Latest Blog Posts

Zero to Fifty

July 18, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

There are somewhere between zero and fifty problems with Lincoln’s new fire trucks, depending on whom you ask. Here’s a fun question to ponder: what if EDM, the trucks’ manufacturer, is right, and the trucks do meet the city’s specs, at least substantially? That’d be fun, wouldn’t it?

And by the way, it sure seems to me like a representative from the manufacturer should have been present for the inspections. As somebody involved in building the trucks, the rep might have been able to offer some valuable assistance. After all, the manufacturer will certainly want to counter with its own inspection anyway, if the City makes a formal complaint.


July 18, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Clarence Osborn is the man. I feel all tingly inside every time I see him running. I hope I can still walk when I’m his age, much less run.

Land Grab

July 18, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln is about to get 226 acres bigger at a cost of -$100,000 annually. That’s not a bad deal. It isn’t clear how many hidden costs are involved in the annexation of State Fair Park, but Lincoln will not take ownership of the buildings, infrastructure, or utilities.

Moralizing Editors

July 18, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Lincoln Journal Star editors often get accused of being too liberal. Not today. Their chock-full-of-holes defense of the internet gambling ban reads like something straight from the pen of Bill O’Reilly. The editorial refers to “the problem” of internet gambling without ever explaining how they came to the conclusion that a problem exists, and their supporting arguments consist entirely of:

  1. Some people misuse it;
  2. Young people do it; and
  3. People who make money off of it want to keep making money off of it.

Hardly the stuff Pulitzer Prizes are made of. The same arguments support banning, among countless other things, junk food. The nannies are all around us.

Moon Watching

July 18, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Daisy has been fascinated by the moon the past couple mornings. Have you ever tried walking a dog that won’t stop looking at the moon? It’s a hoot. I haven’t been able to figure out if she stares at it out of curiosity, or fear, or what. Does it look like a big bird? A Frisbee? The mothership coming to take her back to her home planet?

Happy Contrails, Husker Pilot

July 17, 2006 at 11:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus and I want to wish Husker Pilot a happy journey down south, where he will spend a year in intensive training learning to fly some darn big planes. Good luck, HP. There will be a Big Ass Burrito waiting for you when you return.

Babysitting Abuse

July 17, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus has belonged to a certain Organization for several years, the “clubhouse” of which she frequents almost every day. This particular Organization offers babysitting services at a ridiculously low rate to its members while they are in the “clubhouse”. It’s a great deal, and The Missus and Robert have taken advantage of it several times. That is, until the other day:

Snooty Front Desk Chick: I need to talk to you about that boy.
The Missus: Uhh, ok. What about him?
SFDC: The babysitting services are available only to children of members. You can’t just bring any kid in here and dump him off.
The Missus: Robbie? He’s my son. He’s adopted.
SFDC: *snort* Well have you spoken with The Director about it?
The Missus: No, but we can go do that right now.

And so they did. The Director, as one would hope, gave SFDC a tongue-lashing. I’m not sure if she is still employed or not.

These are some of the fun things we get to look forward to as Robbie grows up. It’s a good thing The Missus and I have a good sense of humor or we would never survive it all. (That, or people like SFDC would not survive.) The core of the situation doesn’t bother me at all. A young woman exercised poor judgement in jumping to an incorrect conclusion. It happens. She would have known that The Missus wasn’t pregnant, and now this kid shows up out of nowhere. Abuse of babysitting services isn’t the first thing that would have popped into my mind, but hey, people have probably tried it before.

But what I really love is that after The Missus pointed out that Robbie is adopted, SFDC marched The Missus to The Director. That’s just beautiful. Did she think The Director was going to demand proof of parenthood or something? What was the goal there? Methinks somebody was just being stubborn and stupid. The former often leads to the latter.

