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Light Spinach Side

July 31, 2005 at 4:30pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Here’s an easy side dish using fresh spinach as the base- serves 2 and takes about 5 minutes-

Bag of fresh spinach, washed
Garlic, 1-3 cloves
Thai style chilis (the little green or red ones), 2-3
Fresh half lemon (if you like sour)
(salt to taste - or salty substitute)

OK Sautee your garlic and chilis (both spliced or chopped up) in olive oil under medium hot heat for a few minutes. The garlic will start to turn dark and the chilis will get bright in color after a few minutes. Pour in the entire bag of spinach. Remember - this reduces extremely fast. Using a pair of tongs and a spatula, or some similar combination, rapidly stir the spinach so the oil, garlic and chilis are spread around the spinach. The spinach should be done in no more than 60 seconds. Remember, you want them briefly sauteed so they retain some body as opposed to the mushy and stringy stuff you get from a can.

Sprinkle lemon juice to taste on the spinach and enjoy.

I made this this morning using some variant of chilis courtesy of Mr. Wilson’s garden and it was pretty good. Note: I am extremely sensitive to overly salty food unlike many people, so you will probably want to use a bit of kosher salt as well although I did not use any. I actually put on some fresh cut romano cheese I normally use for chicken to give it an added flavor. In a lot of asian countries, the salt flavor would be provided by using fried or dried anchovies or salted baby shrimp (the latter of which you can get in asian or mexican stores in the US).

This dish is for people who like flavor - with a nice contrast between the garlic, chilis, lemon, and salt (if you like) flavors intermingling. Using too much garlic or chilis can make it too overpowering however. This goes great with fish as a main entree, or some other seafood.

Billion Dollar Buses to Nowhere

July 29, 2005 at 2:31pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

In honor of Discovery’s foam-flinging trip to space, I think we all need to stop and read “This Bus Goes Nowhere” by Vin Suprynowicz.

Our Struggle

July 29, 2005 at 2:26pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The global war on terror has been rebranded as a “struggle” by the Bush Administration. I suppose there are lots of reasons why the change was made, including the fact that wars can be won decisively, while struggles tend to continue for a while. But how wise is it to refer to the battle against terrorism as a struggle? Doesn’t struggle invoke images of strain and difficulty, all while getting the crap beaten out of oneself? Even if you win a struggle, you’re still pretty dang wiped out in the end. That hardly seems marketable. I assume that Bush & Co. ran the word past a few focus groups. If so, they need some new focus group participants. Struggle, after all, is associated with folks that Bush ought not be mingling with, most notably Karl Marx (“class struggle”) and Adolph Hitler (”Mein Kampf” [my struggle]).

Welcome to America, former home of the War on Terror, now known as “unser Kampf.”

Two Articles in the LJS

July 29, 2005 at 2:21am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

A couple quick comments about the front page of this morning’s LJS:

First, “State treasury jobs a Nesbitt family affair” is a really unfair, exceptionally biased article by Nate Jenkins. The core point of the article—that it is unusual that three related men all work in the same small state agency—is valid. It’s certainly something the public has a right to know about, although I, personally, would not have assigned it front page status. But that validity is tarnished by the fact that Jenkins’s article is very poorly written. He includes biased and inflammatory phrases like “the family gathering on the state’s dime,” for example. He apparently interviewed only one state senator while fishing for quotes. He makes no mention of any attempt to determine if this is the only political cronyism or nepotism going on in Nebraska. In short, whether or not it was his intent, Nate Jenkins comes off looking like a reporter giddy about the prospect of bringing down a politician by slinging a little mud. Grow up, Jenkins.

Also on the front page—in fact, dominating most of the front page—is a sappy piece about Chuck Hagel titled “Criticized for being HIS OWN MAN”. Gag. I could tell just by reading the title and looking at the “I’m a victim/feel sorry for me” photo that it was a column by Don Walton. I was correct. Don Walton, you see, is a liberal pissed off about living in a conservative state. He’s the type who just doesn’t understand why all those dang conservatives don’t “get it” and see how obvious it is that President Bush et al. are idiots.

