Latest Blog Posts

Rob Blogging

June 30, 2006 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Robert had a great first week at home. He had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday at which we found out he has grown to 9lbs 14oz and 23 inches at six weeks old. He eats like a horse and he belches like his dad. He shows better and better head control every day, and he loves to talk to anybody who will talk back. These days I’m working with him on three things: grabbing and holding onto objects; following objects with his eyes; and pushing himself up with his arms when he is on his stomach. He is making slow but steady progress on all three.

Just for fun, here’s another video I shot while we were in the hotel in Boston:

The in-laws are headed to town this weekend for their first visit with Robert, and my mom and sister are throwing a shower on Sunday. That means I will probably only get to hold my kid during 3:00 a.m. feedings. I’ll probably also have to cut back on the cuteness. I can play the role of funny daddy when just The Missus and Daisy are around to witness it, but no way am I doing my (awful) Kermit The Frog impression in front of the in-laws. On second thought, I say that now, but kids have a way of getting you to behave in ways you never would have expected.

North Forty Redevelopment

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

The North Forty golf course is disappearing, and developers want to built it up with homes and stores, including a large grocery store. Which is great, except the land is currently zoned agricultural. The developers probably don’t face too many hurdles getting the residential portion of their plan built, but the commercial side could be tough. The two east corners of the intersection of 84th and Adams are already zoned for commercial use, and the city’s land use plan would have to be modified. Mayor Seng already infamously shot down another project across the street; will she have any desire to do the same here?

Some property owners are complaining that they paid a premium to live near a golf course, and that their property values will drop if the course disappears. Boo hoo. I don’t mean that to sound snarky and uncaring, so let me clarify. The premium they chose to pay is above and beyond what their property is actually worth. I have no desire to involve government in protecting that sort of “luxury tax”. It’s a bonus, not a given. If developers were planning to put in a toxic waste dump on the corner, then I would feel the adjacent property owners’ pain. Such a plan would drop their property values substantially below the “real” value, and that could be seen as unfair. I view the present case as little different from the good neighbors moving out, and annoying neighbors moving in, pink flamingos in the yard and all.

Friday Five

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

Now that the City of Lincoln has State Fair Park within its grasp, it made me think: if Lincoln were to have the opportunity to do whatever it wanted to State Fair Park, what could it do? Five suggestions:

  1. Build a NASCAR track, home of the Cornhusker 400. Scoff if you will, NASCAR-haters, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a track were both more sustainable and more profitable than an events center.
  2. Hand it over to developers for a planned, mixed-use development.
  3. Six Flags!
  4. Give it back to nature. Bulldoze the entire park, add a few ponds and wetlands, and turn it into the world’s largest urban prairie park. Don’t forget the prairie dogs.
  5. Turn it into a business park, complete with hotels, a golf course, and other business-friendly amenities. Devote a portion of the space to incubating new businesses. Build a business/economics-focused magnet high school. Partner with local colleges and universities to develop an apprenticeship program in coordination with the businesses housed in the park.

There Oughtta Be a Law

June 30, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

After spending time in the Boston area, I have a proposal for a new traffic law in Lincoln:

The Law

Certain crosswalks should be designated as “priority” crosswalks. At priority crosswalks, vehicles must yield to any and all waiting pedestrians. Emergency vehicles on a call are exempt. Priority crosswalks may be designated in one of two ways: (1) by white lines or similar markings on the pavement, designating the crosswalk path; or (2) by bright yellow pedestrian crossing signs, accompanied underneath by a sign with the text “Yield to Pedestrians”. Crosswalks accompanied by traffic signals do not apply.

In limited cases vehicles should also yield to bicyclists. These include situations where a designated bike path crosses a street, but where there is not an accompanying traffic signal. In those cases, the priority crosswalk must be identified with a sign showing a pedestrian and a bicyclist, and the accompanying text should read “Yield to Peds and Bikes”.

The Rationale

Pedestrians rule in Massachusetts, and it was incredible to see how drivers humbled themselves to their walking superiors. You might think traffic would be excessively hindered by this sort of situation; in my experience, you would be wrong. Lincoln has long been perceived as a city hostile to pedestrians. I believe strongly that we need to change that situation.

Final 8: Who’s Ronaldo?

