Latest Blog Posts

I’m Out. Probably.

April 30, 2012 at 2:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This was a bit of a bittersweet weekend for me. I received news that I’ve been assigned to a PDL soccer match this Saturday night. I should have been ecstatic, right? I was, of course. An old dog like me isn’t going to get too many chances to officiate at that level.

Unfortunately, that pretty much rules out my participation in the Lincoln Half Marathon the following morning. After all, it would be pretty difficult to run 6-8 miles on Saturday night (along with the corresponding stress that accompanies officiating a soccer match), drive three hours home, get five hours sleep, then run 13.1 miles. Some people could do it. I’m not sure I’m one of them.

In a way it’s a relief. I ran a “test” half marathon last week. It went poorly. My enthusiasm for race day was pretty low. When I first signed up for the race I had high hopes for myself based on a level of fitness (and youth!) that I just don’t have any more. The longer I trained, the more I realized that my actual pace was going to be a huge disappointment. Which is silly, because I was still on pace to finish in the top 15% or so. That’s pretty dang good for a guy whose body is not built for long distance.

With the weight of the half marathon off my shoulders, yesterday I went out and ran an absolutely phenomenal 8.75 mile interval workout. It was the most fun I had had training for the race since ... well, since I realized just how much slower I was going to run than I had hoped. Once the burden of expectations was removed, I was free to run for giggles. It was fantastic.

I haven’t completely ruled out running on Sunday. I paid the money and put in the miles, after all. If I can find a way to physically recover in the few hours between the end of the soccer match and the start of the race, then I’ll be there at the starting line Sunday morning. If not? Then look for me cheering on the runners at mile 5.5—with a Lamar’s donut in one hand and cold milk in the other.

By the way, we referees receive a couple complimentary tickets to the PDL games we work. If any local soccer fans would like to make the trip to Des Moines on Saturday, let me know and perhaps I can get you in for free.

It’s Playoff Time

April 30, 2012 at 1:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

High school soccer’s oh-so-short season is quickly drawing to a close. District playoffs are going on today through Thursday. Since I’m officiating at the tournament I can’t comment too much about the particulars. I will say that these next two weeks should be pretty darn exciting. There remains exactly one undefeated team in the entire state right now (Grand Island boys), in contrast with past years in which there’ve been several. The District and State championships are up for grabs by just about anybody.

Lincoln hosts three District tournaments this year:

Boys District A-7 at Seacrest (East, Fremont, Omaha Central, Omaha Westside)
Girls District A-6 at Seacrest (Southeast, Millard South, Omaha Benson, Papillion-LaVista South)
Girls District B-1 at Aldrich (Auburn, Lincoln Lutheran, Lincoln Pius X, Nebraska City, Norris, Waverly)

Full District assignments, schedules, wildcard updates, and more are available from the NSAA.

Archrival in the News

April 30, 2012 at 1:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It’s always nice to see local businesses make a stir on the international stage. The latest: Archrival, a Downtown-based “youth marketing” firm, is behind a recent buzz-worthy campaign to distribute Red Bull to college campuses worldwide. I first heard about the campaign several days ago, but at that time I had no idea Archrival was behind it.

Good work, folks!

The Original Wiener Slinger

April 26, 2012 at 8:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I remember going to Husker football games as a kid and being fascinated by ... well, pretty much everything. The entire game day experience is one heck of a spectacle to a little kid. But out of all of that, a few things stand out in my memory.

One of those memories is hot dog flinger P. Stephen Potter. If you went to Husker football games before 2000 you probably remember him, too. He was the guy who threw hot dogs into the stands and almost never missed. And how did people pay him, you might ask? Simple. They wrapped up their cash in the hot dog’s foil and threw it back at him. It was an amazing and quirky tradition.

And then it ended.

Until today I hadn’t realized when or why Mr. Potter disappeared. I guess I assumed he had retired, or died, or just found something better to do with his Saturdays. Not quite. CBS News recently did a follow-up story. Could it be enough to get Mr. Potter invited back to Memorial Stadium?

