Latest Blog Posts

First Day of Spring

March 12, 2007 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The calendar may not agree, but today is definitely the first day of spring. Did you smell it in the air? The early days of spring have a very distinctive smell. Did you hear the way the birds were chattering this morning? They know spring is here.

Enjoy these first days of spring. Then, prepare yourself for the inevitable 40 mph springtime winds.

My Money is On…

March 12, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Today, Chris Beutler ($140,700) leads the money race over Ken Svoboda ($124,000), Roger Yant ($800), and Mike Deal ($0). But remember, despite popular conceptions to the contrary, money and votes are only loosely correlated. I suspect Roger Yant will receive more than the 0.3% of the vote his war chest suggests, for example.

Given the current status of the mayoral race, who do you think has the edge? Why?

Take a Guess

March 12, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

What will Hagel do?

Blue Man Group

March 10, 2007 at 7:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

What a beautiful day for a plunge into Holmes Lake!

I want to thank everybody who donated (there’s still time!), raising a total of $385.00 (so far) for Special Olympics Nebraska. I didn’t quite hit my goal of $500, but the original timeline was tight, and I didn’t do any more begging after the original plunge date passed (until now).

The weather was perfect for running into a frigid lake. Temperatures on land were downright balmy (relatively speaking). The water, on the other hand, was nicely chilled. Most of the lake still had a thin layer of ice on top, and I heard an unofficial report that the water temperature was 34 degrees. Turnout was great, including plungers, spectators, and dogs. Even my parents and Daisy were on hand.

So what is it like to go running into 34-degree water? Chilly. Very, very chilly. You get it in your mind that it’ll be like taking a really cold shower. Wrong, it’s much colder than that. Even still, before your body has a chance to really freak out, you’re already on your way out of the water. And once I was back on land, it only took a minute or two to ditch the “holycrapi’mfrickin’freezing” feeling. The (relatively) warm sun kept me plenty comfortable for the ten or fifteen minutes I stood around in soaking wet clothes.

Before you ask, yes, there is a video. I will post it soon. In the mean time, I’m sure Mr. T will start ranting in the comments about how I didn’t really do it, which is why I haven’t posted a video, and how if I really wanted to help the Special Olympics I would have tasered myself while rinsing my eyes with pepper spray and munching on raw habanero chiles. After you, Mr. T.

[Sunday update: I see the Journal Star ran a story about the Polar Plunge in today’s paper. I was even mentioned ... sort of. I can only assume that the article’s reference to “soccer hooligans” was aimed at my referee uniform, since I don’t recall seeing anybody else with an outfit even remotely resembling anything soccer-related.]

Friday Five

March 9, 2007 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I will name five Lincolnites. Your job is to name who you think should play that person in Lincoln: The Movie:

  1. Colleen Seng, the grandmotherly, lame duck mayor
  2. Kent Seacrest, the wealthy businessman and 2015 Vision Group proponent
  3. Bill Callahan, the most reviled or revered man in the state, depending on the day
  4. Ann Ringlein, the perky coach, owner of Lincoln Running Company, and all-around running queen
  5. Norm, the cranky restaurateur from M&N Sandwich

That Dirty Ol’ Lake

March 9, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Holmes Lake is much, much cleaner than it used to be, and the City and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District want to keep it that way. That’s all well and good, but I know it’ll take me years before I’m able to consider Holmes Lake’s water “clean”.

Speaking of Holmes Lake, I’ll be jumping into it tomorrow. It won’t be as cold as I had planned, but it’s still going to be awfully chilly. Wish me luck!

300 Jobs? Is That All?

March 7, 2007 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Hip hip hooray! 300 more Kawasaki jobs are on the way over the next three years. Thanks, Kawasaki!

Anybody Want to Form a Lincolnite Bowling Team?

March 7, 2007 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln’s Young Professionals Group is looking for bowling teams for the Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake. The event is March 31 at 9:00p.m. at Sun Valley Lanes. Individuals are asked to raise $75 apiece ($375.00 per team). Sounds to me like a chance to form a Lincolnite bowling team or two. Anybody interested? You don’t have to make a firm commitment right now, I’m just trying to gauge interest.

