Latest Blog Posts

Meatloaf (the Meal, Not the Fat Guy)

November 30, 2005 at 8:36pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Where’s the best place in town to get good meatloaf? Bob’s Gridiron Grill had pretty decent meatloaf when it first opened, but the quality dropped over time, and Bob’s is closed now anyway. Eighth Street Iron Works had awesome meatloaf, but it’s gone, too. That leaves me with just Granite City and my mom’s kitchen on my list of places to get a decent meatloaf. Of any place in town I would bet that Stauffer’s might have good meatloaf, but I haven’t been there yet, so I can’t say for sure. Any suggestions?

Promote Thyself: Term Limits Piece

November 30, 2005 at 8:31pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’ve posted a piece on term limits over in the Articles section.

Choose Your Poison

November 30, 2005 at 3:22pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Mr. T sent along a link to an article from USA Today that describes how the FCC, in a dramatic reversal, now wants satellite and cable operators to let consumers choose their channels. So-called “a la carte” subscription methods would give the consumer more power over their channel lineup.

I like the idea of giving consumers more choice, but I strongly dislike the idea that we might get there “thanks” to FCC meddling.

The FCC is taking its latest stand for a single reason: the FCC is run by prudish, uptight bureaucrats who want to force their vision of morality upon all Americans. OK, that’s a little harsh, but only a little. This move is part of the FCC’s post-Super Bowl boob effort to “clean up” television and radio entertainment. That’s not inherently an unworthy goal, but the FCC’s methods to date have tended toward government censorship and the stifling of free expression. Their desired ends, though reasonable enough, are being pursued with unacceptable—and likely unconstitutional—means.

What I find most amusing about the FCC’s latest push in favor of “consumer rights” (a wolf in sheep’s clothing if I’ve ever seen one) is that it is in reaction to the failure of the FCC’s own policies and practices. The FCC has long supported current “block” channel packages. Likewise, the FCC has for years pushed for program ratings and filtering technology that ostensibly allows parents to block certain programs or channels. The infamous V-Chip, for example, required in all televisions since 1996, has been a complete failure. Few critics were surprised. Solutions to the problem—and identifying the presence of a problem in the first place—should be determined by the marketplace, not by government bureaucrats trying to score political points.

Why is it that government’s response to failed meddling is never to apologize and back away, but rather always to come up with a “new and improved” way to regulate, intervene, and interfere? Even if the FCC’s new stance is a good one, their involvement is far more likely to make the television experience worse for the consumer than better. One of the potential side effects of a la carte channel menus is that less popular, “minor” channels will no longer be affordable for cable and satellite companies to carry. The end result is fewer channels, a heavier reliance on “mainstream” channels, and less variety and fewer consumer choices—the exact opposite of the stated goal of a la carte proposals. The FCC will eventually realize that, and they will have a solution: more regulation. They will tell cable companies to add surcharges to customers’ bills to support the minor channels, or maybe the FCC will require customers to add one minor channel for every X number of mainstream channels he picks from the menu. In any event, the consumer is stuck with fewer choices, higher costs, or both.

In short, the notion of a la carte channel selection is compelling, but such a system should be driven by the market, not by the government. If it were such a great idea, one of the major cable or satelite providers would already be offering it, and the others would quickly follow. Consumers have toyed with the idea for a long time, and cable and satellite providers are very aware of it. The fact it is not yet available is not a sign of marketplace failure, but of success. I have no doubt that a la carte menus and 100% on-demand pay-per-view options are in our future. But let’s let the people who know best—the consumers and the providers—determine when the market is ready to support those systems in a way that maximizes consumer choice and minimizes costs.

“With intent to cause public inconvenience”

November 30, 2005 at 4:17am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Now this seems to be a little overzealous prosecuting/lawmaking - from Wyoming:

Bar’s banner brings obscenity citation

By ROBERT W. BLACK
Star-Tribune capital bureau

CHEYENNE—Life, sometimes, can be a real (rhymes with witch).

Lois Tobin found that out when she was cited for disorderly conduct because the banner hanging outside her Lingle tavern reads, “The Bitch’s Corner Bar.”