Lincoln’s Own Soup Nazi

April 24, 2012 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Does Lincoln have a Seinfeld-style “Soup Nazi”?

I think about this question whenever I drive past 27th and Randolph, home to the (in)famous M&N Sandwich Shop. I’ve never been there, but I’ve always heard that the service can be a bit ... gruff. I’ll have to rely on the restaurant’s regular patrons to let us know if that’s accurate.

Are there any other restaurants in town that feature a Soup Nazi equivalent? I’ve tried my darndest to come up with one from among all the restaurants I visit—which is quite a few, frankly—but I’ve got bupkis. Back in high school and college in my Village Inn frequenting days there was a waitress at the Van Dorn VI with a delightfully sassy attitude, but I have no idea if she’s still around or what her name was.

Help me out, Lincolnites. There have to be a few good candidates around town. Who’s got one?

Where in Lincoln is this?

April 23, 2012 at 12:36pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Solved!

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What’s All The Fuss Aboot?

April 22, 2012 at 4:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Tomorrow’s a big day in local parking enforcement history. Tomorrow is the first day that Lincoln will begin slapping boots on vehicles that belong to folks with unpaid violations. Get those fines paid if you want to get to work on time! Or better yet, y’know, just don’t get a ticket in the first place.

Is Lincoln More Open-Minded Than Omaha?

April 19, 2012 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The City Council will soon consider a proposal that would expand certain legal protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people by making those groups a “protected class”. Omaha recently considered a similar proposal. Husker football assistant coach Ron Brown got into hot water for speaking out against that proposal without making clear that he was not speaking as a University employee.

Councilman Carl Eskridge will present the proposal to the Council. He thinks things will go more smoothly in Lincoln than they did in Omaha.

Eskridge said he doesn’t expect to see the kind of controversy that occurred in Omaha, where about 100 people testified at the public hearing, including filmmaker Alexander Payne and assistant Nebraska football coach Ron Brown.

“We are a closer knit community, kinder and more understanding,” Eskridge said. “We like to do things differently.”

I may be wrong, but ... hogwash. If anything I predict more controversy, more hubbub, and more news-making events. Why wouldn’t there be? Both sides have more momentum than they did leading up to the Omaha vote. Proponents here in Lincoln can point to Omaha, not to mention every other Big Ten city,  and say “we should be like them”. Opponents will be extra-motivated, having already lost the state’s largest city. And then there’s the sub-circus around Ron Brown. Will he speak out? Will he be fired?

Call me cynical if you must, but I don’t see Lincolnites all gathering together to toast our progressiveness and sing Kumbaya. I foresee many bumps ahead.

For Soccer Fans

April 18, 2012 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’ve been working on an article for our referees titled “Do You Hear What I Hear?”. It’s about getting beyond what our ears hear and finding the actual meaning in the feedback referees receive on and off the field. I told my dad about it and he asked if I was going to set it to music. That led to this spontaneous bit of song-writing:

Said the angry coach to the referee,
Do you see what I see?
Surely that should be a penalty!
Do you see what I see?
A foul! A foul!
Right before your eyes,
How’d you miss it you blind imbecile?
How’d you miss it you blind imbecile?

Said the midfielder to the lead AR,
Do you hear what I hear?
He touched the ball before it crossed the line!
Do you hear what I hear?
Our ball, not theirs!
How can you say it’s theirs?
It should be our team’s corner kick!
It should be our team’s corner kick!

Yelled the spectators to the referees,
Do you know what we know?
Dang you guys are so ignorant!
Do you know what we know?
Hand ball! Offsides!
He’s playing on the ground!
We could see that from all the way up here!
We could see that from all the way up here!

Hmm, I smell a hit record…

Bad News for Local Thai Fans

April 17, 2012 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Sure, the rumor mill says that Blue Orchid is going to open a second location on the south side of town. That’s great and all.

But.

