Latest Blog Posts

George Clooney In: Raggedy Andy Goes to Washington

April 30, 2006 at 4:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Is it just me, or do George Clooney’s cheeks make him look a lot like Raggedy Andy?

George Clooney looking a lot like Raggedy Andy

Run, Seng, Run

April 30, 2006 at 3:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star took a look at whether or not Mayor Colleen Seng should run for a second term in this morning’s paper. I took a look at that question way back in November.

The article’s main points seem to be:

  • Mayor Colleen Seng is nice.
  • She likes being Mayor.
  • She works hard.
  • She thrives on acceptance and agreement.
  • Her approval rating is weak.
  • She gets beat pretty good in polls comparing her to her likely challengers.

As I have already said, I don’t think she should run again. This morning’s article only reinforces my opinion. As a community, Lincoln probably needs a mayor like Colleen Seng every now and then. I don’t think we are the type of community that can be led by an aggressive, hard-charging executive year after year after year. But right now, I think the community is ready for a little aggressiveness. We want somebody with answers, and we want him or her to put those answers in place. There can be danger in that sort of leadership, of course, but I think Lincoln is ready to tolerate the challenges.

Nanny State Misunderstanding

April 29, 2006 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This morning’s Lincoln Journal Star editorial demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the term “nanny state”. The editorial supports nanny statism in the context of barring drivers from driving while distracted. But such laws designed to prevent Driver A from killing Driver B (or Pedestrian C) have little to do with a nanny state.

The nanny state involves the government preventing or discouraging a person from engaging in behaviors that are “harmful” primarily to himself. Such policies include anti-smoking laws, junk food taxes, neo-prohibitionism, sex toy bans, and so on. The LJS is confused in that it conflates any restriction on personal behaviors with nanny statism. But laws that restrict personal behaviors on public property do not necessarily rise to the level of nanny statism. Banning talking on a cell phone while walking on a public sidewalk (which may annoy others, but doesn’t threaten to harm them) would be nanny state creep; banning make-up application while driving 75 miles per hour on a public Interstate does threaten others, and is therefore regulatable without fear of the nanny state label.

The problem here is that the LJS’s definition is overbroad. And it is a problem. In the editorial they claim to support one particular so-called nanny state policy, and many people are likely to agree. They see the policy, they see the nanny state label, and they think to themselves, “Gee, I always thought the nanny state was totally irrational, but this policy makes sense.” That in turn leads to folks being more likely to accept other “mild” instances of actual nanny state creep. And once the foot is in the door…

Truth be told the Journal Star’s mistake is pretty minor. And it’s not as though the LJS is the first or only media organization to endorse nanny statism (real or otherwise). But it was an annoying enough mistake that on a quiet Saturday morning I thought, “Eh, what the heck, I’ll blog it.”

By the way, I suppose I should make clear that I don’t necessarily favor banning any specific activity while driving. I don’t have a problem with talking on the cell phone, reading a map, or even applying make-up while driving. Some people are remarkably talented at multi-tasking while behind the wheel. I do, however, support making drivers pay attention to what they’re doing, and holding them liable for damages they cause to persons or private or public property as a direct and probable consequence of their negligence. In other words, the crime ought not be driving while texting, but driving while incompetent. Believe it or not, those laws are already on the book.

With the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select…

April 29, 2006 at 3:31am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

...Mario Williams? In one of the biggest draft shockers of all time, the Houston Texans agreed to terms with Mario Williams out of North Carolina St. instead of Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush out of USC. This could either be the greatest move in the history of the draft or a bigger blunder than picking Ryan Leaf. (many consider Ryan Leaf to be one of the biggest draft busts ever.)

Next on the clock is the New Orleans Saints. How fast do you think they will get their pick up to the podium? Or how many phone calls are they going to receive for a trade offer?  Tune in at 11am on ESPN to find out.

Friday Night Assembly

April 29, 2006 at 1:13am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Assembled: One baby crib.

Newly assembled crib with Daisy inside

For those of you who are interested the crib is a convertible “Infinity Crib” from Baby’s Dream Furniture, Inc. out of Buena Vista, Georgia. We bought it from Kids’ Stuff on North 27th Street. It is convertible, which means it converts from a crib, to a toddler bed, to a double bed. Assembly was a piece of cake: twenty bolts and I was done. I only found two small problems with the product: the top rail of the front frame is just a little loose (it just needs a touch of glue), and the instructions say in large letters “PHILLIPS HEAD SCREWDRIVER IS REQUIRED”, even though the only tools needed are the included allen wrench and hex wrench. Tiny complaints, both. I think we got a pretty decent crib for not much money.

