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Lost

July 31, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Mr. T got lost yesterday and couldn’t find Pioneers Park. I don’t want to see that happen again, so I made him a little map:

A (humorous) map to Pioneers Park in Lincoln, Nebraska

Riddles Revealed

July 31, 2006 at 2:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

On Friday I presented five riddles as part of this blog’s ongoing Friday Five feature. It took a couple days, but foxspit, huskerpilot, and christopher pieced it all together. The answers are on the inside. Don’t peak if you haven’t given the riddles a try.

In case you don’t want to go read the answers, I’ll go ahead and ask this here: were the riddles any good? Shall I make more riddles in the future?

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Friday Five

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

Just for fun, and to follow up on yesterday’s riddle, here are five riddles, of varying difficulty, on a common theme:

  1. I’m dead and buried now, lying in a giant’s shadow. But unlike my kin, who lives just across the street, I never had to sleep in the doghouse. What am I?
  2. I was an oasis in the city. Which way to go was my visitors’ only plight. Today the biggest hazard is blight! What am I?
  3. In my youth I danced with Hollywood’s biggest stars. The 70’s were cruel to me, but I’ve cast those ugly days aside. Tommy was my friend for a day; do you think he’ll ever come back? What am I?
  4. In my day my best friends were jerks. Today, my good name is sullied by “friends” of a different sort. What am I?
  5. My first is a moth that may drive you mad. My last is easily surmised with a little common sense. Just ask Thomas! What am I?

And the bonus question: What’s the common theme?

We Are Not Alone

July 27, 2006 at 11:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln isn’t the only community experiencing a larger-than-usual number of houses on the market.

A Riddle

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

Inner thoughts upon my face,
Upon the wind I try to flee.
If a Gadsden flag had I,
It would read “Don’t Write on Me!”

What am I?

Trimming the Concealers

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

The City Council’s next likely move on the concealed carry topic will probably be restricting who is eligible to received a concealed carry permit in Lincoln. Some local leaders, including Mayor Colleen Seng and Councilman Ken Svoboda, want to plug perceived holes in the state law. The Mayor would like to add to the list of cannot carriers those guilty of “assaults, making menacing threats, contributing to the delinquency of a child, public indecency and second-offense driving under the influence.” The justification behind the first one is obvious. The second one is also fairly obvious, although “making menacing threats” is a somewhat fuzzy offense. But I’m not sure I get the relationships between the last three and an individual’s likelihood of being more likely to commit a gun offense. And public indecency? Really? If a guy is indecent, chances are he probably doesn’t have any place to conceal his gun!

Ken Svoboda’s list is similar, and includes “stalking, violating a protection order, impersonating a peace officer, indecent exposure and driving under the influence offenses.” Again, the first three I understand, while the last two seem unrelated.

Are flashers and public urinators more likely to commit gun crimes? How about folks convicted of multiple DUI offenses? If not, why are those offenses on the list?

Happy Trails

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

Lincoln should be proud that use of bike trails is increasing each year. The latest survey by the Great Plains Trails Network was conducted on Sunday, July 9. A total of 6,986 trail users were counted that day.

Packing Heat in Private Spaces

July 26, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

According to the Journal Star, the state’s new concealed carry law permits private property owners to bar concealed weapons from their premises. Doesn’t that go without saying? Hasn’t a private property owner always been able to bar weapons from her property? I know several of you regular readers will know the answer to that. Could you give me the skinny, please?

Rolling Along…Quietly

July 26, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I still wish the Department of Roads would have used the money they are spending on Highway 2 to speed up the South Beltway. But I’ve got to say that I love one thing about the project: silence. Well, relative silence, anyway. The new road surface is far quieter than the old surface. Using the adjacent Boosalis Trail no longer demands the use of ear protection. It’s fantastic! I wonder how long a new road’s acoustic benefits last?

So Tempting

July 25, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I know it is very tempting for the School Board to spend its new cash from the latest county property valuations. But boy, it sure would help LPS’s public image if they would cut their tax rate a few cents this year. I encourage the board to spend a little extra money on tangibles like building improvements—especially in the four older high schools—and leave some of the less tangible items for another day. If the board leaves the tax rate at $1.05, I fear they risk losing public support that could bite ‘em in the butt the next time they try to pass another bond issue.

It’s in the City

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

It’s official: State Fair Park is now part of Lincoln.

Shame

July 25, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I went to bed angry last night. I made the mistake of reading journalstar.com before I hit the sack. It was there that I first heard about the City Council’s shameful actions. It wasn’t their vote—saying no to the proposed concealed carry ban—but the method that ticks me off. Long story short, they told Lincolnites to buzz off. They don’t need any input from us lowly citizens.

Let’s be clear here, there is one justification for their actions. If the Council was so convinced that next week’s public input process on the proposal would be a waste of time, if they were 100% certain that their vote would be nay, and that any public discussion would be worthless, the members would have an argument for shutting down public input. But it would be a weak argument.

