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Friday Five

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

Five observations as 2006 closes:

  1. Blue Orchid got off to a rocky start, but overall it has had a great year. It is widely regarded as one of Lincoln’s best restaurants, and for good reason. Congratulations to Witawas Srisa-an and Malinee Kiatathikom on their success.
  2. Lincolnites got to show off for the cameras a few times this year. In the spring, a few Lincolnites became a few million dollars richer and they performed admirably on the national stage. I know I got a kick out of watching the press conference when they all took their turn at the microphone. This fall, one Lincoln family was blessed with a new house, thanks to Extreme Home Makeover. I can’t wait to watch the episode early next year.
  3. The Douglas 3 is gone, and the Star Ship is just days from demolition. In their place we’re told two new jewels will rise. I’m crossing my fingers.
  4. Between Mike Spadt’s shenanigans and the Verizon bidding kerfuffle, public confidence in local government took a hit this year. How will that play in the 2007 elections?
  5. Lincolnites gave $250 million to LPS, saw their property valuations jump, and recently got news that we’re in for a rough ride in upcoming budget cycles. I suspect Lincolnites aren’t feeling especially charitable right now. Look for some fiscal fireworks in 2007.

Baby Blues is Coming to Town

December 27, 2006 at 9:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It’s not quite the edgy strip of the future that I had hoped for, but Baby Blues is coming to the LJS comics on January 1. At least it’s something different, even if BB is 16 years old and likely a bit stale by now.

The Oven is Adding a New Location

December 24, 2006 at 3:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Fresh from the rumor mill, I heard today that The Oven, one of Lincoln’s best restaurants, is expanding to a second location. The new location will be in the 70th and Pioneers area, near Venue. Let me emphasize that this is just a rumor at this point, but it seems to be a fairly reliable one. If true, chalk up another victory for locally-owned restaurants.

Comically Awful

December 22, 2006 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It’s Friday, and it feels like a good day for some light conversation. So let’s chat about the Journal Star’s comics section, shall we? First the good news: the ol’ LJS has a better comics section than many, or even most, newspapers. But that doesn’t mean most of the comics don’t make me want to wash my eyes out with toilet water after reading them. Let’s pick on a few.

First up is Garfield. Garfield hasn’t been funny in ten years, though I have to give Jim Davis credit for finally trying a few new things over the past couple months. In general, though, the last time I remember really getting a kick out of Garfield was back in 3rd grade when I used to try to draw the fat cat as well as Nate Voss. (I never even came close.)

Right next to Garfield is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Adam@Home is just plain depressing. It’s a comic strip about one of the worst fathers of all time. Adam isn’t a bad father in a funny way, like Homer Simpson. Adam is simply an awful, terrible father. His three kids are destined to become a junkie, a prostitute, and a murderer.

Hagar The Horrible suffers from the same problem as Garfield. And heck, I may as well throw in Hi And Lois, Beetle Bailey, Blondie, and Marmaduke into that list as well.

Next up is Mary Worth. Please don’t tell me I have to explain to you how much Mary Worth sucks.

If Luann hadn’t already jumped the shark, it did so over the past two weeks. The current story line involves the family dog. No big deal, right? Except in this story line the dog can talk, and he somehow made it up to the North Pole to hang out with Santa. Sure, it’s probably a dream or something, but that’s no excuse. Incidentally, Fox Trot pulled something similar last week with its “Oh no, we’ve turned into ginger bread men because we ate too many cookies!” story line. I have to think Bill Amend was on crack.

In everybody’s favorite After School Special of the comics page, aka For Better or For Worse, the strip is currently dealing with a grandfather who had a stroke, and now we’re being led to believe that Michael might be killed off in a house fire. How uplifting.

I had better stop there. The long and short of it is that I would love to see some new blood on the comics page. Any new blood. Heck, I would even take Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes re-runs, if such a thing were possible, just to mix things up a bit. I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of all of the options out there, but if anybody from the Journal Star is listening, Aluminum Siding might be one to keep an eye on.