Now that I’m in a handy man mood I’m half tempted to install a couple ceiling fans we’ve had sitting around for a while. Too bad I don’t know anything about electrical wiring. Guess I’ll have to give my dad a call tomorrow and see if he wants to tackle that project with me.

What To Do

April 28, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Let’s say, just for fun, that all of my games this weekend are cancelled. My lone high school soccer match tonight, my two high school soccer matches tomorrow, my two youth baseball games tomorrow night, and any Latino soccer games I may be assigned on Sunday. (Pst, Juan, where are my assignments?!) What the heck will I do with myself? The Missus plans to do homework for the Masters course she’s taking, so that rules out computer activities. Yard work is out due to the rain. I can’t paint because the room I want to paint happens to be the office, which is where The Missus will be camped out.

I suppose I could clean. The Missus would like that. I could go buy a weed whacker. That’d be entertaining for about fifteen minutes. I could assemble the crib. That’ll seem a little strange since there’s nobody to sleep in it yet, but we may as well be prepared. I could organize the basement storage area. Ugh, that doesn’t sound fun at all, but it needs to be done.

Anybody have any better ideas?

Friday Five

April 28, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five Lincolnites I would like to spend a day with:

  1. Mayor Colleen Seng
  2. John Chapo, Executive Director of the Folsom Children’s Zoo
  3. The Downtown “litter patrol”
  4. Butch Hug, University of Nebraska Assistant Athletic Director for Events
  5. Ann Ringlein, Owner of the Lincoln Running Company, Vice President of the Lincoln Track Club, assistant cross country coach and track and field distance coach at Nebraska Wesleyan, etc.

A Certainty of Rain

April 28, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a forecast like this:

  • Friday: 100% chance of rain
  • Friday night: 100% chance of rain
  • Saturday: 100% chance of rain

I hope you didn’t have yard work on your honey-do list this weekend. Then again, if it is on your list, you’re probably pretty thankful right now!

By the way, was anybody else awake last night to hear the cool thunder? I fell asleep on the couch and woke up around 12:45am. Before I went to bed I stepped outside with the dog for a couple minutes. The clouds were lit up with a constant strobe of cloud-to-cloud lightning, and there was persistent, rumbling thunder. It was incredibly eerie, but also pretty neat to experience.

Scott Spinelli gone?

April 27, 2006 at 6:21pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

A couple of the daily rags are reporting that assistant coach Scott Spinelli is leaving Nebraska to become an assistant at Wichita St. I wouldn’t be all upset about it but he’s been the one who’s brought in a lot of our “good” recruits. In reality, he was the only thing keeping Barry Collier here at Nebraska. Barry is gone after this year barring a miracle.

Best Eatin’ in Lincoln

April 27, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Swoof over at Eatin’ in Lincoln is hosting a Best Eatin’ in Lincoln poll. My responses:

  • Mexican
    I’ll give this to La Mexicana, but my favorite is actually Santiago’s in Crete.
  • Pizza
    Yia Yia’s gets the nod by virtue of the combination of its food, atmosphere, and location. I’m also giving an Honorable Mention to Doughboyz for their creative pies.
  • Bar Food
    I plead ignorance on this one.
  • Sandwich
    Bison Witches.
  • East Asian (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese)
    I’m going with Blue Orchid here, but I’m pretty ignorant of the other options available in this category. Anybody care to take me out and educate me?
  • Indian
    The Oven.
  • Steak
    Y’know, I thought about this one, and the only place in Lincoln I’ve never had a bad steak is Outback.
  • Burger
    Grandmother’s makes burgers just the way I like them.
  • Fine Dining
    There aren’t many options to choose from, and of those I have visited, I don’t have a favorite.
  • Casual Dining - there’s a line between Fine and Casual, help me draw it.
    Darned if I know where the line is, but I’ll put in a vote for Lazlo’s Downtown.
  • Sushi
    I plead ignorance.
  • Fish
    Ho boy, this is tough. There isn’t much seafood action going on in Lincoln. I’ll say Beacon Hills.
  • Fast Food
    Oso Burrito, hands down.
  • Chain
    I have a soft spot for Panera Bread.
  • Other/Mish-mash
    Crawdaddy’s. I don’t know what “Other/Mish-mash” means, but I haven’t said Crawdaddy’s yet, so here it is.
  • Best in Show
    By virtue of the consistency of its excellence over the years, The Oven retains its crown.