Specifically, Tobin was charged on Wednesday with violating the small eastern Wyoming town’s obscenity ordinance, which states that a person is guilty of disorderly conduct “if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or carelessly creating a risk thereof, he or she ... utters profane or obscene language in any public street or other public place, or place to which the public is invited.”

Suddenly I feel very very tired.

Home Visit

November 30, 2005 at 4:02am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Our case worker dropped by the house last night for our home visit. The visit was part interview, part information session, and part real estate appraisal.

The interview portion was easy enough. She didn’t really ask any questions we weren’t prepared for. In fact, many of her questions were similar to items we had responded to on the questionnaires that we each completed. There were a couple tricky questions, though. One that caught us off-guard was “What are the biggest challenges in your marriage right now?” It’s not that we don’t have our ups and downs—every relationship has them—but honestly, the biggest challenge we could come up with was deciding where to go to dinner each Date Night. I think part of the reason we had such a difficult time identifying any major challenges is that The Missus and I are very much in tune with each other right now, and it’s mostly because of the adoption process. Not only has this process forced us to think and talk about a whole host of topics (and come to some sort of a consensus on many of them), we’re also on a “we’re going to be parents!” high. After we’ve had a few sleepless nights with a screaming baby I’m sure we’ll have identified a few challenges in our marriage.

Our case worker also updated us on what comes next. In short, after completing just a little more paperwork, we will officially be approved to begin the “Pick me! Pick me!” process. It may seem strange to think of it that way, but in the open adoption process that’s not too far from how it actually works. Generally speaking, a placement with a boy happens within around five months, while girls take about eleven months. That’s not to say that five months from today we’ll have in our arms a baby boy, or eleven months from today we’ll be holding a baby girl. Those are just averages. There are far too many variables to consider to say that we’ll have a child in our home by

X date. Likewise, there are too many variables involved to say at this point whether we will adopt a boy or a girl (we have not expressed a preference).

The “real estate appraisal” actually was pretty basic. Our case worker noted the number and type of rooms in the house, number of smoke detectors, size of the yard, and other pieces of information that might be relevant to the appropriateness of our house for a child.

We’re getting closer. Hopefully before the end of the year we’ll be able to say that we are “expecting”. The major difference will be, of course, that we won’t have any idea when our due date might be.

Deena Winter Helps Bash Wal-Mart

November 29, 2005 at 4:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m awfully disappointed in Deena Winter after reading her article on the City Council’s discussion of a new Wal-Mart near 84th and Adams. This paragraph is what bothers me:

A series of Wal-Mart opponents testified against allowing another Wal-Mart into Lincoln, going through a litany of beefs about the world’s largest company and its well-publicized business practices: the number of its employees on government assistance and health care programs and the effect the company has on independent businesses and wages.

In that paragraph Ms. Winter has managed to imply negative things about Wal-Mart’s so-called “well-publicized business practices” without actually stating them. It’s a classic case of allowing the reader’s imagination to conjure up images that are worse than reality. She doesn’t state “the number of [Wal-Mart’s] employees on government assistance and health care programs” (Is it 1%? 50%? 100%?), nor does she cite “the effect the company has on independent businesses and wages”. It is, quite simply, lazy and biased.

In all fairness to Ms. Winter, it’s not like she was writing a story about the virtues and vices of Wal-Mart. The article was about a City Council meeting, and she reported what she heard. It’s not her fault the public’s comments were not accompanied by silly things like “facts” and “data”. Still, a little context would have been nice. Many people take these sorts of things at face value, and Ms. Winter needs to recognize that. The activist public feeds off of these sorts of articles because they fuel existing biases with pseudo-data, while the passive public only remembers the catchy baseless claims (Wal-Mart “will create excessive traffic, crime, litter and light and noise pollution”), pleas to emotion, and non
sequiturs (“A man ... said he has seen the impact Wal-Mart has had on floral shops, optical stores, paint stores, garden centers, grocery stores, shoe stores and clothing stores in small towns. He said the owners and employees of those stores contributed to their towns for years, until Wal-Mart came to town”).

