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My New Favorite Running Route

June 30, 2008 at 1:49pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I think I have a new favorite running route. It’s a nice five mile loop that begins on bike trails and ends on quiet residential streets.

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I begin at 48th and Highway 2, though it would be easy to begin anywhere on the loop. If you don’t live on or near the loop, the parking lot at 40th and Highway 2 makes a good starting point.

From 48th and Highway 2, I head west on the newly-christened Boosalis Trail toward Shopko. Then I catch the northbound Rock Island Trail, which features several shaded areas, depending on the time of day. I go under Sheridan Boulevard and continue about a quarter mile until I reach Van Dorn Street. (Note that Van Dorn doesn’t actually cross the trail.) I take a right across the park to 33rd, then turn south. I head back to Sheridan, where I turn east. I follow Sheridan until it meets Calvert Street, hop on Calvert for a half block, and then turn south on 44th Street. 44th Street appears to end at Prescott, but I continue south by taking the sidewalk between the houses. Once I hit Pioneers Boulevard I take either 44th, 45th, 46th, or 47th Street, depending on my mood. Whatever the case, I continue until I hit Gertie, zigzag down to Claire, and pop out on 48th. And boom, I’ve just gone approximately 5.25 miles.

I like this route because it’s one big loop, so there is no repeated scenery; there are very few traffic interruptions; and there is plenty of shade at various points throughout the run. There are also a couple easy alterations for shorter mileage:

  • From the Rock Island Trail, turn east on Calvert Street. Follow Calvert to 44th Street, then continue as above. This route is about 4.5 miles.
  • From the Boosalis Trail, turn north on 33rd Street. Turn east on Calvert and continue to 44th Street, as above. This route is about 3.9 miles.

There’s also this lasso:

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It’s not usually one of my favorite routes, but since it stays primarily on good bike trails it works out well for for intervals and fartleks.

What are some of your favorite running routes of various distances around town?

Edited to add: If you don’t already use it, check out Gmaps Pedometer. It’s great for mapping out routes and measuring mileage.

Lazlo’s Drops A Little Bit Farther

June 30, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lazlo’s used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Lincoln. Long known for its excellent service, food, and beer, I recommended Lazlo’s to anybody who asked for suggestions. Lately, however, it just keeps sliding into mediocrity.

I can’t really point to a single event that started the slide. There was the opening of the south restaurant, which lacked the character of the Haymarket location from the very start. But no worries; the downtown location was still around. Then they went and stripped the soul out of the Haymarket location, moving it next door. Not to mention all of the little things, like less consistent food, declining service, and so on. At least the facilities were always immaculate. That counts for something.

Then there are examples such as what happened to The Missus and The Mother-in-Law a week ago. Problems began immediately when, after they were seated, no waiter showed up for many minutes. When he did arrive, he greeted them with a rude, “So, were you going to order some food?” They hadn’t even ordered, much less received, drinks yet. Problems continued with errors with the order and indifference from the staff. When they complained, shoulders were shrugged. It wasn’t so long ago that Lazlo’s was so eager to please that if the guy 3 tables down belched without saying “Excuse me”, everybody within hearing distance would receive a dessert on the house. (OK, it wasn’t quite like that, but at times it came pretty close.)

The Missus and I used to go to Lazlo’s fairly regularly. Now, it never makes the list of options. In the past year or more we have only gone a couple times, and only with out-of-town guests. If they keep showing all our guests the same hospitality they showed The Mother-in-Law, there won’t be many more of those visits.

Are any of you Lazlo’s fans? Have The Wilsons just had a run of bad luck with Lazlo’s, or are you folks seeing the same problems?

Where in Lincoln is this?

June 30, 2008 at 1:22pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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Nikkidemas indeed knows Lincoln well, and correctly identified the location of this photo.

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We Don’t Turn 150 Every Day

June 30, 2008 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Jonathan Roth is in a huff over murmurs about delaying Lincoln’s sesquicentennial celebration. Apparently some people want to celebrate 150 years as Lincoln, not 150 years as a city (originally founded as Lancaster).

Frankly, I didn’t realize this discussion was even happening. Did I miss something while I was out of town? Can somebody get me up to speed?

Wikipedia says Lancaster was founded in 1856, which would mean we already missed at least one of our city’s 150th birthdays. Lancaster became the county seat in 1859. Lincoln was born on March 1, 1867, along with the State of Nebraska.

For what it’s worth, I vote for a sesquicentennial celebration both next year and in 2017. Why not maximize the partying?

Are You Ready for a Noisy Week?

June 30, 2008 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Are you and your dogs ready to lose some sleep this week? We here at 625 Elm Street are reluctantly preparing ourselves for at least one sleepless night (Friday), and possibly more if the neighbors get antsy earlier in the week. Robert is going through a phase in which he is scared of thunder; I can’t imagine that fireworks will go over very well. Our neighbors across the street are hosting a big party on Friday, including a large fireworks show. I suspect it’ll be good and loud.

Speaking of fireworks, you’ll probably pay more this year (surprise surprise!), but you will also have a few new varieties to investigate. Some new artillery shells and propeller fireworks were approved for sale this year.

Do any of you plan to go to Oak Lake for the City’s fireworks show? I still haven’t been to one of the City’s shows. When I was younger my family always did our own thing, often with the help of neighbors. Now, fatherhood keeps me close to home. Maybe when Robert gets older we’ll give it a try.

Who is going to have the best party later this week? What are your plans?

Should We Subsidize Lincoln’s Home Builders?

