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Free Kung Fu for You

June 13, 2008 at 1:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Here’s a cool little treat for all you Lincolnites. The folks at the Lincoln Kungfu Club are offering a free introductory lesson to anybody who mentions Lincolnite. Go check out the details and get yourself signed up.

A Smaller Workforce Than in 1990

June 13, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If Mayor Beutler get his way, you and I will have 50 fewer employees working for us than we did in 1990. That’s pretty incredible. Was City government that bloated in 1990, or are we just really pressing our luck today? Probably a little of both, I suspect.

Interestingly, if Mayor Beutler gets his wish, there’s a chance that public safety personnel will be among the 45 positions cut this year. I’m sure we aren’t talking about large numbers—maybe a couple cops and a couple fire fighters—but I don’t expect the public (or the City Council) to take that news without some grumbling.

Also interesting (to me, anyway) is the possibility of Star Tran’s fare’s being consolidated into a single “very low fare”. Is that marketing-speak for “fares will actually go up, but it’s a bargain compared to other options”, or are they actually talking about lowering fares? How do you lower the fare when the department is looking to lose a substantial chunk of its budget?

What say you about this latest bit of budget information?

A Trip to Rib Ranch

June 12, 2008 at 2:37pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Despite hearing over and over that Parker’s Rib Ranch “is just like Dave’s”—and I like Famous Dave’s—I had failed to give it a try. Until last night that is. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. Then the tornado sirens went off, which made the experience a bit jumbled. Still, I collected a few thoughts.

First up, Rib Ranch is a lot like Famous Dave’s. The french fries, for example, must have come directly out of Dave’s fryer. If you like Famous Dave’s, you’ll probably like Rib Ranch. And since Rib Ranch is locally-owned ... well, that’s a point in their favor in my book. If you don’t like Famous Dave’s, whether or not you’ll like Rib Ranch depends on what it is about Dave’s that you don’t like. Give Rib Ranch a try and judge it on its own merits.

The menu at Rib Ranch has plenty of options. There are the usual ribs, pork, brisket, and chicken options that you would expect to find at a barbecue joint. In addition, there are several sandwiches, some salads, and even a veggie burger. Sides include the usuals of beans, potatoes (fries, baked, mashed, romano), and a couple other items I don’t remember. (Like I said, the storm jumbled the whole experience.)

The Missus went with a chicken sandwich and the romano spuds. She enjoyed both, though despite saying “no bacon” twice, her sandwich arrived with bacon on it. That’s a definite no-no, but I quickly snatched the bacon from her plate and gave it a new home. It was delicious.

I opted for the special, a quarter roast chicken and 3 ribs for $10.99. The chicken was very moist and tasty. The seasoning on the chicken was just a touch salty for my tastes, but not unpleasantly so. The ribs were a little disappointing. The meat that was there was plenty tender, but there wasn’t much meat on the bones.

Service was both great and terrible. Our waiter greeted us enthusiastically, made recommendations when asked, and interacted nicely with Robbie. That lasted through the first half of our visit. Then, suddenly, he all but disappeared. Drinks went un-filled, the check took forever to arrive, and he was generally much less attentive than he should have been. I’m willing to keep an open mind and say that perhaps he is terrified of storms and he was curled up in the fetal position in the cooler. Whatever the cause, it was a real Jekyll and Hyde experience for us.

We do plan to go back, preferably on a less chaotic day. Hopefully then I’ll be able to do a more formal review. Have you been to Rib Ranch? How do you like it? What should I order next time?

Parker’s Rib Ranch is located at 6440 O Street. Call 402-467-5110 for takeout or catering.

Mapping Crime

June 12, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Police Chief Tom Casady announced a new crime mapping tool called, well, Crime Mapping that includes some nifty features for quickly seeing what’s going on near a particular address. It’s short on details of the crimes, but it’s handy for a quick glance. One cool feature is the ability to be notified about crimes that occur near an address you specify. Want to know if somebody is assaulted within a mile of your house? Register for a notification and you’ll get an e-mail whenever an assault is reported.

Wet and Wild

June 12, 2008 at 1:08pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Well that was an interesting evening. I hope you all came through okay. Any wet basements or drowned cars?

Rain gauge showing 2 inches of water

Things were actually fairly quiet here at 625 Elm Street. The ol’ rain gauge clocked in at around 2”. Normally that would be quite a bit, but compared to what many folks received, we may have been on the low end. The strangest thing about the evening for me was the lack of wind. I don’t know what things were like around town, but at our house I’m not sure if the winds ever gusted more than 30 miles per hour. In fact, the wind was calm or nearly calm throughout much of the evening. That made the skies all that much eerier.

What did y’all think about the extensive use of the sirens last night? Personally, I think it was the right move. There were enough ominous factors at play to justify keeping the sirens running. Sometimes I think that emergency management services cry wolf too soon and too frequently. (Or too late. During a storm earlier this season emergency management broke into the television broadcast to issue a severe thunderstorm warning for a storm that was already well on its way exiting the county.) But I support last night’s decision 100%.

By the way, if any of you have photos from last night or today, be sure to share them. You can either post them somewhere and give us a link, or e-mail them to me at mrwilson at lincolnite dot com.