The discussion in this situation ought to focus on only one thing: is a regional shopping center, including a large discount retailer, appropriate for the intersection of 84th and Adams? That, in and of itself, is an interesting question, but it is one that has more or less already been answered in the affirmative. The current discussion is rooted not in a rational analysis of the situation, but an emotional, ideological, and elitist drive to stifle consumer choice in favor of inconvenience and higher costs. In other words, it’s a discussion best held around the water cooler, on blogs like this, and on the opinion page, not in a local news story.

[Note: Do you hate Wal-Mart, and the proposed 84th & Adams Wal-Mart in particular? Write up a solid, well reasoned article and I’ll post it in the Opinion section. Send it to me at MrWilson at Lincolnite dot com.]

Land of the Free

November 29, 2005 at 3:26pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Welcome to the new America.

No More Lincoln Lights

November 29, 2005 at 3:19pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Cornhusker Council of the Boy Scouts of America won’t be hosting Lincoln Lights this year. The annual holiday lights display at Mahoney Park was cancelled due to declining interest and rising costs.

It’s sad to see Lincoln Lights go, but I can’t say I’m all that surprised. The cost per vehicle was fairly high, and the displays were too sparse throughout the park. A holiday lights display needs to be “dense” to be exciting enough to draw crowds year after year.

How long will it be before we see the predictable letters to the editor in the Journal Star blaming the demise of the display on those dang “atheists” and “gay-lovers” who hate the Boy Scouts? I’ve got my money on Thursday.

Weekend Wrap-Up

November 28, 2005 at 3:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Good morning, oh cheery Lincolnites! There’s nothing better than going back to work on the Monday following a four-day weekend, eh?

Yeah right.

I don’t know about you, but I had a pretty decent weekend. I survived the in-laws and the in-laws survived me. I consumed about as many calories as I’ve ever consumed over a Thanksgiving weekend. The Husker football team made Colorado look awful. The only real downer of the weekend was the Husker volleyball team’s five-game heart-breaker to Texas.

Now here we are in a fresh week with December breathing down our necks. December. That’s ridiculous. Where did December come from?

How about last night’s weather? I thought for sure we were going to end up with a little thundersnow, but no such luck. We will, however, be blessed with 50—50!—mile per hour gusts of wind today. Good ol’ Nebraska. I know we have a few readers out in central Nebraska. How’s that blizzard treating you folks out there? I’m a little jealous, to be honest. I love a good blizzard. We don’t get enough of those here in Lincoln. It’s easy for me to say that, though, since I make Star Tran deal with the roads. The Missus, with her 30 mile commute, isn’t such a big fan.

Tonight The Missus and I will be visited at home by our case worker. Tonight’s home visit is the last big step before we are officially approved to proceed with the adoption process. The case worker will check out the house to make sure we can offer a child a safe home environment. She will probably also ask us some questions to follow up on our autobiographies, questionnaires, and financial records. Which reminds me: I need to send our case worker directions to our house.

I suppose I should begin my work day. I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. Mr. T, I’d like some follow-up on the Jell-O and carrots salad, preferably with photos. And D.M.B., I hope your potatoes weren’t

too lumpy.

Game 11: Nebraska 30 Colorado 3

November 27, 2005 at 2:17am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

I apologize for no report on the KSU game.  It was a great, strange, weird game.  The Huskers were very lucky to get out of the KSU game with a win.  2 safties against us and 3 total in the game?  A blocked extra point…a blocked FG…a game winning fg by a freshman…just weird.  Nebraska was supposed to win and they did.  It wasn’t in convincing fashion but they got the job done.  A bye week and then….CU.

Read more...

Gobbled

November 25, 2005 at 3:12pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Ahh, another successful Thanksgiving. The in-laws made it to Lincoln safely, the weather was decent, the food was fantastic. All in all, a great day.

Why, though, did I have to finish off the remaining mashed potatoes and stuffing, and then top that off with The Missus’ famous sugar-shock-on-a-plate peanut butter pie? I had to have passed the 5,000 calorie barrier. Even Daisy got into the act, with several carrots and some chicken on top of her normal food allotment.