June 29, 2006 at 11:00pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

image

Germany v. Argentina: Winner - Germany
Italy v. Ukraine: Winner - Italy
England v. Portugal: Winner - No idea (dislike both teams)
Brazil v. France: Winner - France (please!)

World Series of Poker

June 29, 2006 at 3:53pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

The biggest poker tournament in the world, the World Series of Poker, kicked off at the Rio in Las Vegas on Monday.  The World Series is over a month of 39 poker events that have many different buy ins and poker games.  It wraps up with the big $10,000 buy in tourney where 8000+ are expected to enter and the first prize to the winner could reach 10 million dollars.

Since I consider poker a sport, then I will try and post some updates for the poker fans out there.  I am getting all my up to the minute info here.

For right now, you all can debate this: “Is poker a sport?”

Downtown Living Questionnaire

June 29, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Downtown Lincoln Association would like you to take a survey about condo living Downtown. Head on over to take the survey.

Ouch!

June 29, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Commenter “GBT” has some harsh words about Mayor Colleen Seng in the comments section of the Journal Star website:

She’s old, senile and I’m sure very paranoid.

Ouch! Seems GBT thinks Lincoln is being led by a real-life Howard Buss.

Strangers are Stranger Around Babies

June 29, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

What is it about babies that makes strangers act so, well, strange? I have been a dad for two weeks now, and in those two weeks I have witnessed some downright bizarre behavior. The most obnoxious, by far, is touching. Strangers think they can touch your baby so long as they sufficiently fawn over the child while they are doing it. People walk right up to you, say something pithy like “Ohh! How cute!” And then they proceed to caress and finger your kid like he’s a hamster in a petting zoo. It doesn’t even matter if he is sleeping. My internal reaction in this daily scenario is to scream, “What the hell? Get your filthy paws off my son!” Unfortunately, I’m far too reserved to actually say that out loud. Instead I opt for more subtle solutions, like maneuvering my baby to a difficult-to-reach position, or conjuring up some excuse for why I suddenly need to go “over there” as quickly as possible.

I think pretty much every parent is saying, “Yup, Mr. Wilson, been there, done that.” And every parent hates it. (The kids, once they are old enough to know a random freak from a family member, aren’t too fond of it, either.) So why does the behavior continue? Who are these bozos who think they can just go up to anybody’s baby and feel it up?

Babies aren’t the only ones who get drive-by-snuggled. New mothers have to put up with it, too. The Missus survived an unsolicited bear hug in the Chicago airport from an anonymous well-wisher that was so friendly, I swear the woman copped a feel. I’m sure The Missus would have issued a resounding WTF had she not been so caught off-guard.

I think I should try an approach with a little more passive-aggressiveness to it, rather than the straight passivity I’ve been using. Some lines I might try:

  • “He ain’t a melon, lady, there’s no need to squeeze him.”
  • “Five bucks per fondle, please.”
  • “If I were to invade your personal space like that, I’d get 3-5 years and a black eye from your husband.”
  • “Your parents weren’t the type to emphasize manners, were they?”
  • “Do you always behave this way around sleeping little boys?”

Got any better lines, or good anecdotes of your own? Please share.

The Kid is Here…Any Questions?

June 28, 2006 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Robert has been with us for over two weeks now, but I haven’t been doing a very good job of blogging about the adoption process like I intended to do. I do still plan to write on several topics, but I wonder what topics you want me to write about. Some of my planned topics include: where to start if you want to adopt; what to say and what not to say to your friend or family member who plans to adopt (or has adopted); and the bizarre ways strangers act around babies. What would you like to hear about?

Petition Pandemonium

June 28, 2006 at 5:23pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

There sure is a lot of hubbub over petitions these days in Nebraska. Apparently petitioners are being annoying, and petition-blockers are getting feisty. Ahh, the joys of civil society. Why must people act like such children in matters political? Sorry, that question is too rhetorical. Here’s one I really wonder: why are people so afraid of petition circulators?

