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Clean Your Corner of Lincoln: April 22-23

March 26, 2006 at 8:38pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Every weekend morning I walk my dog along Beal Slough near my house. The creek and the native grasses along its banks can be surprisingly beautiful and calming, even with trucks rumbling along Highway 2 just a hundred yards away. Unfortunately, there is a lot of trash along the creek and nobody seems to do anything about it. So I figured, what the heck, I’ll do something about it. I decided that some Sunday morning this spring I’m going to put on some gloves, grab some trash bags, and go clean up the area along Beal Slough between 40th and 48th Streets.

Then I figured, heck, why not see if anybody else wants to join in. So here is my invitation to you: Join me and Clean Your Corner of Lincoln the weekend of April 22 and 23. You are welcome to join me along Beal Slough, but I encourage you to pick a public place that means something to you. It may be the Holmes Lake dog run, Wilderness Park (calling beerorkid!), a bike trail, Downtown, or a neighborhood school. There are no rules, no organization, and no prizes. Just do it because it’s a nice thing to do. Give an hour, a morning, a day, or even the whole weekend. Or even just bend over to pick up that Mountain Dew bottle sitting in the sand at the playground. I plan to give the morning of Sunday, April 23rd to the cause. I figure a pretty decent clean-up of the area I’ve selected should take 4-6 hours.

I hope at least a few of you decide to chip in your time and energy. Think about it, and let me know which corner of Lincoln you plan to clean.

Not A Date Movie

March 26, 2006 at 2:08am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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The Road to Guantanamo. Just saw this one. This has been in general distribution through Europe in various mediums and available on the internets (legally and illegally) recently, and it was announced just last week that there will be a U.S. theatrical release too. There aren’t any spoilers here. It’s based on the nightmarish experiences of the “Tipton Three” - three young Brits who got rounded up by Afghan forces during the war and ultimately ended up in Camp X-Ray and Camp Delta. These guys were treated like dogs. At the movie’s conclusion, the filmmakers ask a good question: Why is it that hundreds of people still in detention have yet to be charged?

An Update on Blue Orchid

March 25, 2006 at 6:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus, The Mother-in-Law, and I went to Blue Orchid last night. (Read my Blue Orchid review.) It was the first time I had been back since my bad experience back in early February. I’m happy to report that most of the restaurant’s service hiccups seem to have been addressed. The servers were well trained and prepared, and they looked nice in their all-black outfits. The only glaring mark against them: the servers at a nice restaurant should not call a table of customers “guys”, especially when 2/3 of them aren’t. Leave the “guys” lingo to Applebee’s.

The food was, as always, outstanding. The Missus went with her favorite, yellow curry, The Mother-in-Law opted for pad thai, and I tried the green peppercorn entree. My meal was incredible, and the women had nothing but praise for their dishes. I have eaten five different entrees in four trips to Blue Orchid and I have adored every single one. No other restaurant has ever hit five-for-five for me.

My only major complaint about last night’s experience was the temperature. We were seated near the big windows on the south end of the restaurant and the temperature was very chilly. A couple customers wore their coats throughout their meals. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the windows, with the insulation, with the air handling, or something else, but it really should be addressed.

Overall I was very pleased with Blue Orchid’s continual growth and maturation. Assuming they keep gradually improving, I fully expect Blue Orchid to settle at or near the top of most Lincolnites’ list of great restaurants.

Oh Yeah…

March 25, 2006 at 12:43am By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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Heaven on earth may exist….on the outskirts of downtown Lincoln. The newly-opened Jerusalem’s Bakery on 19th and “M” St. does robust business in various Mexican and Central American pastries. Actually they are not “newly-opened” but have relocated from a few blocks away to this new location. But this family operation does have a new, small, take-out only food service with various Middle Eastern style-fare (kubbe, falafel) as well as tamales, .75 cent flautas, and other Latino foods. The $1 fried empanadas are very tasty. They are homemade and filled with potatoes and other vegetables and a little beef. Four of these slices of heaven, with some hot dipping sauce, a complimentary side salad and a small horchata rice drink for another buck makes for a nice $5 comfort-food break/meal anytime of day. 