A little part of me wants to see SFDC get fired. It seems weird (and a little shameful) to admit that considering I view this event with humor, not malice. After all, I get a big kick thinking about how SFDC has to look The Missus in the eye every single day. That sort of embarassment is way better than getting SFDC fired. And my goal here should be education, not retaliation. But as much as I am pro-humiliation and pro-education, I am also vehemently anti-stupid, and SFDC behaved very stupidly. The Organization shouldn’t want to be associated with her.

I’ll leave SFDC’s employment status up to the Organization. No way in heck am I going to let myself turn into one of those parents that goes on a wild crusade every time his kid is a victim or stupidity, or bigotry, or whatever. I just hope the Organization reviews its employee training procedures and tries to determine if this error resulted from a flaw in training, or if it’s just the sort of hiccup that’s going to happen now and then. (I assume the latter.) In the mean time, I’m going to remind myself that sometimes people do stupid things, and that the best thing to do is to learn from their mistakes.

Welcome Skaters!

July 17, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I love the USA Roller Sports National Figure and Speed Skating Championships. I haven’t ever actually been to any of the events, and it’s not the millions of dollars of economic activity the event generates that gets me excited. Rather, I love that Lincoln is the place the skaters dream about reaching. For a few thousand people from all over the country each year, Lincoln is a destination. That’s so cool. I would like to see Lincoln run with that. For example, whatever form the new event center takes, it should totally embrace roller sports. It’s a strength we could easily build on.

I admit I’m a bit ashamed I have never been to any of the skating events. I hope to change that this year. The Missus and I hope to take Robert to Pershing for at least a little while. I’m not sure which event(s) we’ll target, though. Any suggestions?

This Lane is My Lane

July 17, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

So Lincoln may finally see bike lanes Downtown. If the City Council approves on July 24, bike lanes should go in later this summer. That’s great news for cyclists who have been asking for bike lanes for years. The Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Master Plan both sanction bike lanes.

I have no doubt that bike lanes will make riding Downtown safer for cyclists, but I hope nobody thinks this is a panacea. Riding a bicycle in traffic in Lincoln will always be somewhat treacherous because our drivers: 1) don’t pay attention to their surroundings very well; and 2) don’t have any desire to share the road with anybody on two human-powered wheels. At the very least, bike lanes will legitimize on-street bike traffic. Hopefully that will cut down on a few screams of “Get off the road!”

Out Of It

July 16, 2006 at 8:31pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I have been training a little bit lately for the fall soccer season. College soccer reffing isn’t something I like to go into without a nice fitness base. And besides, our annual physical evaluation is Saturday morning. Among the referees present I had the most points at last year’s physical—which consists of tests to evaluate things like your endurance, speed, and agility—and I would like to repeat the feat this year.

So anyway, I was running intervals over at Zemann Elementary this morning. Three sets of four groups of 75 meters hard, 25 meters easy, 75 meters hard, 25 meters rest. I had finished 11 of my 12 sets, and I was getting a little loopy from the humidity and morning heat. I was walking in the shade during my 25 meters of rest, when suddenly a car horn sounded from a driveway just to my right. Honest to goodness I actually said out loud:

“Gentlemen, do I have at least one number right?”

Clearly it was about time to get out of the heat.


July 14, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Today’s Ground Zero features Cristina’s Family Restaurant in Crete. The Missus and I are huge fan of Cristina’s (formerly Santiago’s), so I am both excited to see it get exposure, and bummed that a bunch of Lincolnites might hog my favorite Mexican restaurant. Oh well, I suppose I should learn to share.

In typical Ground Zero fashion, the review is pretty laughable:

  • On the food: “Our meals were good, and neither of us left hungry. Bonus: The chips served before the meal were warm.”
  • On the service: “Lopez and the other staff members make a point to chat with regulars.”
  • On the atmosphere: “...”

Author Cara Pesek gave Cristina’s 3 stars (out of four) in each category based on that. That’s not to say the ratings are or are not fair. But given what they are based on, it’s hard to know how meaningful they are.