Foxspit stopped by to let us know that Thai House, a favorite of many local Thai fans, is closing on June 2. The neighboring grocery will expand to fill its space. As if I didn’t already feel bad enough that I’ve never been there. Now it appears my first visit—if I get there at all—will be my last.

Drat.

Firefighting Closer to Homes

April 17, 2012 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Tom Casady wants to relocate some fire stations, and open a couple new ones, to better serve Lincoln as it grows. Lincoln hasn’t opened a new firestation since 1996 despite adding 50,000 people. That’s like Grand Island not having a single firestation.

Despite your initial impressions, however, this change is intended to be a cost-saver over time. How? Currently some stations host more than one fire company. Under Casady’s plan there would be no multi-company stations; the “extra” firefighters would move to their own station. Thus, personnel costs would stay relatively constant while areal coverage would increase.

Jon Camp, never one to let new expenditures by without comment, generally likes the plan, but he wants to see some medic-only stations. The vast majority of calls are for medical emergencies, not fires. On a superficial level Camp’s concerns make sense. Deeper than that ... well, I just don’t know. Firefighters—and Casady—will tell you Camp’s idea is misguided. But how much of that is based on public safety concerns and how much derives from less altruistic concerns, like job protectionism? I hate to hint at something like that, but it’s impossible to look at the history of Lincoln Fire & Rescue and not be a little concerned. The department’s past mandates some pretty hefty skepticism.

Not that we should assume Camp’s motives are any purer, nor can we assume that he knows better than Tom Casady. While LFR deserves a watchful eye, Casady has earned himself a tremendous amount of respect and trust over the years. If anybody in this town should get a little deference, it’s Casady. Not that he needs us to be soft on him. I’m sure he has a mountain of data to back up his plans.

I’m eager to follow this issue as it develops. We as a community will have to decide if we want to front the money required for this to happen, and you know how Lincolnites are about money. Do you think it will happen? Should it?

Smooth Criminal

April 16, 2012 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Here’s another great one from Crime Mapping in my neighborhood:

UNK PTY SMEARED PEANUT BUTTER AND SYRUP ON VIC’S VEH

Translated, that’s “Unknown party smeared peanut butter and syrup on victim’s vehicle”. Between this, last week’s Axe Body Spray theft, and many of the other crime reports I’ve seen in the past, we have some very unusual criminals in my neighborhood.

Where in Lincoln is this?

April 16, 2012 at 12:10pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: We have a winner. WooHoo!

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One Step Forward After Five Steps Back

April 12, 2012 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

After signing five child welfare bills into law, Governor Heineman had to come up with something to say. The Unicameral has absolutely destroyed him and his Department of Health and Human Services this session. He couldn’t let them have the last word. So he went with:

These bills represent an important step forward as we continue to reform child welfare to better serve the citizens of Nebraska.

You’re right, Dave. These bills are an important step forward. Unfortunately, it comes on the heels of the Heineman Administration’s insistence that we first take several gigantic steps backwards; and it happened only because the Unicameral held a gun to the back of Heineman’s head. But yes, Nebraska has taken a step forward.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that we’re well on our way to having the system fixed. Not even close. The system was broken before Heineman got his hands on it, and it’s significantly more broken now. These bills represent minor, temporary repairs, nothing more. There remains a tremendous amount of work to be done—many years’ worth. True solutions will not happen under this administration without substantial, relentless pressure from the Unicameral, the courts, from advocacy organizations, and from the public. Even then I doubt we will have a system we can be proud of until after this Governor is out of office. He is on the record declaring that child welfare is not a priority. He hasn’t made any voluntary changes despite overwhelming evidence of massive systematic failures. He is not the leader we’re looking for.

Thank you to the lawmakers and advocates who pushed these issues over the past few months. Please don’t stop. Your efforts are needed just as much now as ever before.

Blue Orchid Two

April 12, 2012 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

According to @GrowLincoln, Blue Orchid is planning a second location near 18th and Pine Lake. They’ll have the same menu but perhaps a different name. Thank goodness the location isn’t any closer to me or ... ugh, I shudder at the thought of how many times I would eat there each week.

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