To see him get on the Hagel bandwagon is rich. Chuck Hagel, you see, wants to run for president in 2008. He is no fool; he knows that in order to gain any name-recognition at all he must differentiate himself and generate early headlines. He is doing that by strongly o

pposing the Iraq War, or at least Bush’s handling of it. Democrats take that as proof that Bush’s foreign policy sucks rocks; Republicans take that as proof that Chuck Hagel is some sort of lefty sympathizer. Walton fills the article with assurances that Hagel’s publicity seeking has nothing to do with his presidential aspirations. Right. The argument goes that Hagel wouldn’t risk ticking off the right wing of the Republican Party if he really wanted to run for president. Folks who believe that are wrong. In order to generate the requisite attention in preparation for 2008 Hagel has to take gambles. This is one of them. He is gambling that there will be enough people around in 2008 who dislike Bush’s foreign policy so much that they will guide him through the primaries and into the general election. And besides, he’s safe on nearly every issue except foreign policy. Foreign policy is what gives him an identity through the primaries; in every other regard he is a perfect presidential Republican. Or so he hopes.

Hagel’s Iraq War disagreement is probably the only thing he has in common with Walton. Not that Walton cares. Walton is following the oh-so-stereotypical path of a Democrat drooling over Hagel. “See! See! A Republican—a Republican!—disagrees with Bush on the Iraq War! That means Bush is wrong! Hagel is a genius!” Whatever, buddy.

The headline’s assertion that Hagel is a victim for “being his own man” is hilarious. Hagel is hardly “his own man”. He votes with the president no less than 94% of the time, and with his party no less than 92% of the time. Of our two senators, Ben Nelson is by far closer to being “his own man” than Hagel who, based solely on these numbers, is closer to a party puppet than an indepent voice.

The whole article reads like a very transparent attempt by a bitter lefty (Walton) to spit on a powerful neocon (Bush) by embracing a single-issue ally (Hagel). In the process, Walton hopes other Lincolnites will join in the indirect Bush-bashing by feeling pity for poor, oppressed Chuck Hagel. Good luck with that, Don. You’re going to need it in this state.

Pressing issues of law and policy

July 29, 2005 at 12:55am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

A humorous take on a groundbreaking recent decision out of Ohio:

“In this case we are called on to determine whether a cow is an uninsured motor vehicle under appellants’ insurance policy. We hold that it is not.”

Kudos to Kimbo for the story from A Criminal Waste of Space.

Lunch Was Great. And Terrible.

July 28, 2005 at 8:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I ate with The Missus at Bison Witches today. My Smoke Stack sandwich was very tasty, as usual. My chili, on the other hand, was awful. Terrible awful horrible. A vomitorious concoction of moldy socks, soiled underwear, and yak urine. I have never had a bad meal at Bison Witches before today and their chili has always been superb. But not today!

If you go to Bison Witches today for Pete’s sake don’t order the chili!

The FBI Don’t Need No Oversight!

July 28, 2005 at 7:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The FBI wants the authority to issue subpoenas without having to deal with that pesky problem of judicial oversight. Having to mess with judges just slows things down, after all. And it increases the odds that you can’t trample on an individual’s civil liberties without somebody making a big fuss. The money quote:

Mueller said he objects to any oversight of an FBI subpoena outside of the bureau.

Right. Because heaven forbid the FBI actually have to justify its actions to the public before indefinitely detaining some poor soul. Secrecy and closed doors are good! It’s for your own protection! Anybody who thinks otherwise is a terrorist—or, worse, a communist!


Blind Lincolnite Plays Video Games

July 28, 2005 at 2:41pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Brice Mellen’s story is pretty impressive. He is a video game fanatic. And he’s blind. How does he do it? Practice, practice, practice.

Perhaps the coolest part of the story is his career goal: he wants to study video game design. He’ll get a few raised eyebrows, I’m sure. But a guy like Brice can only be good for the video game industry.

Married Babies Having Babies

July 27, 2005 at 8:24pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

My my, a 22 year-old Falls City man sure has stirred up a fuss. That’s what happens when you marry a 14 year-old who you impregnated at age 13.