I should note that, Jerusalem’s is NOT a “restaurant.” There is no sit down space, the kitchen is tiny and lacks a lot of industrial restaurant equipment, and most of the staff members work in the bakery. The owners are very friendly as well. Its a small Mom and Pop place and you can expect a somewhat long wait if you are coming for the take-out service at the wrong time. But the wait is worth it for those tasty empanadas.

Good Podcasts?

March 24, 2006 at 1:58am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Since I have taken to driving to Omaha/Council Bluffs often due to a current work project, listening to good podcasts has really helped make all that highway time go by faster. A few I really like currently are:

Inside Europe by Deutsche-Welle Radio. This is a weekly episode usually about 50 or so minutes long. They tend to cover about 4-5 or so different topics per show “at length.” Recent topics they have examined include the EU’s response to the Hamas election win, the legacy of Slobodan Milosevic, and the Russia/Ukraine gas dispute. Their current episode features a story on the French student riots. The topics they cover are all on current political affairs, and are in-depth enough to provide listeners with a general overview of the topic, but not so detailed that you feel lost if you don’t have previous knowledge about the issue they are examining.   

The twice a week Cinecast is made by two young, fast-talking Chicago guys who review both current movies and examine older ones, both well known commercial successes and others that didn’t garner the same level of attention. I haven’t been listening to this podcast that long and haven’t figured out who exactly these guys are, but they obviously watch a lot of movies closely. And they always have some interesting commentary on Keanu Reeves. The discussion is usually in-depth and critical in a thoughtful way, as opposed to being trite or derogatory. In their current episode, they review “V for Vendetta” and offer a preview of their Top 5 dystopian movies. At times however, they tend to talk a little TOO fast.

KQED’s Pacific Time is a short (25 minutes or so) weekly podcast that covers issues pertinent to both East Asia and the US. As opposed to Inside Europe, their content tends to be less political and more the kind of softer “human interest” stories that usually compose the final segment of the evening network news shows. The latest podcast focuses on young, ethnic Cambodians who were raised in the US but deported back to Cambodia for committing felonies state-side because they didn’t have citizen status, and how they are coping with living back in Cambodia - a nation they are unfamiliar with. For more of a political podcast (in English), the Asia-Pacific podcast from Australia is a good one (available as a daily or as a weekly review of major stories).

KCRW’s Politics of Culture can be a total hit or a total miss depending on your interests. They focus on a single topic per issue, and you’re either into it or you’re not. The “Wilshire Blvd” (the history of LA’s Wilshire Blvd and urban sprawl in LA) and “Story Corps” (a current oral history project) episodes I really enjoyed, so much that I forwarded both episodes on to friends. Can’t say the same for the “American Vertigo” episode (interview with a French intellectual about perceptions of the US) or “The Getty Villa.” The “Politics of Culture” label is a bit misleading in my opinion. Its not really a critical examination of how culture and politics interact, but it is an enjoyable listen most of the time, again, depending on your taste and interests.     

Anyone have other podcasts to recommend (besides The Onion)?

The Chipotle Orange Shrimp Xperience

March 24, 2006 at 1:28am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I just got back from a trip to Doughboyz Bistro with The Missus and The Mother-in-Law. (Read my Doughboyz Bistro review.) It was my third visit to Doughboyz, and for the first time it was packed, noisy, and definitely happening. For one thing the pre-teen-girl-to-everybody-else ratio was extremely high. (A Girl Scout outing, perhaps?) The staff were harried, but they did a good job trying to keep up.

We started with a garlic loaf ($3.85) and marinara sauce ($.89) for an appetizer. The bread was buttery (but not soggy), cheesey, and very flavorful. I really enjoyed the marinara sauce, which had just a bit of a zing and was pleasantly different from the usual. The Missus and The Mother-in-Law ordered side salads ($2.49). They expected boring, but instead they each received a nicely presented plate of mixed greens (no iceberg here!).

For our appetizer we went with a medium Chipotle Orange Shrimp Xperience pizza ($20.25). It was topped with—are you ready for all of this?—orange chipotle sauce, shallots, mandarin oranges, basic, oregano chiffonade, garlic, pepper, buffalo mozzarella, goat cheese, and parmesan. Whew! Both The Mother-in-Law and I summed up our first impressions thusly: it was…different. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tasty pizza. I would definitely add a slice to my plate if it were an option on a buffet. But for a whole meal it just wasn’t for me. I can certainly see some folks falling madly in love with this incredibly original pie, though, so I encourage you to give it a try. (For the rest of you, I recommend the DBQ Chicken pizza. Mmm.)