Phreddy’s Phillys Phell Phlat? [Updated]

March 7, 2007 at 3:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Has the oddly-spelled Phreddy’s Phillys [sic] gone kerplunk already? When I passed by over the lunch hour it looked decidedly un-open. Then again, I only caught a glimpse as the car drove by, so maybe I didn’t see correctly. Have any of the rest of you Downtown regulars been by there recently?

[Update 3/8/2007: Looks like Phreddy’s is still around. Phew!]

Navigator is the Public’s Business?

March 6, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I can certainly understand why many Lincolnites are all in a froth over Time Warner Cable’s craptacular Navigator software for digital set-top boxes. What I don’t understand is why crummy software is the public’s business. It seems like subscribers should be attacking the company through avenues like the Better Business Bureau and the media, not the City Council. Not to mention the fact that the easiest solution to the problem for most subscribers is to simply ... drop the service.

(As an aside, this is exactly the sort of issue where I think it would be appropriate for the mayor to step in to provide some leadership and help find a solution. Not through a task force or a committee or a study group, but via direct involvement with the parties.)

What do you think? Why should the City Council be involved? Why should they butt out?

Water Woes

March 6, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m awfully surprised I hadn’t noticed that our water stinks. I guess I just haven’t been drinking very much tap water lately (I tend to drink a lot of milk in the winter). Oh well, I figure we’ve been pretty lucky with our drinking water in Lincoln. In some communities—Crete, for example—it’s a good day when you can see the bottom of your glass. Yuck.

Left Behind?

March 6, 2007 at 2:05am By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Today’s report in the Journal Star about the 2015 Vision pillars isn’t too surprising. I was one of the anonymous folks who showed up at their meeting, listened to their presentation, and filled out their survey before departing for the evening (which was a frankly somewhat confusing “survey” as Mr. Wilson noted previously). I also ranked completion of the Antelope Valley projects and the Research Corridor highly, and it seemed like a number of people in my small group had similar sentiments, so I am not stunned that they were the most supported pillars among the meetings’ participants.

One wonders, however, why the proposed Arts and Humanities Center received the lowest support. I’m just as much a fan of the arts and humanities as anyone else, but here is one reason why I ranked it low on my survey: I think Lincoln should invest in its main library before building a whole new center devoted to the arts and humanities. I realize that it is unfair to equate an arts and humanities center with a library, and certainly the vision for the former is more expansive than that of a new library. But it seems to me that resources are better spent on improving the main library - which definitely needs to be improved - instead of leaving it as the neglected wreck that it currently is and then pour money into a new arts center. If they are going to push on with the arts and humanities center plan, at the very least I would think they should integrate the two into the same structure.

Can anyone here tell me why the main library here in Lincoln has been neglected for so long? No offense to its employees or the patrons there, but it has the atmosphere of the bar scene from Star Wars: its dark, crowded, and generally not a pleasing place to stay for longer than 30 minutes. Contrast that with Gere or Eisely, which are brightly lit, comfortable places where one can spend an entire weekend afternoon at. I realize there are some legitimate obstacles that impede development of an expanded downtown branch. Parking would be one obvious issue. But isn’t parking a wider downtown issue in general? One can’t help but come to the cynical conclusion that the reason the main branch has been neglected for so long is because it’s a neighborhood with a low income client base. After all, the students use the UNL library, and all the downtown office workers are in and out during the day. I realize that is not a fair and entirely accurate depiction, but it makes one wonder. I hope that as future visions of Lincoln continue to develop, the main library won’t be left behind.   

Popular Pillars

March 5, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The 2015 Vision Group has released the results of its (extremely unscientific) informal survey handed out to attendees at the group’s community meetings. Nearly 1,000 people attended the meetings, but it’s not clear how many of those completed a survey.

The most popular—a UNL research corridor along Antelope Valley—doesn’t surprise me at all. Nor does #2, the Antelope Valley projects, surprise me, primarily because we’re pretty much already stuck with them whether we like the idea or not. It makes good sense that the two items are nearly equally popular, since to some extent they rely on each other.