I’m not sure what everybody’s plans are today, but I think “not much” applies to most of the crew. We’ll probably end up having Valentino’s for dinner, which will be a real trick since half the city of Lincoln is probably thinking the same thing. We may try Runza for lunch, since my sister-in-law’s boyfriend has never had what I described to him as a “German calzone”.

Right now I’d better go take Daisy for a walk. She’s beginning to get antsy and I’m afraid she’ll start barking at me if we don’t go soon. I don’t want her waking up everybody else. Which begs the question: Why am I the one who gets up with her every morning and takes her for a walk? Oh yeah, it’s because I’m a pathetic dog person and Daisy has me wrapped around her little finger.

They’re HOW Old?!

November 23, 2005 at 3:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Three morons have been arrested for a BB shooting spree that caused over $100,000 damage earlier this month. Wait, let me correct that: three adult morons have been arrested. Chad Renker, Zachary Collier, and Eric Chambers, ages 21, 19, and 19, were picked up at their homes on Monday.

The trio is suspected of involvement in as many as 205 individual vandalism incidents in a single weekend. What’s an appropriate punishment for damage on that scale? I think a $100 fine for each offense and six months in jail is appropriate. Or better yet, if they’re found guilty in all 205 incidents, how about one day per incident? What would you suggest?

Thanksgiving in America

November 23, 2005 at 3:22pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus works in Crete with several relatively recent immigrants and their families. My wife asked one woman if she planned to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. The woman replied in her heavy accent:

“No! I said to my sisters, who work at [a meatpacking plant], ‘What is the point of coming to America, finally getting a day off, and spending the whole day cooking? No, we are going to Lincoln to eat at a real restaurant.”

And lo, a new family tradition is born. Priceless.

Non-fun Holiday

November 23, 2005 at 2:00pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Tomorrow I’m going to drive out to Central Iowa to do the holiday thing with the parents of my brother’s wife. I have gone to their house many a time for Thanksgiving since I used to live a stone’s throw away from them for several years when I was in school. Its not as if I actively dislike them, but at the same time, the experience isn’t festive at all. Case in point, her mom’s (the mom of my brother’s wife) cooking is pretty dreadful. I’d say I like about 10% of her cooking. She makes this awful salad composed of jello and shrimp every year. The first time I was like WTF jello and shrimp? They like to eat turkey that is so dried out it’s almost like beef jerky. Instead of making a home-made gravy from the turkey’s juices, they buy those packages of pre-made “gravy mix” from the store which is the only thing to put on the super-dried out turkey to moisten it. Plus her mom is an ultraconservative maniac who hates gays. She is like a broken record. One out of every three conversations she manages to somehow work in how evil gays are and what a horrible abomination homosexuality is. In the meantime I am thinking the true abomination is her horrible cooking and gravy/jello and shrimp salad.

Plus, they don’t like to watch sports or even the news on tv (surprise surprise). For years they didn’t even have a basic cable tv subscription. In other words the only thing they received on their tv was fuzzy signals of at best 2 of the 4 networks. They do, however, like to watch old re-runs of G-rated comedies that are decades old, like “The Pink Panther.” The point I am trying to make is that you can’t really escape from them by zoning out on the tv. You are basically forced to listen to the mom talk about how evil gays are in between praising her for her “fine cooking.” Thank God its only one day a ye

ar with them. Luckily I’m going to be visiting an old friend of mine as well down in Iowa City. It gives me a legitimate excuse to cut and run from their place as soon as the meal is over.

Addendum

I am going to have my friend from Iowa City give me a call on my cell phone several times during the day (I will turn the ring volume way up) so it looks apparent that I need to leave their place and get down there as soon as possible. 

Addendum 2

I just spoke with my brother’s wife and she tells me that her parents finally bought a DVD player recently (congratulations for making it to the 90s!) and that she is going to bring several decent DVDs over so we can watch them tomorrow.  Thank God this gives me an excuse to spend most of the day watching TV while I am at their house.

Hiccups

November 22, 2005 at 8:53pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

My apologies to those of you who subscribe to Lincolnite’s RSS and Atom feeds. The server’s PHP software was upgraded recently, and that caused a couple minor incompatibilities with a few plugins I use. All the problems should have been fixed by now, but if you run across any strange hiccups, let me know by leaving a comment.

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