June 27, 2008 at 2:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Mayor Chris Beutler wants to give you $1,000—but only if you buy a new house. The proposal is designed to help kick-start a stalled local housing market. Currently, 326 new homes are sitting empty.

The proposal smells a little off to me, for three reasons. First, there’s the amount of the handout. One thousand dollars isn’t much, and I have a hard time thinking that the payments will be much more than a gift to people who were already planning to buy a house anyway. If you were to give me a grand to put toward a car, I’d talk. But a house?

Second, the payments create a disincentive to inter-city neighborhood rejuvenation. With all of the City’s talk about improving “The Core” and keeping Lincoln’s neighborhoods vibrant, why would Mayor Beutler want to offer an incentive that pushes people to the city’s fringes?

Last, the Mayor is proposing to spend up to $610,000 on this at a time when we still face a $1.5 million budget shortfall. City employees are losing their jobs and City services are being axed. Is subsidizing Heartland Homes et al. really the best use of $610,000 we can think of right now?

If the Mayor really thinks that propping up a struggling construction market is a big priority, I suggest he focus instead on his “one-stop development shop”. (Blurb in article linked above.) Cutting government-related costs for the local construction industry is a much better way to support the economy than simply handing out cash payments.

Another Stupid Criminal

June 27, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This time the pepper spray bit back.

Conserve! (But Not So Much)

June 27, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

In a classic example of “you get what you ask for”, Lincoln Water System’s revenues are down because of all the rain we’ve had the past couple months. Lincolnites are using as much water now as we normally use during the winter. Folks aren’t watering their lawns because, well, it just doesn’t make sense to put any more water on top of the nearly 9 inches or rain we’ve seen in June. All in all, it’s a very nice problem for a water system to have, I would think.

I’m trying to remember how many times I have watered this year. I haven’t put any water on my lawn. I watered my garden once or twice. And I think I watered my flowers two or three times. Other than that, plus a little weeding, it’s been a hands-off year so far. That’s the way I like it.

An Example That Fuels My Caution

June 26, 2008 at 6:56pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I don’t know if a commuter rail line between Lincoln and Omaha is a good idea. Scratch that. I do think it’s a good idea, in the “Gee, that’d be neat” sense. But is it worth all the resources required to start it up and keep it going? Stories like this latest example from Tennessee make it hard for me to shake off my skepticism.

An Important Detail

June 26, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus pointed out to me that a recent advertisement for the upcoming performance of “The Music Man” at Pinewood Bowl included a number of useful details. It even notes the type of pizza that will be available at the concession stand (Valentino’s). Unfortunately it did not mention the performance dates. Oops.

Those dates are July 10-13 and 17-20. Find more information here.

DARE To Be Scammed

June 26, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

LPD Chief Tom Casady has received a couple inquiries recently about folks selling DARE merchandise at locations around town. Lincoln has not had an active DARE program since 2000, so don’t be fooled into thinking the proceeds of your purchase stay in the community. For that matter, don’t be fooled into thinking your purchase is making much of a dent at all—the amount of your purchase being returned to DARE may be 5% or lower. You’re better off mailing a quarter directly to DARE headquarters.

The ethically challenged company behind these wares appears to be Momentum Marketing, aka JM Promotions Group. (They share the same phone number.)

The CWS has gone to the dawgs

June 26, 2008 at 4:25am By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

Fresno State that is.  In one of the most amazing runs in NCAA sports history, Fresno State the #4 seed in the Long Beach State regional, defied all odds and won the College World Series.

This could quite possibly be one of the most amazing runs in college sports history.

The first #4 seeded team to ever reach the CWS.
The first team ever rated lower than #48 (in a 64 team field) to make it to an NCAA final.
Only the second national title in school history (softball in 1998)
Tied the record for most runs in a CWS (61)
Most losses by a CWS winner (31)

To put this in perspective, there are 16 #4 seeds in a regional. So technically these are the 16 lowest rated teams in the tournament. If you want to compare this to the Big Dance…its like 13 seed OR LOWER winning the NCAA tournament. George Mason was an 11 seed in the 2006 tournament. And they only made it to the national semifinals.

In my opinion I thought there would be no winner more unlikely than Oregon State the past two years but this trumps it ten fold.

The Bars Will Be Packed at 8PM Tonight

June 25, 2008 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

OK, maybe it’s not likely to be as big a showcase for Nebraska as, say, the College World Series. But tonight’s episode of Supernanny will feature the Harding and Michelle Moy family of Lincoln. Personally, I think it would be bizarre to put my life (and my problems) on display for everybody—especially my friends and neighbors—to see. I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures.

Anyway, tune in if you’re in a bit of a voyeuristic mood.

Arena Support is Not Discouraging

June 25, 2008 at 1:44pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m intrigued. A group of arena supporters paid for a phone survey to assess Lincolnites’ thoughts on various arena-related topics; some of you may have taken it. The result are not public (since it was a private poll), but Kent Seacrest has said he is “not discouraged” by the results.

Hmm. Is “not discouraged” an expression of modesty, as in “the poll showed 85% support for the arena, which is not discouraging”? Or is it an expression of optimism in the face of long odds, as in “the poll only showed 35% support for the arena, but I am not discouraged”?

A Missed Opportunity?

June 25, 2008 at 1:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Did the Lincoln Board of Education miss an opportunity to earn some new respect from Lincoln’s taxpayers when it unanimously voted to approve a 5.7% larger budget at a time when the City is facing a $1.5 million (formerly $6 million) shortfall? I don’t know the answer to that, though I do suspect that the road for the next school bond issue—whenever it comes—just got a little bumpier.

At least LPS scores well with parents.

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