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And Then There Were Two

September 30, 2010 at 5:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Two more foster care providers bite the dust on October 15. That’s very bad news.

Hat tip: Mr. T

Slide Into Home

September 30, 2010 at 1:09pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Here’s an interesting tweet from Jack Mitchell:

KLIN’s Coby Mach reporting that #LNK considering changing the eventual location of the new ice center to be right next to Haymarket Park

Sounds like a good idea to me. It has the downside of discouraging southward growth in the Haymarket. On the other hand, concentrating athletic activity on the north side of the Haymarket comes with its own perks, and it supports the idea of making that area a “sports zone” of sorts. You may recall that there have been murmurs of soccer fields, baseball fields, and even a new LPS football stadium in that area. Oh, and I can’t forget my favorite rumor-slash-prediction (which I started): UNL will build a Creighton-style soccer stadium in that area by 2015 to house its soccer team, plus an all-new men’s team. It could happen!

Dear Maggies

September 30, 2010 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Dear Maggie’s,

Please open a location in College View. You would fit in well in the neighborhood, what with Union College and a large Seventh Day Adventist population in the area. And me. I’ve been known to single-handedly provide restaurants with a ridiculous amount of business. (Ask the folks at Oso about my attendance record over the past six years or so.) So ... pretty please?

Hungrily yours,

- Mr. Wilson

Lies, Damned Lies…

September 29, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, and I suppose in some ways it is. That being said, I’m pleased that the Journal Star demonstrated some incredulity when analyzing annual census survey results that showed some ... well, odd variations from previous years. Rather than just report the results outright or bury dissenting opinions deep within the article, the piece gives prominent play to the notion that sometimes numbers lie. That’s an all-too-rare phenomenon in media reporting on statistics, medical breakthroughs, epidemiology, sociology, and, well, pretty much any other science-y category.

Despite the survey’s problems, it’s not entirely useless. We may not be able to have much confidence in specific numbers, but the general trend—overall increases in poverty-related indicators—is consistent with what common sense suggests is true. That’s worth our attention.

Dancing After Dark

September 29, 2010 at 12:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

My wee little brain simply cannot fathom why the Lincoln City Council only allows dancing until 2:00am. Can anybody provide even a moderately plausible explanation for that? Because frankly I’ve got nothin’.

Let’s hear your theories.

Excessive Upgrade Syndrome

September 28, 2010 at 12:44pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It sounds like a great deal: Buy today and save a half million dollars later! Who wouldn’t want to save a half million dollars?

In this case, the answer may be the City of Lincoln. The City needs some space and Experian wants to provide it. The only problem is that Experian’s offer of 355,000 square feet is just a tad higher than the City’s need for 23,000. The building is cheap, relatively speaking. It’s also overkill.

The Beutler administration wants to go ahead and buy the building. Jon Camp and others prefer to pass.

To me this looks like a case of Excessive Upgrade Syndrome. We’re all guilty of it from time to time. It’s the force that causes us to buy ridiculous quantities of food even though we’ll never eat it all, simply because the per-unit price is too good to pass up; or that causes us to buy the latest and greatest computer even though we only need the horsepower of the $400 model. Mayor Beutler sees a sale he just can’t pass up even though he has no need for the item he’s buying; Camp is playing the role of pragmatic spouse focused on today’s needs (and finances), and we neither need nor can really afford such a huge purchase.

Here at 625 Elm Street The Missus and I alternate roles. Sometimes she’s the impulsive “What a deal!” shopper, and sometimes it’s me. I understand both Beutler’s and Camp’s positions on this. In this situation, however, I side with Jon Camp. The City has a lot on its plate right now. Taking on a huge new building that will sit mostly empty for years, and taking that building off the tax rolls, seems unwise given all of the City’s needs and wishes. Could we save some money in the long term? Perhaps, though without seeing how calculations are made it’s difficult to say for certain. (The City claims we can save $500,000 over 15 years and “more” after that.) But there are oodles of ways we could save money over time. The trouble is, if you wrap yourself too tightly in the goal of saving money “some day”, you’ll bankrupt yourself today. The expenses we face today are real; the savings we could realize down the road are ultimately mere hopes and promises with no accountability attached.

Some big purchases are worth making for their investment value over time. This is a situation where, even if there is a payback “some day”, we can’t afford the cost today. Let’s pass.

The Boy Who Forgot How to Smile

September 27, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

My son is in the midst of a phase wherein he has forgotten how to smile naturally in photos. I offer the following as evidence:

Robbie at the creek

Robbie at the creek

Robbie at the creek

Robbie at the creek

My niece went through a similar phase a while back. It drove my sister batty. In Robbie’s case I think it’s hilarious, although I really hope he’s over it by the next time we have a family photo taken.

The Mountain is High / The Valley is Low

September 27, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

StarTran is offering free rides on Friday. If you have ever wanted to give StarTran a test drive, Friday would be a good opportunity. I know I give StarTran a hard time now and then, but I did ride the bus daily for a few years back when I worked Downtown. I saved a tremendous amount of money on transportation expenses. Depending on where you live and work—and that’s the big catch with StarTran, isn’t it?—it may be an option you should really consider.

