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Babies Make Christmas More Fun

December 27, 2004 at 9:26pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Lately I have become a bit too cynical about Christmas. Or, rather, the Holiday Season. After all, it’s not Christmas itself that bothers me. It’s all the hype that surrounds Christmas—the commercialism, the stress, the gimme-gimme attitudes, the bitching from the Left, the whining from the Right… And then there’s that whole Jesus thing. The poor Kid isn’t even in most peoples’ Top 10 Reasons for the Season any more.

Enter a baby’s first Christmas. If there’s anything that can make Christmas fun, this is it. My 8-month-old niece didn’t have a clue what all the fuss was about, but boy did she love it! Granted, babies don’t solve most of the Holiday Season’s problems, but they are great at bringing a family together to have one heckuva nice day. There are a couple downsides of having babies at Christmas: you spend a whole lot of money on ‘em, and they couldn’t care less because they just want to play with the bows and wrapping paper; and they get all the cool stuff, reminding you that yes, you really are an adult now.

It was Daisy’s first Christmas, too. A baby AND a puppy, both sharing their first Christmas. Folks, it doesn’t get much cooler than that.

I got everything I wanted—and more than I needed—for Christmas. Thanks everybody! The Unexpected Gift of the Year came from my parents. My brother-in-law and I both got a shiny new shop vac with detachable leaf blower. Three horses of raw sucking power! ::cue Tim Allen-style grunts:: I may pull ‘er out this afternoon to blow the leaves out of my gutters. That will be WAAAY easier than plucking ‘em out by hand.

I suppose I should go start on my chores. The Missus and I need to get the house cleaned up before we head off to ABQ tomorrow morning. There are few things more annoying than coming home to a dirty house after a trip.

Smooth as a Baby’s Butt

December 25, 2004 at 6:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I am officially bald, ladies and gentlemen. I scalped myself this morning. I can’t say I notice anything different. Well, except for the blood. There was lots and lots of blood. I should’ve used a razor intended for heads, not the cheap-ass thing I found in a drawer. Everything went just fine until I got to the base of my skull on the back of my head. That baby bled for quite a while.

I probably won’t try the bald look again any time soon. It’s not that I don’t like it—after all, it isn’t like my hair provides all that much coverage even when it’s “long”—but the maintenance would be a pain in the butt. The great thing about my usual ‘do is that maintenance is only required every third week or so. If I went bald, I’d probably have to shave every other day.

Nah, too much work.

2004: The Year of Puppet Sex

December 23, 2004 at 9:39pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Add this to the list of articles I didn’t think I’d ever see.

The Priest and the Rabbi

December 23, 2004 at 6:44pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

A rabbi and a priest met at the town picnic and began their usual “kibitzing.”

“This baked ham is just delicious,” the priest teased the rabbi. “You really should try some. I know it’s against your religion, but I can’t understand why such a wonderful thing should be forbidden. You just don’t know what you’re missing. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Mrs. Kennedy’s baked ham. Tell me rabbi, when are you going to break down and try a little ham?”

The rabbi looked at the priest, smiled and said, “At your wedding.”

Giving Stuff

December 23, 2004 at 4:22pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I have yet to figure out why, but every week I read The Fever Swamp over at National Review Online. One line from this week’s entry really grabbed me:

...while Christmas is about God becoming Man and divine love and all that, the “holiday season” has become almost solely about giving children stuff for the sake of giving them stuff. (emphasis in the original)

How true. Except for one thing: the “giving stuff for the sake of giving stuff” doesn’t stop with children.

Fire Steve!

December 22, 2004 at 9:44pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Nebraskans love to gripe. Our standard favorite target? The weather, of course. But Husker football comes in a close #2. Right now the most obvious target within Husker athletics—according to some people, anyway—is Athletic Director Steve Pederson. Some people don’t like Steve Pederson. No, scratch that. Some people HATE Steve Pederson.

Now some people have a website. Tread carefully, though; the place is a veritable intellectual vacuum.

Full disclosure: I am neither a Pederson fan, nor am I on the Fire Steve! bandwagon. I am more or less agnostic on the matter.

If you are a Husker fan, or if you have a dog in this fight, by all means take a while to browse around the website. It’s a hoot. You’ll have a hard time finding more straw men anywhere, with the possible exception of a Rush Limbaugh broadcast. Logical leaps, fallacies, and—this is petty, I know—typos gallore litter the site.