If you haven’t already picked up on the theme, Doughboyz Bistro is unlike any other restaurant in Lincoln. “Original” is a word that gets thrown around too often, but I think Doughboyz has earned the title. Stop by and let me know if you agree.

Nebraska Baseball

March 23, 2006 at 7:38pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

The season is already in full swing but with the Big XII season getting underway it’s time to take a look at the Husker baseball team.

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If Baby Arrives Tomorrow…

March 23, 2006 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Mother-in-Law is coming to town this weekend, and she and The Missus plan to do some baby shopping while she is in town. The Missus and I have done a little browsing ourselves, but we haven’t actually purchased anything yet. Buying baby stuff is a little weird when you don’t know if your kid is going to show up tomorrow, next week, or next year. The actual purchase of, say, a crib says “hey, we’re really going to have a baby”. That, in turn, generates the usual thoughts and emotions. But what if the baby doesn’t show up for another 6 or 12 months? It’s a lot of mostly unavoidable emotional roller coastering.

I’m sure many of you have baby experience, so I have a quick query for you: Assume we just found out that our baby would arrive tomorrow. What do we absotively posolutely have to have on hand for the arrival? What do we need to have within the first week? Within the first month? Feel free to throw in brand recommendations if you’ve got ‘em.

And just to head off the questions, yes, this is a hypothetical exercise, and no, there will not be any Wilson babies showing up at 625 Elm Street tomorrow. The adoption process is filled with “what if” questions (“What if they call with twins?”, “What if the baby has [some disease or syndrome]?”, “What if the birth mother insists the baby’s middle name be Sasquatch?”), of which this is just one.

Worrisome Ag News

March 23, 2006 at 1:23pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Fully one-third of Nebraska’s economy relies on agriculture. That’s great news for those individuals associated with the industry, but Nebraskans as a whole ought to be concerned. Nebraska should be striving for more economic diversity, not less. And yet, if you listen to Nebraska’s noisiest politicians (Governor Heineman, Rep. Tom Osborne, Pat Ricketts), you get the impression that there is no such thing as too much dependence on agriculture.

Nebraska is an ag state, and will be for the forseeable future. We should be proud of agriculture’s history and future in our state. But where others see the upward slope of agriculture’s rise, I see the downward slope of the contribution of Nebraska’s other assets. Excessive reliance on any one piece of the economic machine can be extremely dangerous for our state, especially in the long term. It sure would be nice for Nebraska’s economic development plan to emphasize the importance of products and services other than ethanol and cows.

March Madness Sweet 16

March 23, 2006 at 5:45am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

64 down to 16

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Snow Rant

March 21, 2006 at 7:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is stupid.

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Lincoln’s Aliens

March 21, 2006 at 3:24pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Few people even know they have a basketball team, but the Hamilton College Aliens are headed to the Division II junior college championships in Danville, Illinois. Congratulations, guys!

Blame Game

March 21, 2006 at 1:38pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

It’s interesting to me that the Lincoln Journal Star seems to think that our country’s budget woes are the Republican Party’s fault. Have they forgotten all of the other groups who deserve blame? I’d say the political pachyderms are about 40% at fault. The Democrats carry about 30% of the blame. And the remaining 30%? I assign that to Americans generally. The editorial hints at assigning blame to the citizenry, but instead opts to let them slide due to ignorance (or something).

That’s not to take any heat off the GOP, though. We ought to be plenty ticked off at America’s so-called “conservative” party (ha!) and their fiscal management skills (double ha!). But the Dems aren’t exactly putting up a fight, and we Americans apparently don’t give a damn. Placing the blame entirely on the shoulders of the Republican Party smells more like petty partisanship than exercising principles.

Snow Pool

March 19, 2006 at 1:22pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

How much snow are we going to top out with, folks? Toss in your guesses! I’m going to go with 11 inches.

March Madness Round 2

March 18, 2006 at 5:31am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

All 64 teams have played their games and we are down to 32.

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