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DCI at Memorial Stadium Tonight

July 25, 2007 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Cornhusker Summer Music Games is tonight at 7:30pm at Memorial Stadium. The performing corps include:

  • The Cadets - Allentown, PA
  • Phantom Regiment - Rockford, IL
  • Santa Clara Vanguard - Santa Clara, CA
  • The Academy - Tempe, AZ
  • Troopers - Casper, WY
  • Blue Stars - LaCrosse, WI

Best of all, it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to rain tonight. Knock on wood.

How Alltel Works

July 24, 2007 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I have low-end cell phones, but they work just fine for our needs. Because she often needs her hands free to deal with Robbie, The Missus likes to use a headset when she is talking on the phone. But since our phones are low-end, the headset is wired. A little annoying at times, but no big deal.

Recently her headset died. Unfortunately, it died one month after its warranty expired (typical!). Yesterday afternoon she went to the nearest Alltel store to get a replacement. When she walked in she was greeted by a woman with a bad attitude who told her there was a wait. When The Missus asked if there was a good time to come back, the woman replied, “Not really. It’s always like this.” That’s great customer service, isn’t it? Alltel knows their customers always have to wait, but they don’t bring in more customer service reps. Nice.

Fortunately, the 20 minutes zoomed by because Robbie was able to play with (and drool on) all of the demo phones. Robbie loves phones, so he had great fun. He probably entertained the other waiting customers, too. Win-win.

When her name was called, The Missus went with a friendly rep who asked her what she needed. She said she wanted a cheap headset to replace her broken one. Nothing fancy. The rep’s face sank a bit.

REP: Umm, well, we don’t really have any cheap wired headsets any more.
THE MISSUS: None?
REP: Well, umm, not really. You see, they want us to push the newer Bluetooth models.
THE MISSUS: Which cost…?
REP: About fifty bucks.
THE MISSUS: And which…?
REP: ...don’t work with your phone anyway.
THE MISSUS: Oh. Well I’m not paying fifty bucks and I’m definitely not buying a new phone.
REP: But…
THE MISSUS: But?
REP (quietly): Well, I think we have some headsets in the back that are going to get thrown away. We don’t officially sell them any more. Let me go check.
The rep goes in the back. A couple minutes pass. He comes back with a package in his hand
REP: This should work for you. There’s no charge because we aren’t supposed to sell these things anyway.
THE MISSUS: Thanks!
REP (quietly): Remember, I didn’t give this to you. (louder) Have a nice day!

So now The Missus is in possession of an apparently illegal headset thanks to the work of a rebellious Alltel customer service rep. Lots of companies have some sort of “trash the perfectly-good-but-too-cheap stuff and only sell the fancier, expensive stuff” policy. But what a stupid policy! In this case Alltel lost out on fifteen bucks—approximately what The Missus would have paid—because they only gave the customer the option of paying zero dollars (no headset) or fifty dollars (fancy headset) plus however much a Bluetooth-enabled phone would have cost. It obviously makes financial sense or Alltel wouldn’t do it that way. But what about PR? How much money will Alltel lose after a few thousand Lincolnites (and probably some non-Lincolnites who find this post via a search engine) read this post and think negatively about the company?

Well, you’re right, probably not much. It’s not exactly a huge scandal, and “everybody does it” is probably fairly accurate. Oh well. At least The Missus got a free headset.

The Fire Department is Always Good for Some Controversy

July 24, 2007 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I can’t possibly compete with the comments on the latest fire department-related article from the Journal Star, so I’m not going to try. Please, go read and enjoy, if you can stomach that sort of thing. Then come back here and post quotes from your favorites. I don’t even know where to start…

Save the Water, Mmm-Kay?

July 24, 2007 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Mayor Beutler has asked (again) that Lincolnites cut back on water usage. Hopefully you are already conserving, but if you aren’t, please start.

Speaking of water conservation, is it just me or are more people allowing their lawns to go dormant? That seems to be the case in my neighborhood, anyway. And why not? Dormant lawns really don’t look that bad, and they come with the benefit of not having to mow.

Went to the Zoo Last Night

July 23, 2007 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Wilsons went to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo last night, and we had a blast. The zoo looks very, very different than it did when I was a kid, but I think it has evolved nicely. If I have one complaint it’s that it doesn’t seem like there is as much animal diversity as there used to be. But (1) I’m not sure if that’s actually true, and (2) seen through a child’s eyes, I’m not sure that it’s a problem. There are certainly plenty of things for kids to do.

