attractive. Kudos to whoever spent the time to think about the parking lot.
  • The sculptures (Rebecca at the Well and another one, the name of which escapes me right now) are very nice, but they are situated in locations that may make them easier to vandalize.

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