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Run, Seng, Run

April 30, 2006 at 3:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star took a look at whether or not Mayor Colleen Seng should run for a second term in this morning’s paper. I took a look at that question way back in November.

The article’s main points seem to be:

  • Mayor Colleen Seng is nice.
  • She likes being Mayor.
  • She works hard.
  • She thrives on acceptance and agreement.
  • Her approval rating is weak.
  • She gets beat pretty good in polls comparing her to her likely challengers.

As I have already said, I don’t think she should run again. This morning’s article only reinforces my opinion. As a community, Lincoln probably needs a mayor like Colleen Seng every now and then. I don’t think we are the type of community that can be led by an aggressive, hard-charging executive year after year after year. But right now, I think the community is ready for a little aggressiveness. We want somebody with answers, and we want him or her to put those answers in place. There can be danger in that sort of leadership, of course, but I think Lincoln is ready to tolerate the challenges.

Nanny State Misunderstanding

April 29, 2006 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This morning’s Lincoln Journal Star editorial demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the term “nanny state”. The editorial supports nanny statism in the context of barring drivers from driving while distracted. But such laws designed to prevent Driver A from killing Driver B (or Pedestrian C) have little to do with a nanny state.

The nanny state involves the government preventing or discouraging a person from engaging in behaviors that are “harmful” primarily to himself. Such policies include anti-smoking laws, junk food taxes, neo-prohibitionism, sex toy bans, and so on. The LJS is confused in that it conflates any restriction on personal behaviors with nanny statism. But laws that restrict personal behaviors on public property do not necessarily rise to the level of nanny statism. Banning talking on a cell phone while walking on a public sidewalk (which may annoy others, but doesn’t threaten to harm them) would be nanny state creep; banning make-up application while driving 75 miles per hour on a public Interstate does threaten others, and is therefore regulatable without fear of the nanny state label.

The problem here is that the LJS’s definition is overbroad. And it is a problem. In the editorial they claim to support one particular so-called nanny state policy, and many people are likely to agree. They see the policy, they see the nanny state label, and they think to themselves, “Gee, I always thought the nanny state was totally irrational, but this policy makes sense.” That in turn leads to folks being more likely to accept other “mild” instances of actual nanny state creep. And once the foot is in the door…

Truth be told the Journal Star’s mistake is pretty minor. And it’s not as though the LJS is the first or only media organization to endorse nanny statism (real or otherwise). But it was an annoying enough mistake that on a quiet Saturday morning I thought, “Eh, what the heck, I’ll blog it.”

By the way, I suppose I should make clear that I don’t necessarily favor banning any specific activity while driving. I don’t have a problem with talking on the cell phone, reading a map, or even applying make-up while driving. Some people are remarkably talented at multi-tasking while behind the wheel. I do, however, support making drivers pay attention to what they’re doing, and holding them liable for damages they cause to persons or private or public property as a direct and probable consequence of their negligence. In other words, the crime ought not be driving while texting, but driving while incompetent. Believe it or not, those laws are already on the book.

Friday Five

April 28, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five Lincolnites I would like to spend a day with:

  1. Mayor Colleen Seng
  2. John Chapo, Executive Director of the Folsom Children’s Zoo
  3. The Downtown “litter patrol”
  4. Butch Hug, University of Nebraska Assistant Athletic Director for Events
  5. Ann Ringlein, Owner of the Lincoln Running Company, Vice President of the Lincoln Track Club, assistant cross country coach and track and field distance coach at Nebraska Wesleyan, etc.

A Certainty of Rain

April 28, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a forecast like this:

  • Friday: 100% chance of rain
  • Friday night: 100% chance of rain
  • Saturday: 100% chance of rain

I hope you didn’t have yard work on your honey-do list this weekend. Then again, if it is on your list, you’re probably pretty thankful right now!

By the way, was anybody else awake last night to hear the cool thunder? I fell asleep on the couch and woke up around 12:45am. Before I went to bed I stepped outside with the dog for a couple minutes. The clouds were lit up with a constant strobe of cloud-to-cloud lightning, and there was persistent, rumbling thunder. It was incredibly eerie, but also pretty neat to experience.