That’s not to say the website doesn’t make a point. It does, albeit the point it makes is pretty stale by now. But any advocacy effort needs to have a basic grasp of the principles of effective communication. On this point the FireSteve.com folks fail. Much of the FireSteve.com mantra is juvenile and ridiculous, like something you would expect a group of high school students to come up with. Heck, maybe the site is run by high school students. Bored high school students who need to spend more time on their English homework.

I know there are a couple of regular readers out there who agree with pretty much everything on firesteve.com. I would love to hear your comments.

Trying Their Best to Lose

December 22, 2004 at 4:18pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Democrats tries their darndest to lose this year. First they treated Howard Dean as a contender. Then they selected John F. Kerry—JFK, get it?—as their candidate. Then they actually let Kerry out in public where everybody could see for themselves how unappealing a candidate he was. THEN some bozo elector in Minnesota voted for John Edwards, likely on accident.

But New York’s democrats take the cake. Throwing away 31 electoral votes on some guy named “John L. Kerry of the State of Massachusetts”? That’s just going too far.

Not my Aleve!

December 21, 2004 at 7:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

You can’t have it! You can’t take it away from me! I don’t care if it’ll kill me—long before it does so it will have cured all my little aches and pains.

Aleve is one of the few OTC medications that actually works for me. I’ll be really ticked off if they decide to put it back behind the counter just because a few namby pambies kicked the bucket after being given overdoses for the sake of medical science. Not that I have too much to worry about right now. At my current rate of consumption any change in Aleve’s availability should affect me in, oh, 8 years or so. I probably don’t even use one of those little blue miracles—no, not THAT little blue miracle—per month. But taking away my Aleve would be like ripping my security blanket out of my hands. That’s just mean!

Hungry for a tomato? Tough.

December 21, 2004 at 6:18pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Florida’s tomato Nazis (aka the Florida Tomato Committee, a New Deal relic charged with ensuring tomato quality, because consumers are apparently too stupid to do that on their own) have decided that you shouldn’t be able to have plentiful fresh tomatoes this winter. You’ll just have to stick with the same old bland tomatoes you get every year?

Why’s that?

Because the Florida Tomato Committee decided that the UglyRipe variety of tomato, despite its tastiness, is just too darn ugly to ship out of state. I bet you didn’t know there was a government body that decided whether or not a tomato looks good enough for you to eat.

Does it bother anybody else that taxpayer bucks are being used to fund this kind of tasteless (sorry) regulation? It bothers the heck out of me. Why should I care if somebody wants to buy ugly tomatoes, so long as they meet standard food safety guidelines? I happen to care a lot about the appearance of my food—I won’t eat a banana that’s anything but bright yellow, for example—but why is it the government’s business to apply anal-retentive appearance standards, that have nothing to do with food quality, to my food? Appearance standards are for the free market to determine, aren’t they?

I’ll bet by now you’re thinking that the UglyRipe must be hideously ugly. It’s not. It’s a little lumpy, sure, but I wouldn’t call it ugly. Heck, being a bit short in the produce intelligence department I probably wouldn’t even notice anything different about them if I saw them in the grocery store.

Yet another example of petty government excess blocking consumers from having a wide variety of choices. ::

sigh::

The Urinal Game

December 21, 2004 at 12:18am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Are you ever confused about which urinal to use in public restrooms? Don’t fret!
The Urinal Game is here to help. You’ll never pick the wrong urinal again!

How to Price Your Products

December 20, 2004 at 5:47pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Joel Spolsky has an interesting article on pricing software. Although the article has a software orientation, the topics he covers are relevant to most any situation in which you want to know how much to charge for a product or service.

A Night on the Town

December 19, 2004 at 5:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus and I went out for our version of a night on the town last night. Dinner and a movie is about as exciting as our nights on the town ever get. But truthfully I don’t think we could handle much more excitement than that.

We began at Crawdaddy’s, down in the Haymarket. Mrs. Wilson and I love Crawdaddy’s. The place appears to be a total dive. Let’s just say the interior won’t ever compete with The Venue. But that’s ok. It gives the place character, and it’s a character Crawdaddy’s is not afraid to embrace. When we walked in around 5:45 we were the only people there. What a shame. There really should be a wait at a place like Crawdaddy’s.