Risky Business

June 11, 2008 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Going through the results of the latest survey on risky behavior by teens in Lancaster County is interesting:

  • 34% of teens have had sex. That sounds about right
  • 10% “rarely” or “never” wear a seatbelt. I was raised to always wear my seatbelt, so this seems weird to me. Why wouldn’t you wear a seatbelt?
  • 40% have had alcohol in the past 30 days. That’s an incredibly high number when you consider all the laws, regulations, and programs in place to get the number down. Something is broken.
  • 34% have smoked pot. Seriously, 1/3 of teens have used marijuana? Wow. I had the munchies 24/7 when I was a teen, and I was sober as a judge. I can’t imagine how much I might have eaten if I had partaken of the demon weed.
  • 13% have attempted suicide in the past year. This is the one that really caught my eye. One out of every eight teens has tried to kill himself. If that number were accurate for my graduating class, that would mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 of my classmates had attempted suicide before donning a cap and gown. I don’t know what counts as an “attempt”, and I don’t know how reliable this survey is. But ... wow.

Let’s Audit City Hall

June 11, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Today Deena Winter notes that a volunteer audit board is ready to put City government under the magnifying glass. The question now is what areas they should tackle first. One of the ideas floated so far is for them to review the city’s use of tax increment financing (TIF). That sounds like a good idea to me, though I’m concerned that a board of volunteers wouldn’t have the resources or know-how to do the studies and evaluate the data in a way that will truly be useful. Still, I’d like to know what they could find out.

What areas of City government would you audit?

Weather Fatigue

June 11, 2008 at 1:26pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I love Nebraska’s weather. First we sit through a drought for a few years. Then, when the drought is ready to be over, we don’t just get “enough” rain, we get a lot of rain. Or at least, it seems like a lot of rain. I haven’t seen comparisons to previous years to know how we’re comparing to average. But you can’t drive anywhere outside the city and not see standing water in the fields. It’s feast or famine, I guess.

And whaddaya know? We’re due for more severe weather tonight. Hang on to your hats.

The Businesses You’d Love to See in Lincoln

June 10, 2008 at 1:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Matt Olberding wants to know which businesses you would like to see set up shop in Lincoln. In particular, he is looking for your top picks of the big dogs: major retail stores and chain restaurants.

I honestly don’t have much items on that wish list. I’m just not a big shopper, so Marshall’s and Macy’s and the like don’t do anything for me. As for restaurants, I’m pretty pleased with how Lincoln’s dining scene has grown over the past 10 years, and the present options meet my needs just fine for now. In particular, local joints are drawing a larger share of my attention these days. But I don’t want to completely dodge the question, so here are two places I would love to see: First up, a new Schlotzsky’s. Lincoln’s only Schlotzsky’s on North 27th is a dive. Second, I would love to see Flying Star come to town. It’s a fantasy, of course; Flying Star is local to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and they just recently opened their first location (barely) outside the ABQ city limits. Maybe in 2050.

Check in over at Matt’s blog with your picks.

Where the Antelope Play

June 10, 2008 at 1:27pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Robbie, Daisy, and I spent last night at Antelope Park. We started with a quick walk around the grounds. We started by checking out the Child Advocacy Center.

Child Advocacy Center

Note that their address is 3200 Sumner, but if you try to get there via Sumner you’ll never find it. You have to come off South Street via Memorial Drive, just west of 33rd Street.

A gentleman serenaded park visitors with a little horn music throughout the evening. It must be weird standing on stage “performing” scales, exercises, and bits of music for people who point and mutter to each other, “What’s that guy doing up there?”

Antelope Park

Robbie found plenty of kids to play with, as he always does. Last night he spent a lot of time enjoying the sand.

Playing in the sand

As we left, we walked through the Veterans Memorial. Raise your hand if you know what this spot is used for.

Superman Needs Your Help!

June 10, 2008 at 1:17pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Phone Booth

I ran across this relic last night at Antelope Park. It sits next to the Auld Recreation Center. How many more phone booths are there in Lincoln? I can only think of one: Downtown at 14th and N.

Where in Lincoln is this?

June 9, 2008 at 1:10pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog



June 9, 2008 at 1:05pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


We made the pilgrimage to Cristina’s Family Restaurant in Crete the other day.


Return of the Friday Five

June 6, 2008 at 1:19pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Dear Lied Center folks,

Is it too much to ask that you keep your online schedule up-to-date? Sheesh. Oh well, today I wanted to list five events at the Lied Center that I wouldn’t mind seeing next season. But to see the list of events, I guess you’ll have to rely on the Ground Zero list of Lied Center events. My top 5:

  1. “Holiday With the Brass”, Canadian Brass. I love Canadian Brass, but it has been years since I last saw them perform. I plan to buy tickets to this performance as soon as possible.
  2. “Banned in the USSR,” Chiara String Quartet. I saw one of the Chiara String Quartet’s first performances in Nebraska and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would love to see them again.
  3. The Capitol Steps. A little political humor right before the election will be welcome relief.
  4. Soweto Gospel Choir. I always enjoy a good gospel performance.
  5. “The Phantom Tollbooth”. I doubt I’ll go to this one because it’s a performance for kids and Robbie is way too young to get it. I loved The Phantom Tollbooth when I was a kid, and it would be nice to relive the book. Maybe in a few years when Robbie is older.
  6. What are your top 5?

One Hundred Million Dollars of Incompetence

June 5, 2008 at 9:54pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Nebraska Department of Labor misused Federal funds to the tune of nearly $100 million. You read that correctly: one hundred million bucks.

I’m speechless. Heads should roll. Governor Heineman, what say you?

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