Friday Five

December 22, 2006 at 2:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for that special Lincolnite? Here are five ideas:

  1. A tin of Colby Ridge popcorn. The white/cheese/caramel mix, of course.
  2. A Pogo Card.
  3. Tickets to an upcoming Nebraska Brass concert.
  4. Lincoln On Board.
  5. A Lincoln Children’s Zoo membership.

Chris Beutler’s Second Plank

December 21, 2006 at 2:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I like Chris Beutler. He is coming to this spring’s mayoral election prepared with some solid ideas and proposals. Good for him.

His latest proposal—his first was related to road construction funding—is to create an economic development advisory board by the name of the “MOVE Council” (Mayor’s Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy). (Note to Mr. Beutler: enough with the awful acronyms already!) The eleven-member board would be composed of members from various community groups, such as LIBA, Homebuilders of Lincoln, and so on. I am of two minds on the proposal.

On the one hand, I’m glad to see Mr. Beutler charging head-first into the campaign with an array of ideas for what he will do if elected. Good for him.

On the other hand, this proposal is awfully vacuous. What will MOVE actually do? Not much, I’m afraid. Its task will be to come to a “consensus” on economic development topics. But any consensus likely to come from an ideologically diverse group will be watered down and hardly worth the effort. After all, consensus-seeking strips out bold, controversial ideas by design. Consensus is great for times when you don’t want to tick anybody off, but it’s usually not worth much for solving complicated problems. Furthermore, by shifting the burden of finding a solution to an unelected board, Mr. Beutler is effectively proposing to shrug off responsibility for one of the most important parts of his job.

One is left to wonder: does Mr. Beutler have any opinions of his own on the topic of economic development? I’m sure he does. I refuse to believe that his best idea is passing the buck to an unelected board. Come on, Chris, tell us what you would do.

84th and Adams Development Approved. Finally!

December 21, 2006 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It’s without its Wal-Mart, but the proposed Prairie Village North development at 84th and Adams was finally approved by the Planning Commission. The only catch is that without Wal-Mart, the project doesn’t have an anchor tenant. Oh well, one step at a time.

Sunken Beer Garden?

December 20, 2006 at 3:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Should the city allow alcohol in city parks? That’s the question the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board wants to ask the City Council next month. The Board thinks it’s high time we update our policies, a switch from less than a decade ago when the Board shot down a similar proposal.

Don’t get too bent out of shape over the proposal. The Advisory Board only wants to allow alcohol in certain places within certain parks in certain situations. Folks won’t be able to down tequila shots while twirling on the merry-go-round.

Generally speaking I think it’s a good idea. I would offer one amendment to the proposal. I think organizers of events at which there will be alcohol should be required to pay a small additional fee on top of the usual facilities rental fee. That fee would go toward paying for any additional police or maintenance/janitorial expenses required as the result of the policy. It shouldn’t be a huge fee—I don’t expect a mass outbreak of trouble—but it should be enough to act as a small insurance policy. A portion of the fee could even be refundable if there are no problems.

What do you think? Is it a good idea to allow alcohol in some parks in a few specific situations? Is my addendum a reasonable one?

“This year I took Viagra so my hat stood up”

December 20, 2006 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

That, folks, is a quote from Bob Dole wanna-be City Councilman and one-time-potential-Mayoral-candidate Jon Camp. The quote makes me wonder if his yard signs this year will read “Jon Camp is a d!@#head”. Combined with his earlier gaffe, one has to believe that perhaps Camp is utilizing some sort of self-deprecating viral marketing campaign for his re-er

lection bid.

Street Names for Sale

December 20, 2006 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I don’t know about you, but I am strongly against auctioning off street names to the highest bidder. I realize we’re having a bit of a budget problem these days, but is that worth sticking our children with street names like Best Buy Boulevard, Dr. John’s Drive, and Super Saver Street?

And what if special interest groups get into the game? As soon as one group gets its street, you just know all sorts of unsavory groups will start showing up.

Sure, I’m probably exaggerating a bit. But to me, the idea has the distinct and overwhelming odor of trouble.