But what really gets my goat is that the review doesn’t even mention the star performer on the menu: the stuffed empanada. Cristina’s serves up a hot and fluffy fried ball of dough stuffed with rice and your choice of meat, and then topped with melted cheese and smothered with green chile. My stomach is crying out for one just thinking about it.

Long story short, if you’re ever up for a little drive, take the 30 minute trip to Cristina’s. It’s located in the strip mall on the highway (former Wanek’s of Crete) as you enter town on the east side.

And would somebody in Lincoln please offer up a green chile salsa like Cristina’s. Mmm.

Friday Five

July 14, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Yesterday I mocked Lincoln’s Centennial Mall as a veritable toxic waste dump. Today’s Friday Five features five things a new Centennial Mall—they’ve been talking for years about renovating it—should feature:

  1. More greenspace. The current pavement-heavy design is very unforgiving in the summer heat.
  2. Less dominant steps. Steps are a great design element. They are great for sitting on, for example. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that there must be steps in the new design. But the current steps overwhelm the Mall, leaving bikers and those in wheelchairs to navigate a confounding maze of inadequate ramps.
  3. More interesting water. Each fountain should have its own character and theme. And one should be a silent pool of shallow water to symbolize the “flat water” of Nebraska. Even cooler: a continuous stream of water connecting all of the fountains (or something simulating such a stream).
  4. More public art. People love interesting public art that they can interact with. Nebraska-themed public art should be a prominent feature. Lump and Bump are a good start, but there needs to be more.
  5. More education. Right now the mall is just a big empty strip. Considering its proximity to the University, the Lincoln Children’s Museum, the Nebraska Historical Society, and the State Capitol, the Mall should serve to educate kids and adults about Lincoln and Nebraska.


July 14, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Last night’s Cornhusker Summer Music Games competition was rained out. The Blue Stars performed all of eight measures of their opening piece before the rain came down in buckets. Event organizers waited an hour before finally pulling the plug.

Oh, and did I mention there are no refunds on the $17-$27 tickets?

There are going to be some angry phone calls made today. Be glad you don’t work in the UNL Band Office, the Lied Center Box Office, or wherever in the Athletic Department angry refund-seekers will try to call. I worked in the Band Office several years ago during a particular firestorm involving the Band’s director. Not fun. This, I can only assume, will be much, much worse. Good luck Rose & Co.!

Being out sixty bucks certainly doesn’t feel good, but I, for one, am not angry. How can I be? The purchase agreement says the tickets are non-refundable. And outdoor event cancellations happen all the time. It’s a risk the ticket-buyer takes. And really, as dry as Lincoln has been this summer, whodathunk a storm would pick last night to come through?

Some will complain that the rain was subsiding and that the show could have gone on. Perhaps. But if I were in charge of one of the bands there’s no way I would have put my group back on the field. There was too much lightning around, and there were signs of another line of storms to the west. Forget the performers, those uniforms and instruments are expensive!

Upon sending the crowd home an announcement was made that ticket holders would be able to purchase tickets next year at a discount. I suspect an overwhelming chunk of last night’s crowd—estimated by D.M.B. and me at 8,000 to 10,000—will say no way. Who can blame them? Families with children were out $100 or more. That’s not a loss you take lightly.

Somebody Open This Restaurant, Please

July 13, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Here’s my idea: a noodle restaurant that is half Subway, half HuHot. You pick your noodle, your meat, your veggies, and your sauce. (Or you choose from a pre-set combination.) It all gets mixed together on a hot plate or in a wok or something, and it is served up hot and fresh mere moments later. I figure a meal should cost between $4 and $7. Put it Downtown and I’d eat there twice a week.

Any takers?


July 13, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Big news! The fountains in Centennial Mall have been declared a Superfund site. The action was initially discussed after squirrels, rabbits, and birds in the area began giving birth to young with extra limbs and heads. But the straw that broke the camel’s back came yesterday when a young child fell into one of the fountains and instantly dissolved. During the cleanup Centennial Mall will be renamed The Mall of Stench and Despair.

OK, none of that really happened. But give it a few months. It’s coming.

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