Best Eatin’ in Lincoln

April 27, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Swoof over at Eatin’ in Lincoln is hosting a Best Eatin’ in Lincoln poll. My responses:

  • Mexican
    I’ll give this to La Mexicana, but my favorite is actually Santiago’s in Crete.
  • Pizza
    Yia Yia’s gets the nod by virtue of the combination of its food, atmosphere, and location. I’m also giving an Honorable Mention to Doughboyz for their creative pies.
  • Bar Food
    I plead ignorance on this one.
  • Sandwich
    Bison Witches.
  • East Asian (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese)
    I’m going with Blue Orchid here, but I’m pretty ignorant of the other options available in this category. Anybody care to take me out and educate me?
  • Indian
    The Oven.
  • Steak
    Y’know, I thought about this one, and the only place in Lincoln I’ve never had a bad steak is Outback.
  • Burger
    Grandmother’s makes burgers just the way I like them.
  • Fine Dining
    There aren’t many options to choose from, and of those I have visited, I don’t have a favorite.
  • Casual Dining - there’s a line between Fine and Casual, help me draw it.
    Darned if I know where the line is, but I’ll put in a vote for Lazlo’s Downtown.
  • Sushi
    I plead ignorance.
  • Fish
    Ho boy, this is tough. There isn’t much seafood action going on in Lincoln. I’ll say Beacon Hills.
  • Fast Food
    Oso Burrito, hands down.
  • Chain
    I have a soft spot for Panera Bread.
  • Other/Mish-mash
    Crawdaddy’s. I don’t know what “Other/Mish-mash” means, but I haven’t said Crawdaddy’s yet, so here it is.
  • Best in Show
    By virtue of the consistency of its excellence over the years, The Oven retains its crown.

Now for some categories Swoof missed:

  • Ice Cream
    Ivanna Cone, no doubt about it.
  • Character
    Crawdaddy’s oozes character. Just don’t eat off the floor.
  • Dessert
    I don’t actually have a nominee here because I don’t eat dessert at restaurants very often. But I bet The Missus has a nominee (or twelve).
  • In Memoriam
    Garden Cafe. The original Garden Cafe, back before they started dinking with the menu and screwing everything up, eventually killing one of Lincoln’s best restaurants.
  • Italian
    Valentino’s Grand Italian Buffet. It’s just like the old country. But with more sugar. And chicken nuggets.

Go cast your vote for the Best Eatin’ in Lincoln!

Fix a Street

April 27, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If you could tackle one road project in Lincoln, what would that project consist of, and why would you choose to do that project? Assume you have a reasonable, but not unlimited, amount of funds to work with.

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Skeeter’s

April 27, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I grabbed a quick bite at Skeeter Barnes last night before helping a couple friends move. My meal, the three meat combo, was excellent. The shredded pork was flavorful, the brisket was tender, and the chicken was tasty as always. The Missus, however, was “underwhelmed” by her salad. I’m not a salad guy, but her lettuce looked like something I’d add to our compost heap. She also said the chicken it was topped with was “hard”. I don’t know how chicken gets hard, but I suspect that’s not a good thing.

We actually wonder if management (and/or ownership) has changed. Skeeter’s has taken a step down a notch or two over the past few months. Although my food was excellent this time, on our two previous trips I was unimpressed. There seems to have been a staff turnover recently, because many of the faces we had come to recognize over the years are now conspicuously absent. The staff that are there today are adequate, but they didn’t seem to have been as well trained as one might hope. And the manager on duty (or at least a guy who acted like a manager) struck me as a bit of a bully. The staff members he interacted with were visibly uncomfortable.

I should make one thing clear: these are just impressions, and they may have no basis in reality. It’s entirely possible that Skeeter’s is still the same restaurant The Missus and I have come to love over the years, and that this recent “down” period is in fact nothing more than the bad luck of catching the restaurant on a couple rare off days. Likewise with the management. That can happen. In fact, I hope that’s the case. We’ll see.

Running in Traffic

April 26, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Larry Claassen doesn’t want runners in the streets:

I’m not sure how the mind rationalizes that running in traffic is a healthy or wise activity, but let me tell you that neither of us wants you as a hood ornament. Running in the street is definitely bad for your health and my nerves.