These situations are not all that uncommon, and they highlight the futility of criminalizing social behaviors—in particular those that are criminalized primarily because they make most of society say “ick”. And really, what is it, other than the “ick” factor, that makes the Falls City guy a criminal? I hear things like “It’s just wrong.” Why? “It’s gross.” What makes this gross, and why should your concept of gross put people in jail? “22 year-olds shouldn’t even want to date 14 year-olds.” What’s your point? This guy obviously did.

It seems odd to me that this 14 year-old girl can legally be married and give birth to a child, but she cannot drive for two years, she cannot buy certain video games for three years, she cannot watch movies depicting the act that impregnated her for three years, and she cannot purchase or consume alcohol for seven years. That’s not to say that she should or should not be allowed to do any of those things, now or when she is “old enough”. But I often wonder why 16 year-olds are old enough to drive but not vote. 18 year-olds are old enough to vote and die in combat, but not drink alcohol. And why 14 year-olds are old enough to have sex—but only with guys of a certain age—and give birth, but not marry. All of the age limits we assign to social behaviors are arbitrary. Why that age and not some other age? Why any age?

Any time I see a 20-something guy hanging out with young teenagers I think to myself, “Why the heck would he want t

o do that? Young teenagers are annoying!” So seeing a 20-something guy marry a 14 year-old really boggles my mind. I don’t know if I think it ought to be allowed or not. But I do know that thinking it is “icky” is not a valid reason to criminalize it.

Strange Marketing Strategy

July 27, 2005 at 7:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star pulled an odd marketing move this morning. They distributed free newspapers throughout my neighborhood. Each free newspaper was inside a plastic bag telling the recipient how he could subscribe to the Journal Star, how cool the Journal Star is, yadda yadda yadda. That sounds pretty reasonable, right? Well, yeah, except that the free newspapers appeared to have been delivered only to homes that already subscribe to the Journal Star!

When I saw the free and subscription newspapers sitting side-by-side on our front porch, I assumed they had delivered the free copy to everybody. But while walking Daisy it became evident that only certain houses received the free copy. That’s when I noticed something strange: along our whole walking route I never saw a free copy of the paper sitting alone. it was always sitting next to a regular subscription copy of the paper. (They were easy to tell apart since they were packaged in different bags.) Not every house that had a subscription paper also had a freebie, but every house with a freebie also had a subscription.

I suppose it is possible that 1) I just didn’t notice some of the houses that only received the free copy; and/or 2) the folks who received just the free copy had already taken it inside. But both explanations seem improbably. The first is improbable because I made a conscious effort to look at each house’s front porch along our walking route. The second is improbably because I walk between 6:00 and 6:30. A few people in my neighborhood are up and active at that time, but not many. After over a year of walking the same route every morning, I know pretty well which folks are active and which are not at that time. Most of the houses along the route are very quiet at that time.

Anyway, I figure this is just the result of a lazy paper carr

ier delivering the free copies. He can do nearly the same amount of work delivering the extras to houses that already subscribe, rather than doubling (or more) his work delivering extras. In any event, I’m just thankful for the extra copy; it means that I get to have a copy of the paper on the bus, while The Missus gets to keep a copy at home to read over breakfast and lunch.

A Mid-Summer Night’s Freeze

July 27, 2005 at 7:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I wouldn’t be a proper Nebraskan if I didn’t write at least one post about our mini-deep freeze of late. Every Nebraskan is legally obligated to comment, to as many people as possible, on every dramatic change in weather patterns. Likewise on any especially stable weather patterns. Likewise on pretty much any weather phenomenon at all. It’s in the Constitution somewhere.

It is odd coming off a long stretch of 95+ degree days and hopping straight to 50 degree nights. Not as odd for me, perhaps, since it got that cool in the evenings in the mountains where I stayed over the weekend. But it still feels funny.

I always enjoy listening to the Global Warming fanatics (both believers and non-believers) during these hiccups in the “normal” weather pattern. Global Warming believers insist that both the heat wave and the cold snap are proof of Global Warming. Non-believers insist that the heat wave is a normal summer occurrence, while the cold snap is proof that Global Warming is not occurring. It’s a beautiful thing, watching the two sides talk past each other.