Now for some categories Swoof missed:

  • Ice Cream
    Ivanna Cone, no doubt about it.
  • Character
    Crawdaddy’s oozes character. Just don’t eat off the floor.
  • Dessert
    I don’t actually have a nominee here because I don’t eat dessert at restaurants very often. But I bet The Missus has a nominee (or twelve).
  • In Memoriam
    Garden Cafe. The original Garden Cafe, back before they started dinking with the menu and screwing everything up, eventually killing one of Lincoln’s best restaurants.
  • Italian
    Valentino’s Grand Italian Buffet. It’s just like the old country. But with more sugar. And chicken nuggets.

Go cast your vote for the Best Eatin’ in Lincoln!

Fix a Street

April 27, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If you could tackle one road project in Lincoln, what would that project consist of, and why would you choose to do that project? Assume you have a reasonable, but not unlimited, amount of funds to work with.


Senatorial Stupidity

April 27, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Senate Republicans want to send you a check for $100 to spend on gas. I’m speechless. It’s like watching third-graders run government.

Seriously, who could possibly think this is a good idea? Can anybody defend this idiocy?


April 27, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I grabbed a quick bite at Skeeter Barnes last night before helping a couple friends move. My meal, the three meat combo, was excellent. The shredded pork was flavorful, the brisket was tender, and the chicken was tasty as always. The Missus, however, was “underwhelmed” by her salad. I’m not a salad guy, but her lettuce looked like something I’d add to our compost heap. She also said the chicken it was topped with was “hard”. I don’t know how chicken gets hard, but I suspect that’s not a good thing.

We actually wonder if management (and/or ownership) has changed. Skeeter’s has taken a step down a notch or two over the past few months. Although my food was excellent this time, on our two previous trips I was unimpressed. There seems to have been a staff turnover recently, because many of the faces we had come to recognize over the years are now conspicuously absent. The staff that are there today are adequate, but they didn’t seem to have been as well trained as one might hope. And the manager on duty (or at least a guy who acted like a manager) struck me as a bit of a bully. The staff members he interacted with were visibly uncomfortable.

I should make one thing clear: these are just impressions, and they may have no basis in reality. It’s entirely possible that Skeeter’s is still the same restaurant The Missus and I have come to love over the years, and that this recent “down” period is in fact nothing more than the bad luck of catching the restaurant on a couple rare off days. Likewise with the management. That can happen. In fact, I hope that’s the case. We’ll see.

Nebraska Baseball

April 26, 2006 at 9:38pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

The Nebraska Baseball team has hit the midway point in the conference season and things are looking up.


Running in Traffic

April 26, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Larry Claassen doesn’t want runners in the streets:

I’m not sure how the mind rationalizes that running in traffic is a healthy or wise activity, but let me tell you that neither of us wants you as a hood ornament. Running in the street is definitely bad for your health and my nerves.

Actually, Larry, it’s pretty easy to rationalize running in the street, albeit in limited situations. Granted, Lincoln is blessed with a great network of trails and a pretty respectable sidewalk infrastructure. But trails and sidewalks aren’t available everywhere, and they have their downsides. Trails and sidewalks themselves are quite safe for pedestrians, but crosswalks can be incredibly unsafe. I’m not sure how safe crosswalks are in other parts of the country, but in Lincoln, drivers almost always blow through crosswalks without a second thought. When approaching, say, a stop sign or a stop light at an intersection at which they want to make a right turn, most Lincoln drivers pull through the crosswalk and then look both ways. Now imagine you’re a runner entering that crosswalk right about then.

Sure, running in ‘O’ Street is probably unwise. But running in the street in residential areas with lots of intersections can actually increase a runner’s visibility to drivers, and therefore his safety. That can be especially true at night, when pedestrians approaching crosswalks can be very difficult to see until the last second. Assuming, of course, that the runner in question does her part to be safe, such as wearing bright clothing and obeying the law.

To the extent that Mr. Claassen is concerned for safety, I agree with him. But I disagree that sticking to the sidewalks and trails ought to be a runner’s only option. If street runners are really so bad for Mr. Claassen’s nerves, perhaps he just needs to pay a little more attention while driving.

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