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is a gem, and I’m very proud that it’s a part of our community. I have been to several zoos around the country, and none of them have a section for small kids that compares to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Have any of you been to a zoo that either in whole or in part compares favorably to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo? Where?

Cold Treats

July 23, 2007 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Dairy Queen may have left 33rd and Pioneers, but I noticed this weekend that there’s a new option at the intersection: Snow Rush sits on the northeast corner in the space occupied many moons ago by Video Station. Snow Rush apparently offers shaved ice and fruit smoothies. I haven’t made it inside yet, but I hope to soon.

Speaking of smoothies, Juice Stop is my hands-down winner in Lincoln. Where is your favorite place to go for smoothies?

Did You Notice?

July 23, 2007 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Cornhusker State Games were in town this weekend. Did you notice? I’m not sure I would have noticed had I not refereed four CSG soccer matches. There seemed to be very little marketing this year. Or do I just watch all of the wrong TV stations, listen to all the wrong radio stations, and see all the wrong billboards?

The soccer events had some successes and some failures. I’ll start with the latter by noting that organization of the soccer events was very poor this year. At the game site I was at, Cornhusker State Games involvement seemed to be limited to setting up the brackets, handing out medals, and providing a medic. There was virtually no other CSG presence. Even the rules they provided were screwed up—25 minute halves for the adult competitive division?!—and had to be changed, and there was no way to verify that players were legal.

On the plus side, I want to give a hearty “Bravo!” to the teams in the two adult divisions I worked with. In years past, adult soccer at the CSG was characterized by violence and chaos. It was awful. I stayed away from reffing the CSG for several years as a result. This year was completely different. The players were almost universally in a good mood, and they just wanted to play. Even better, the level of competition was decent. None of the teams will be competing at the World Cup any time soon, but most of the teams included current and former high school and college players who can play the game pretty well. It was very refreshing, and I hope it continues next year.

Now for the qualifier: I was only around the soccer events, so don’t take my comments about the CSG too far. I have always heard, for example, that the adventure race and triathlon are well-organized. I would love to get around to more of the events, but when your dad is the soccer referee assignor, well, your weekend is pretty much planned out for you.

Did any of you participate in the Games this year? Were you a spectator? How did it go? Any gold medal winners in our midst?

Friday Five: Flyover

July 20, 2007 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Below are five aerial views of Lincoln. Can you identify the places in each photograph?

  1. image
  2. image
  3. image
  4. image
  5. image

Welcome Professor Ari

July 20, 2007 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Professor Waskar Ari is finally coming to UNL after being hired in 2005 and subsequently denied reentry to the United States, apparently with no just cause. Ari’s arrival is good news for UNL, sure. But the federal government’s actions in this case have deplorable. Two years of silently barring an innocent man from the country, followed by a change of heart with no explanation? The government’s silence is extremely distressing, but unfortunately that seems to be the way things are done these days.

Let’s not be satisfied that Ari is coming and leave it at that. Demand an explanation.

Bzzzap!

July 20, 2007 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I was pleased to see that LPD had not used a Taser on a suspect this year until yesterday. Why does that please me? Because it probably means that despite the increased availability of “non-lethal” (or “less-lethal”, if you prefer) law enforcement tools, LPD isn’t rushing to use them unless they really have to. Have you ever noticed how rarely you hear about arrests gone awry, or suspects getting shot, or wrong-house raids, or officers getting hurt? Those are all signs that LPD’s officers are mostly making good decisions while they go about their jobs. Thank goodness for that.

Is the County Paying a Premium?

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

Geoffrey A. Coleman wants to know why the County is paying so much for land for a new jail. According to Coleman

(t)he published land price allegedly “negotiated” by the county is $60,164 per acre. The current county-mandated “market values” of industrial property immediately adjacent to the proposed site are between $19,047 and $43,666 per acre.

Can anybody explain the degree to which this is true, and how much it matters? At first blush the County’s purchase price looks awful. To arms! But what is a “county-mandated market value”? Governments don’t set market values, markets set market values. (Well, some governments around the world set “market” values, but let’s not emulate them.) What do the “county-mandated market values” mean, and how do they relate to land purchases by private and public entities?