My Professor in the News

July 26, 2005 at 7:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

It’s always good to see UNL faculty research featured in the national media, but it’s even more exciting when one of the featured individuals is somebody you worked with. In this case, Professor John Hibbing is helping to stir up debate by publishing research that suggests that political behavior is linked to genetics, and that political behavior and party identification do not correlate nearly as well as most people assume. It is interesting to watch Professor Hibbing’s research evolve. I first worked with him shortly after Congress as Public Enemy: Public Attitudes Toward American Political Institutions came out. That was followed by Stealth Democracy: Americans’ Beliefs about How Government Should Work—a book for which I prepared the index, and I even caught a couple (minor) typos shortly before it went to press. Professor Hibbing is a great guy, he’s very intelligent, and he is a lot of fun to work with. I look forward to seeing where his research takes him.

I’m Back, And I Brought Rain

July 26, 2005 at 2:24pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

You can thank me for the rain and cool weather today. I brought both back with me from Utah, just for all you folks whining about our little heat wave of late. You’re welcome.

Utah was a lot of fun, but it definitely was not a flawless trip. Let’s see: we had car troubles a mere 80 miles into the trip; we had to stay in a hotel the first night as a result; I encountered my first experience with altitude sickness… I could go on, but I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t have a good time. It was just incredible how many things went wrong over the course of the trip. Oddly enough the bad luck actually began three years ago when we were returning from our first trip to Utah. Back then our camper blew a tire just outside of Kearney, making us arrive home a couple hours later than we should have.

I did manage to take several pretty decent photos, so that was a plus. I will eventually post the photos and more detail about the trip. Hopefully I’ll get around to that this week or else I’ll never do it.

I’m pretty tuckered today, but I suppose that’s to be expected after a busy trip. My dad and I have already started planning our next trip, probably for 2007.


July 26, 2005 at 3:57am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

It is the bane of all MMORPGs: Noobs. Yes, the noobs have hit Guild Wars enmasse. This was evident in my rather poor groupings in the Underworld and Fissure of Woe these past few days. I classify them into several groups:

“Rambos” - Warrior types who charge mobs without notice or without waiting for casters to regain energy, hence pulling groups of mobs to your party for certain death. Usually these are jr high/high school boys living at home with their parents (You can tell because they say stuff like “My Mom’s being a jerk right now.”)

“Leavers” - Any class - You’ve been waiting at the Temple of Ages for 20 minutes to get a team pulled together and finally enter the mission, after a death within the first few minutes, the leaver suddenly states “you guys suck, fuck you” and quits the mission - gotta love those guys. The other type of leaver is the one who joined the group, and five minutes into the mission, suddenly “remembers” that his work shift or class starts in 5 minutes and he has to leave, thus weakening the entire pary.

“Monk Leavers” - A special sub-class of the “Leaver” types - these are healing monks who know that they are a rare and in demand class, and when they think the team play isn’t going exactly the way they would like, suddenly quit the party without notice to go back and join another party.

“Know it alls” - Again, these guys tend to be warriors for some reason - They like to castigate other players for not doing exactly what they think is the right tactic, and back that up with statements like “STFU and stare at my 15k armor - I come here every night.” Even when the party is dead they msg you with “see I told you so” or “you should have done what I said bitch” statements.

“Totally incompetent” - OK everyone has to start somewhere, but when you are going into elite areas like the Underworld, you should avoid people who don’t know simple answers to questions

that they could have easily googled on the internets, like “which guy do I pay to get in?” and “who has favor now?”

Hmmmm. I am hoping this doesn’t become a trend at the Temple of Ages. It may be that this is the bane of Guild Wars as the downside of a non-grinding MMORPG where the experienced players stay in. I am waiting to see if the D&D or Middle Earth MMORPGs offer anything new. 


July 20, 2005 at 3:51am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’m leaving for the Uintas Mountains of Utah tomorrow morning. My dad and I are shooting for a 6:00a.m. departure. Barring a surprise trip to an internet cafe I won’t be checking in again until Monday or Tuesday. See you then!

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