Secretary of State John Gale has the perfect solution, even though it’s not clear there is a problem: more regulations! He wants to require of petition circulators:

  • Fluency in English.
    English is not the official language. What Mr. Gale really wants to require is that petition circulators be able to accurately explain the petition to potential signers. That may happen in English or any other language, dependent upon the language needs of the signer. The circulator needs to be able to communicate to signers, not necessarily speak English to them.
  • At least 17 years old.
    Why? This sounds like a solution without a problem. If a fifth grader can do the job, why not let him participate in the process?
  • No felony record.
    Again, why? Another solution without a problem. One’s criminal background has little to do with one’s ability to circulate a petition. Besides, no self-respecting cause wants a bunch of cons circulating its petitions anyway.
  • Registration.
    A classic bureaucrat’s solution. If we can make the paperwork as onerous as possible, the problem will fade away…

Locally, Lincoln is being sued because one group’s circulator was barred from entering the Celebrate Lincoln festival Downtown earlier this month. The City’s argument is that since the area was leased to a private group, that group can bar circulators if they want to. The group says huh-uh, it’s public property, we should have access. Any of you legal types know the latest caselaw on that topic?

Blogger Noise

June 28, 2006 at 5:03pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Blogger Tim Tyrrell Sr. stirred up a City Council meeting this week by packing a loaded handgun in plain sight. His point? A concealed carry ban is pointless, since citizens are still able to carry unconcealed weapons. Whether or not you agree with him, his message is certainly valid. He also wants to spread the bigger message that criminals are unlikely to give a hoot about a concealed carry ban at all, since they are, after all, criminals. But we’ve all heard that debate before; there’s no need to rehash it here.

Mr. Tyrrell’s actions raise an issue that strikes closer to home. Namely, that it is not currently illegal to carry a loaded gun into the Council’s chambers. In fact, there are a whole bunch of public facilities and offices at which carrying a loaded gun is perfectly legal. The question Lincolnites need to ask themselves is: are we OK with that? I am OK with it, for practical reasons as much as anything. A law won’t stop the people who would use a gun illegally anyway, and I refuse to submit to a TSA-style fondling every time I want to enter the Pioneers Park Nature Center, or any other public building. Certain government facilities are more likely to stir up harsh emotions, of course, and I am not inherently opposed to taking preventative measures to protect people within those facilities. But in the end, I’m just not all that worried about a nut with a gun. He’s going to be a nut with a gun whether it’s illegal or not. I choose to worry about other things.

But let’s face it, what I choose to worry about has little correlation to what the City Council and other government agents choose to worry about. Don’t be surprised if we start seeing bans pop up here and there.

Vice Cops Get Their Gal

June 28, 2006 at 5:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln is a much safer place, now that Lincoln’s finest got their gal. Melissa Harrington, Lincoln’s own “Melissa Midwest”, faces as much as 8 months in jail or a $500 fine. Thousands of tax dollars spent fighting over the presence or absence of a thin layer of pink paint. Fantastic.

Stormy Weather

June 27, 2006 at 9:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I know I may regret asking this, but have there been fewer tornado watches and warnings than normal around southeast Nebraska this spring, or is it just me? I’m not complaining, mind you, but as a severe weather junkie, it seems like I haven’t had as many adrenaline-pumping moments as usual. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve been distracted by becoming a father.

“Why make taxpayers pay for it?”

June 27, 2006 at 3:12pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

“Why make taxpayers pay for it?” That’s a reasonable question, Councilman Camp. He must have a reasonable response for it, too, because Jon Camp voted to spend $2 million of your tax dollars to build a new Hy-Vee at 50th and O Streets.

The situation is this: the City of Lincoln has declared a good chunk of the area around 48th and O blighted. As part of the redevelopment, Hy-Vee wants to build a large store to replace its 70th and O location. (A curious business decision in my mind, but hey, they didn’t ask me.) Since the area is blighted, the project is eligible for public dollars. In the Hy-Vee project’s case, that amounts to around $2.1 million, roughly $750,000 of which would go into Hy-Vee’s pockets. The rest would go toward infrastructure improvements that would indirectly support the store. The store is expected to return about $120,000 in annual tax revenue. It’s not clear if that $120,000 is above and beyond what the 70th and O store already returns, or if it is merely a replacement for whatever the 70th and O store currently contributes to the public coffers.

Given that information, Councilman Camp has obviously decided that the project is worth making taxpayers pay for. But why? Councilman Camp, I would like you to answer your own question: Why make taxpayers pay for it?

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