Does anybody out there know the poop on this?

New Development on South Street?

July 19, 2007 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Tough call, Lincolnites: scrap the old King’s on South Street to make room for new development that includes an Advanced Auto Parts and a KFC; or stick to the original South Street redevelopment plan and wait for development that more closely fit the goals for the area?

Dining at Dino’s

July 19, 2007 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Thanks to inspiration from Moses, The Missus, Robbie and I dined at Dino’s Eastside Grill (just south of 84th and Van Dorn) last night. This isn’t a formal review, but rather a quick overview of the experience.

The first thing I noticed upon pulling into the parking lot was that our car—a 2001 Chevy Prism—seemed out of place. Most, if not all, of the other cars were newer and nicer. A coincidence, perhaps, but notable nonetheless. Once we got inside I noticed something else about the patrons: a very large proportion of them were 60 or older. Again, that may have been a coincidence.

The interior is dignified, decorated tastefully in dark tones with large photographs providing color. Televisions line the exterior wall some eight feet off the ground. The main dining area is wide open, with a row of bench seating dividing the room in two. A long bar sits along the far wall. Off to the side is a small gaming area with pool, shuffleboard, and a few video games. There is also a nice party/conference room.

The menu features appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and a few “fancier” entrees like cedar plank salmon. We began with a dinner salad (The Missus) and chicken enchilada soup. The salad was fresh and included a variety of lettuces. The soup was good and it tasted like, well, a chicken enchilada. For an entree The Missus ordered a bbq chicken pizza that featured chicken, corn, and other toppings in a spicy barbecue sauce atop a relatively thin crust. She especially liked the corn and she enjoyed the sauce, though the crust wasn’t her favorite. I ordered the philly, a sandwich topped with beef, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and two kinds of cheese. It had surprisingly little flavor. Too little seasoning on the beef, perhaps? Mr. Wilson’s tastebuds took a vacation? I’ve grown to used to ordered jalapenos on my phillies? Who knows.

Service had its ups and downs. The greeters were friendly, but then we were seated in a tight spot near an overflowing table of older folks. Note to servers: don’t squeeze 1 year-olds next to the 65+ crowd because chances are the kid is going to annoy them, and the tight squeeze isn’t going to help matters. Our server was friendly and he offered The Missus a personal recommendation on which pizza to order when she asked. Good job there. He and his compatriots were also good with drink refills. He had a bit of a memory problem, though. First he forgot what soup I ordered, and then he left me without ketchup for my fries for ten minutes after I asked for it. Why would you not provide ketchup automatically when at least one person at the table has fries on his plate?

Prices are a little higher than your average sports bar, but Dino’s isn’t trying to be your average sports bar. They are shooting for more of an upscale market. Expect to pay a buck or two more than at, say, Brewsky’s.

Overall our experience was fine. We will plan to eat at Dino’s again to give it another shot, but we don’t plan to add it to our list of regulars.

What Book Got You Hooked?

July 19, 2007 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I wasn’t going to post this, but when I saw that Nebraska is in second place behind Oklahoma, I couldn’t resist. Go vote for Nebraska and tell them your favorite book, and let’s try to topple those Sooners.

Note that you do NOT have to enter any personal information even though the form asks for it. You can successfully submit your vote without entering your name or anything.

Mayor Potter

July 19, 2007 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Don’t let it be said that Neal Obermeyer‘s cartoons aren’t influential. One of his recent cartoons inspired Mayor Chris Beutler to engage in a little philanthropy:

Hi, Neal.  The Mayor’s office got a big chuckle out of Sunday’s cartoon! However, it inaccurately stated the Mayor’s position on the issue of Harry Potter.  To set the record straight,  Mayor Beutler will be making a generous personal donation to Lincoln City Libraries at 9:45 a.m. tomorrow at the Eiseley branch, 1530 Superior.  He would like to invite you to attend to acknowledge you and your cartoon for inspiring his donation. He will further demonstrate his interesting public persona at that time.

If you have any questions, please contact me.  We all look forward to meeting you!

Diane Gonzolas
and Mayor’s staff

I don’t suppose any of you Lincolnites will be able to make it to the event, will you? Sounds like Neal is going to miss it. Too bad. Do you think Mayor Beutler will show up dressed as Harry?

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