The two least popular pillars are also the ones that are most likely to be completed next. Supporters of a Haymarket humanities and arts center are pretty well dedicated to its completion. That’s all well and good, but it looks like those supporters will have to do some work if they expect much public financial support. (Other than the potential partnership with UNL, I’m not sure that they will even ask for public dollars, so don’t jump to any unfounded conclusions here.) And the Q Street parking garage/high rise project is already out for bids (due March 16).

A couple notes about the survey. First, the survey was not constructed nearly as well as it could have been. Consider these results indicative only of very general trends. This is not a mandate, and it’s certainly not a true vote of the people. That doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting or that we can’t learn a thing or two. Just don’t read too much into the results.

Second, it would be very big of the 2015 Vision Group to release the full results of the survey. They aren’t under any obligation to do so, of course, but it would constitute an act of good faith that could go a long way toward placating skeptics. It would also give the survey results much more depth. The percentage of people saying “Hell no!” to the pillars is just as interesting as the percentage saying “Hell yeah!”. I have submitted a request to the Group for the results. I’ll let you know if I hear from them.

Firefighters Pick Beutler

March 5, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln’s firefighters have endorsed Chris Beutler ... and Ken Svoboda, sort of. The union’s official endorsement went to Beutler, but the decision was so difficult that they also included a “soft” endorsement for Svoboda. In other words, if you’re a firefighter, flip a coin at the polls this year.

For the rest of us, this is probably good news. If the firefighters are torn over their endorsement (if only unofficially), it may mean the union won’t be as controversially involved as in past years (1999 anyone?). Or maybe the split endorsement is just the beginning of another LFD-related kerfuffle to keep the local media busy for the next couple months. I sure hope not.

Thai Flambé

March 4, 2007 at 4:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Had an interesting dining experience last night. The Missus, Robbie, and I went to Blue Orchid with another couple and their young daughter. They were first-timers. We arrived around 5:30pm to discover that they were nearly booked solid with reservations. (Note to self: next time, make a reservation.) Fortunately, they were able to squeeze us in thanks to a recently-canceled reservation. As it turns out, I wonder if those people knew what was about to happen.

We were seated, we ordered, and we had a nice conversation. Robbie was in a good mood, the atmosphere was great, the service was great ... it was developing into a fine evening. Heck, we had even managed to snag a parking spot in Blue Orchid’s tiny parking lot. Suddenly, it got very, very noisy. Fire alarms tend to be like that. Everybody in the restaurant froze momentarily. I think everybody expected the chefs to come barreling out of the kitchen, chef hats and aprons aflame. When that didn’t happen, nobody quite knew what to do. The staff did the only thing they could do: they went about their duties. A few moments later they had obviously been briefed and told to deliver a specific line: they had confirmed there was no fire in the restaurant, and the manager was checking the rest of the building to find out what was going on. Robbie was surprisingly tolerant of the noise, much to our relief. He didn’t seem to be fazed by it, so we tried to ignore it as best we could.

Until the firetruck arrived, that is. We all had to leave at that point. It only took a couple minutes to herd everybody outside. The staff did their best to apologize and to thank everybody for their patience. After a couple minutes the manager made an announcement that they had found the source of the alarm, and that we would be back inside within a few minutes. Sure enough, shortly thereafter a firefighter came out of the building with a smoldering and partially melted plastic bucket. They grabbed a hose, drenched the bucket ... and that was that. The bucket had contained discarded cigarettes, and apparently it began smoking enough to set off the building’s alarms. It was never clear where the bucket came from (a break room? one of the building’s apartments?).

Once we were back inside, the evening carried on almost normally. Service wasn’t quite as good because the staff’s rhythm was out-of-whack, and our food was obviously delayed since the kitchen had to start over. But overall I was impressed with how smoothly the staff worked through such an unfortunate hiccup in the evening. I was especially impressed with how they all seemed to be on the same page at all times. As far as I could tell, nobody deviated from the script. That’s good training, good personnel, or probably both.

On a more general note, my seared garlic stir fry with shrimp was excellent. I still haven’t had a bad meal at Blue Orchid.

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