The food, as usual, was excellent. Mrs. Wilson got her usual crawfish pie, while I got my usual Ultimate Big Ass Burrito. My burrito was a little disappointing because it wasn’t nearly as spicy as it could have been (I ordered it with Crawdaddy’s own mofo salsa). That’s probably for the best, though, because sitting in a movie theater with a gut full of habanero-based salsa probably could have made for a few uncomfortable moments—or one very, very prolonged one.

After Crawdaddy’s we headed over to the Lincoln Grand, Lincoln’s newest movie theater and, at 14 screens, its only megaplex. Douglas Theaters, the City of Lincoln, and the Downtown Lincoln Association all have high hopes for The Grand as part of Downtown Lincoln’s revitalization. If Douglas doesn’t get some better management into The Grand, it ain’t gonna last long.

Let me say one thing up front: The Grand is an attractive place, inside and out (although Mrs. Wils

on was not crazy about the ‘70’s orange countertops in the restrooms). The stadium seating is nice, the eye-catching exterior decor is nice ... you get the picture. But the things that people really remember—like how long they had to stand in line to buy a ticket, and how organized the seating process was—were executed very poorly. Most critically, none of the employees seemed to have been trained in the art of customer service. While waiting to enter our theater we stood among a mass of dozens of people. People wishing to see several different movies were all grouped together in one very disorganized—and disgruntled—mob. From what I could understand the “correct” procedure was to fight your way through the mob, find the ticket-taker at the front of the mob, ask him if your movie was seating yet, and when he told you no, return to the back of the mob. The procedure annoyed the hell out of the ticket-taker and the customers. And once the ticket-taker decided we could be seated ... what a madhouse. Eventually two more ticket-takers showed up to help, but the damage had been done.

The movie we decided to see was Closer. I thought it was very well done, although I can certainly see why many people wouldn’t like it. Closer is a tale of sex, trust, and betrayal among four people. In my opinion the four main actors—Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Clive Owen—performed very well, but I’m no cinema buff. The movie moves pretty slowly and is mainly dialogue-driven, but it held my attention throughout. If you don’t mind frank discussions about sex, I recommend seeing for yourself if Closer is something you enjoy. If you flip out at the mere hint of The Evil ‘F’ Word, Closer isn’t for you.

Fetus, Honda Civic…What’s the difference?

December 17, 2004 at 8:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Here’s a repugnant headline from the Omaha World-Herald: Pregnant woman killed; 8-month fetus stolen. “Stolen?” One steals watches and cars and pretty little trinkets. One does not “steal” a human being.

Ugh.

[Update: 12/17/04 4:16pm]The thing was recovered! Oh wait, it’s not a thing any more—it has finally achieved baby status.

In all seriousness, this is great news. At least now the poor grieving husband is not also a grieving father. Not that that’s much of a consolation, but in a grisly situation like this, it’s something.[/update]

Don’t Piss Off the Plus-Sized Community

December 17, 2004 at 5:14pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

This tale from the University of Oregon is pretty entertaining. Apparently last year’s production of The Vagina Monologues didn’t go over well because some groups were underrepresented: the “women of color community,” the “plus-sized community,” and the “queer community” were all offended that “their people” didn’t have prominent roles (or any roles at all). So this year everybody gets to play, there are no auditions, and, in theory, everybody will be happy. Or something.

Which raises the issue: I thought acting was all about being something you’re not. Doesn’t it take something away from the performance if everybody just plays ... herself?

New Dining Venue

December 17, 2004 at 4:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

There’s a new dining venue in town called, oddly enough, Venue Restaurant and Lounge. It’s not your everyday restaurant. Why? Well clue #1 is that they serve duck and creme brulee, not common features on menus in Lincoln, Nebraska. Clue #2 is that their steaks cost over $20. Again, not common in Lincoln. (After all, it’s not like the steaks have to travel all that far to arrive at your plate.)

It looks like a place that is worth visiting, if only rarely. There is certainly a market for snooty food in Lincoln, and Venue is likely to cater to a portion of that market. I, personally, wouldn’t have chosen 70th & Pioneers as a location, though. The old Ruby Tuesday’s in the Haymarket could have made an excellent location for this type of restaurant. Whereas 70th & Pioneers will rely on locals, a Haymarket location thrives on locals and visitors. And even if Venue is shooting for locals, southwest Lincoln may have been a wiser choice. There’s a whoooole lot of money east of 27th Street and south of Old Cheney Road.

Anyway, I wish the owners the best of luck. Lincolnites love their food, so as long as Venue actually serves food that’s worth the price, they’ll do just fine.

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