The City Council’s action yesterday was shameful. It sent a powerful message: the Council knows what’s best for Lincoln, and they don’t need to bother hearing the whinings of the proletariat. It’s a message City leaders have sent before, and it’s one Lincolnites need to stop putting up with. Such a message represents a reversal in the understanding of who works for whom in this town. It is a power grab.

I don’t care about the vote itself. Concealed carry is mostly a symbolic gesture. Permitting it or banning it is more about saying something about the Second Amendment than it is about achieving anything practical. That’s not what angers me.

What angers me is that the City Council dropped a big turd on the democratic process. Process matters, moreso at the local level than anywhere else. If a citizenry cannot participate in local lawmaking, how can they be expected to feel like they have a voice at any level? How can they have any sense of efficacy at all?

The public input phase in local lawmaking is mostly done out of routine, not because it actually changes lawmakers’ minds. So skipping next week’s public input probably won’t make a bit of a difference in the final outcome. But that isn’t the point. The point is that allowing Lincolnites to speak publically would have made them feel good, about themselves and about their cause. And about participating in democracy at the local level. The cost to the City Council of letting the public speak? A couple hours of boredom. The cost to the City Council of cutting off public discussion before it could begin? An immeasurable loss of trust, not only in the Council, but in local government generally.

Remember last year’s City Council election that supposedly shook things up? Wrong. It’s the same old City Council, making the same elementary mistakes.

Chopping Block

July 24, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

City traffic engineer Randy Hoskins’ job is on the line in the latest budget discussion. I’m not sure if it’s personal, as has been alleged, but I have to think something is behind such an odd move. Money alone doesn’t seem to me to be enough to dump the position.

Lincoln needs a traffic engineer. Our community is too large not to have one. There are too many roads, too many signals, and too much planning to do to not have somebody guiding that work under one vision. Getting rid of Hoskins’ job would be a tremendous mistake.

I’m neutral, however, on the question of whether we ought to, instead, get rid of Randy Hoskins himself. He has done somethings I have liked, and he has done some things I don’t agree with. If I were king I would probably have a chat with him to see if he could change a few of his ideas, and if not I would look for somebody else to take over. But for now the (limited) evidence I have shows him to be competent enough. I only bring this up because Karl Fredrickson, Director of Public Works, has made the accusation that Councilman Jon Cook wants to dump Hoskins for personal reasons. Scrapping an entire position just because of a personal spat would be a tremendous error.

But if the move isn’t at least partially personal, why would the Council suggest getting rid of such an important position? Why would a city Lincoln’s size want to try to operate without a traffic engineer?

Ali’s New Beef Kabob

July 23, 2006 at 10:01pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

image


It’s been a while since I last visited Ali Baba’s Gyro joint with Mr. Wilson and Swoof. Today, I was pleased to see that Ali’s has recently introduced a marinated beef kabob to its menu, and couldn’t help but order this new item. Like their famed chicken kabob, for $5.99 you get the grilled, marinated beef kabob, a salad, bread, potatoes and dip. The heavenly scent emanating from the cellophane carton was driving me mad as I took this home, and someone I found the will power to take a snapshot of the meal before tearing into it.

Verdict: The beef kabob - which was cooked to about medium - was very good, albeit not as tender as I would have liked. I am not sure what kind of marinade they use, but it gave the beef a nice hint of flavor. Perhaps a bit more salt could have been used to retain some of the natural juices. Regardless, it was pretty good and I am not unhappy for ordering this new item, and my coffee table now is littered with greasy napkins and the remnants of this fine meal. However, in my opinion Ali’s chicken kabob (with the brushed on “tandoori” spice) is still the king of their menu.

A Light Act of Civil Disobedience

July 21, 2006 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I led a mass act of civil disobedience last night. About a dozen other Lincolnites and I all broke the law together. It was great.

Highway 2 is being resurfaced, and portions of the road are closed from 6:00PM to 6:00AM. That’s all fine and dandy. But as is typical of Lincoln’s transportation planners, nobody bothers to change the timing of the traffic lights. The result? A backlog of vehicles on 27th Street at Highway 2 waiting for ... nobody. 27th Street traffic received 20 seconds of green light (I timed it), then sat around for 60 seconds while nobody traveled on Highway 2. After waiting through a few frustrating light cycles, I found myself at the front of the line waiting at a red light. Next to me was a large pickup. We apparently had the same idea at the same time, because we hit the gas simultaneously.

What I saw next in my rear-view mirror was beautiful: car after car streamed through the intersection. It was civil disobedience at its finest. And amazingly, not a single vehicle was damaged by the non-oncoming non-traffic. Eventually two goody-goodies made their way to the front of the line and waited patiently at the red light. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Seriously, though, what’s the deal with leaving the traffic lights on their normal pattern? That just breeds disgust for road work, road workers, and transportation planning in general, and there’s already plenty of that going on in Lincoln. Assuming that construction vehicles may have needed to cross the intersection occasionally, a four-way stop (flashing red all four directions) would have made the most sense.

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