Beer + Milk = Profit

September 24, 2010 at 12:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The folks behind Empyrean Brewing Co. are moving the brewery to the former Meadow Gold plant in the Haymarket. It sounds like the move is part of a long-range plan to redevelop the building for multiple uses. The building, located at 7th and M, is a bit far south relative to most Haymarket activity, but who knows what the next decade will bring. Empyrean’s current location is next door to Lazlo’s.

Speaking of Lazlo’s, is there any activity in the former Lazlo’s location? I still prefer the old layout over the new one. The old spot was quirky and fun. The new location feels like any old chain. When Lazlo’s first moved to its current spot I hoped that Jabrisco would reappear in the vacated space. No such luck so far.

Anyway, back to the beer. I’m sure the folks at PETA are happy about the swap of beer for milk. Or perhaps there’s still some milk production capability in the facility. If so, Chitoshi Nakahara has a recommendation for us: bilk. Lincoln, Nebraska: Bilk Capitol of the Midwest? It could happen.

Restaurant News

September 23, 2010 at 12:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It sounds like Downtowners will have a heap of new dining options in the near future. As a former Downtown worker I still follow Downtown dining news pretty closely, even though these days I probably won’t get to most of these places before they close. Yeesh, saying it that way sounds pretty depressing.

I’m trying to think of other restaurant news I’m aware of. Taco John’s has opened in the short-lived Taco Bueno location on 84th and Leighton. I still haven’t ever eaten at Taco John’s. I hear I’m not missing much.

There’s some kind of a Japanese restaurant near Carmela’s at 70th and Pioneers. Have any of you eaten there, or do you know anything about it? I’ve not heard any buzz despite the fact that usually Japanese food gets people talking at least a little bit.

Beyond that ... well shoot, I’ve got nothing. I guess lately I’ve been more focused on the three boys in the house than on food.

Well Isn’t That Special

September 22, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

You can thank this summer’s Special Olympics National Games for an extra $218,000 in sales taxes over projections for the month of July. Mayor Beutler says this “demonstrates the importance of keeping and maintaining events in our City.” And he’s right, it’s usually in our interests to host big events like that. I have to be “that guy” however and ask how much the Games cost the City in excess of normal expenditures. It seems like the City would have taken on extra expenses to put on something as big as the National Games. The LPD presence alone seems like it could have cost a pretty penny. Or perhaps any extra costs above and beyond the norm were covered via volunteerism, comp time, and that sort of thing.

Regardless, $218,000 in extra sales taxes translates into a couple million in extra dollars floating around the city. That’s ultimately good for all sorts of local businesses and their employees, which in turn is good for the city as a whole. Me, I came out of the event with a couple polos and a week-long fantastic experience. I’ll take that.

Underworked and Overpaid

September 22, 2010 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

When I see an article like this—summary: a man overpaid taxes after Lancaster County screwed up—I always wonder what the outcome would be if the shoe were on the other foot. I’d be surprised if the government would let the problem just go away. Since the government is us (theoretically), shouldn’t the rules be written to help protect us and what’s right in this sort of situation?

Your Lincoln Imagos

September 21, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Yesterday’s word of the day at dictionary.com was imago: “An idealized concept of a loved one, formed in childhood and retained unaltered in adult life.” Those of us who have lived in Lincoln most or all of our lives have many imagos associated with this town. What are yours?

I probably have dozens if I really sat down to think about it. Many are associated with food. Take Taco Inn, for instance. If I were to visit Taco Inn for the first time today I would probably never return. Yet I have a very fond impression of Taco Inn, no doubt initially formed when I was a kid. Even Lina’s, which used to be located in a former Taco Inn, got a subconscious boost from the imago.

And let’s be honest. Given all the great food available out there these days, would Valentino’s be so popular around here if it weren’t for the collective impact of many thousands of childhood memories etched into our brains? I think not.

The folks at Runza know how to play the imago game. Miller & Paine cinnamon rolls, anyone?

But now I’ve just gone and made myself hungry. What kinds of Lincoln-related imago color your lives?

Where in Lincoln is this?

September 20, 2010 at 1:31pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

image

EDIT: Solved!

Read more...

Eat on the Street

September 20, 2010 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I give a gigantic two thumbs up to the ordinance before the City Council that would expand street vendor opportunities. It’s a relatively inexpensive way for folks to start up a business and it can be a good way to discover food most folks wouldn’t otherwise try. (Although so far vendors in Lincoln have been pretty conservative, to my knowledge.) Sidewalk vendors sometimes get a bad reputation for being shady or unsanitary. Personally, I like that I can see exactly how the vendors handle the food. You should be more worried about restaurant kitchens where you can’t watch the food preparation process than about vendors where you can see their every move.

I sampled a couple sidewalk vendors when I worked Downtown. My favorite was the brat guy who stood outside The Cookie Company. Mmm, those were some tasty brats. Is he still around? I’m so rarely Downtown at lunch or late at night these days that I’m not up to date on the current vendors.

I know this is somewhat different, but I’m very curious about the folks who sell barbeque from the parking lot at 16th and N. I’ve never seen any customers there. Instead, there’s typically somebody manning the food, and one or two folks singing blues and/or playing a harmonica. Have any of you sampled their food yet? Do you know who they are or what they sell?

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