Actually, Larry, it’s pretty easy to rationalize running in the street, albeit in limited situations. Granted, Lincoln is blessed with a great network of trails and a pretty respectable sidewalk infrastructure. But trails and sidewalks aren’t available everywhere, and they have their downsides. Trails and sidewalks themselves are quite safe for pedestrians, but crosswalks can be incredibly unsafe. I’m not sure how safe crosswalks are in other parts of the country, but in Lincoln, drivers almost always blow through crosswalks without a second thought. When approaching, say, a stop sign or a stop light at an intersection at which they want to make a right turn, most Lincoln drivers pull through the crosswalk and then look both ways. Now imagine you’re a runner entering that crosswalk right about then.

Sure, running in ‘O’ Street is probably unwise. But running in the street in residential areas with lots of intersections can actually increase a runner’s visibility to drivers, and therefore his safety. That can be especially true at night, when pedestrians approaching crosswalks can be very difficult to see until the last second. Assuming, of course, that the runner in question does her part to be safe, such as wearing bright clothing and obeying the law.

To the extent that Mr. Claassen is concerned for safety, I agree with him. But I disagree that sticking to the sidewalks and trails ought to be a runner’s only option. If street runners are really so bad for Mr. Claassen’s nerves, perhaps he just needs to pay a little more attention while driving.

Super Taco

April 24, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Swoof, over at Eatin’ in Lincoln, recently made a trip to Super Taco, located near 56th and Holdgrege. Looks like I might be heading over that direction for a bite to eat one of these days.

Slooow

April 24, 2006 at 5:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

My apologies if Lincolnite loads a little slowly or oddly (i.e. the page doesn’t load entirely) today. I’m told there’s a bottleneck somewhere leading to Lincolnite’s server. There is no problem with the server itself.

My Tilt

April 24, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Last week’s Tilt article generated a decent amount of conversation, and that conversation got me thinking about my own biases and how people perceive me. Most of you have never met me and don’t really know who I am, and yet you probably have a number of preconceptions about me. I would love to know what some of those preconceptions are, so if you don’t mind humoring me, I’d appreciate if you would answer these questions. There are no right or wrong answers, only your perceptions.

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You’re Looking for WHAT?!

April 22, 2006 at 12:20am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I am disturbed. Somebody arrived at Lincolnite looking for yak urine fertilizer. Not only that, but Lincolnite is the #1 result. Which was the offending page? Why, a rant about bad chili at Bison Witches, of course.

And just to clarify, I finally got up the nerve to go to Bison Witches again about a month ago. The chili was excellent.

Chief Tom on Concealed Carry

April 21, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I am going to withhold commenting on Mayor Seng’s proposed concealed carry ban for a while, but I couldn’t pass up this quote from the Journal Star article on the topic:

[Police Chief Tom Casady] said it’s rare for citizens to protect themselves with concealed weapons. He can only recall one incident in 32 years of law enforcement.

Uhh, Tom? That’s because concealed weapons were illegal during that time.

Friday Five

April 21, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five Lincoln restaurants I miss:

  1. King’s
    A chili cheese dog and chocolate shake (with the tin!) sounds mighty tasty right now.
  2. Jabrisco
    Black and white soup, anyone?
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Runza
    I miss the original RnRR, not that crappy fast food version.
  4. Eighth Street Iron Works
    I only got there once, mere days before it closed, but the experience was memorable. Anybody have their meatloaf recipe?
  5. Jax
    The Missus and I went to Jax for many of our “formal” dates.

Clean Your Corner This Weekend

April 20, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Don’t forget to Clean Your Corner of Lincoln this weekend. When I first decided to do this I didn’t realize I had chosen Earth Day weekend, but all the better I suppose. Pick your favorite corner of Lincoln—any public area—and do your part to clean it up.

As I originally announced I’m going to clean up along Beal Slough between 40th and 48th Streets.

I’m just not sure when I’m going to be able to do it. I should be able to get in an hour or two both Saturday and Sunday mornings, but then I have two soccer games to ref on Saturday, and three baseball games to ump on Sunday. To achieve my goal of a complete clean-up of Beal Slough I may have to extend my work over several subsequent days. It’s not what I had originally planned for myself, but ultimately what’s important is that the job gets done.

I will be at the creek on Saturday morning for at least a few hours.

I hope to see you out and about this weekend. Whether you pick up a lone cup blowing in the breeze, or a truckload of trash, I hope you take some time to Clean Your Corner of Lincoln.

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