Stale Pay

December 19, 2006 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The City Council voted not to raise the Mayor’s pay, which is probably smart, considering the Mayor’s hiring freeze announcement. I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about the pay raise; it was a relatively small raise (2.5%) that wouldn’t have had much of an effect on the Mayor’s $75,000 salary. I do wonder about mayoral candidate Ken Svoboda’s decision to vote for the pay raise, though. Seems to me it would have been better for him to sit out this vote.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

December 18, 2006 at 10:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Just now I was thinking about animals I have seen in Lincoln (thanks to this post). Most of Lincoln’s animal life is pretty bland. Sure, there are pockets of black squirrels here and there, and the turkey vultures are great fun to watch as they soar overhead. But what else do we have?

I have seen a few muskrats over the years. Once I almost ran into a huge snapping turtle while riding my bike on the bike path between 56th Street and 48th Street. I fed wild berries to a fox along Beal Slough one day before baseball practice many years ago. My parents had turkeys in their yard (near 40th and Old Cheney) once. Occasinoally you’ll catch a heron or a crane standing in one of Lincoln’s puddles. I’ll catch sight of a raccoon every once in a while. Frankly, I’m surprised Lincoln isn’t overrun by raccoons. Seeing a big ol’ cecropia moth in the wild is fairly rare, but they’re out there. (I raised cecropia moths for a while when I was in 4-H. They are beautiful.)

And I should note that my dad claims to have seen a puma one morning while driving on Old Cheney in the low spot between 35th and 27th Streets.

What’s the most unusual animal sighting you’ve had in Lincoln? Not counting sightings at zoos, circuses, fairs, or other exhibitions, you wiseacres.

If Only There Were a Law…

December 18, 2006 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star is resuming its There Oughtta Be a Law” series this year. A couple of the ideas are good, most are not. Many show a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between local, state, and federal government, and a frightening number suggest trampling all over the First Amendment.

Do you have any early favorites (for various definitions of “favorite”) among the options? Mine is “Abolish the death penalty.” Short, sweet, and to the point; it doesn’t even come with an explanation like all the others do. A close second (for a much different reason) is: “Allow public policing of handicapped parking spots: Allow concerned residents to call in license numbers of vehicles illegally parked in handicapped slots and allow police to issue citations to the offenders based on this information. Too often, offenders have left by the time police get there.” Frankly, I think tire-slashing should be legal in such cases, but that’s just me.

In the end, I’m really not a fan of “There Oughtta Be a Law”-type series. If there’s one thing we don’t need, it’s more laws. I wish the Journal Star would run a “There Oughtta NOT Be a Law” series. Until then, here’s my proposed law:

The number of laws in the State of Nebraska is fixed at the number on the books on January 1, 2007. Before any new laws may be passed, a previous law must be repealed.

Well, it would have to be a constitutional amendment, but you get the picture.

Math Lesson

December 18, 2006 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Would anybody care to tell Dr. Fowler what’s wrong with his answer to his math quiz in this morning’s Journal Star (not online, as far as I can tell)?

Elisa swims laps in the pool. When she first started, she completed 10 laps in 25 minutes. Now she can finish 12 laps in 24 minutes. By how many minutes has she improved her lap time?

Dr. Fowler’s answer? 0.5 seconds. Is it just me, or do Dr. Fowler’s math skills on this problem resemble Verizon’s?

Friday Five

December 15, 2006 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln needs to cover an estimated $9 million budget gap for 2007-2008. Where are we going to find the money?

  1. Exploit the fact that people can’t resist throwing coins into water by installing dozens of fountains (or even just buckets of water labeled “Wishing Well”) all around town.
  2. Reopen Robber’s Cave for one month, and advertise it as “Your last chance to relive your childhood memories!” Charge by the minute.
  3. Set up a dunking booth featuring Mayor Seng, the City Council, and Mike Spadt. Charge $5 per ball.
  4. Instead of paving the Antelope Valley Roadway with concrete, use gravel.
  5. Rename it the Lincoln Children’s Museum and Sweatshop.

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