By: Mr. Wilson on September 15, 2006
It's interesting to listen to people discuss two recent situations in Lincoln. In the first, a judge commits a traffic violation and kills a man; in the second, a professor hands out some small explosives to students. Almost invariably the judge is treated with kid gloves, even sympathy. Folks cite his apparent compassion and how "it could have happened to anybody". Probation and community service, the conversants agree, would be best. The professor, on the other hand, has already been convicted by public opinion. His actions didn't harm anyone, but he could have "blown somebody's arm off". He should, at the very least, be fired (but the University won't touch him because he's tenured), and he should serve at least a little time in jail. The professor is "careless", "wacky", and "apparently a drunk". The contrast in the tone of the two discussions is striking, which I find fascinating. It's a small case study in the power of media coverage and in how people weigh actions and consequences.

Friday Five

By: Mr. Wilson on September 15, 2006
Summer is drawing to a close. Did you do everything you had planned to do? Here are five things you should do one more time (or for the first time) before autumn is upon us:
  1. Take a long walk through Sunken Gardens
  2. Visit the Children's Zoo
  3. Dine outside in the Haymarket
  4. Ride your bike along Lincoln's bike trails
  5. Eat an ice cream cone at Zesto (the one on South Street, of course)

Off By a Mile

By: Mr. Wilson on September 15, 2006
OK, fine, my prediction, made at the start of the year, of $3.75 gas this fall may have been a little off. But if I had to be way off, isn't it better I was way off on the high side?

Where Have You Been?

By: Mr. Wilson on September 15, 2006
Did you all notice what showed up yesterday that hasn't been around for ages? Wind. I heard that Lincoln went 33 days without a wind gust over 30 miles per hour, a new record. (Who keeps track of a record like that?) So not only did August and early September offer us pleasant temperatures, we weren't beat up by the wind either. Perhaps Mother Nature is asking forgiveness for that whole drought thing, but I think she is buttering us up in preparation for some fireworks this winter.

13th and M

By: Mr. T on September 14, 2006
Mary Lou - the owner of the old Filipino restaurant where Danny's Deli now resides - has reopened operations where they rented out the old M13 Bistro. Mary Lou flagged me down today as I was walking back home, as I used to visit her old eatery often. The new place just opened has a simple menu of sandwiches and other items. However, if you are interested in home cooked pancit (Wednesday's special) or chicken adobo (Friday's special), let her know in advance and she will cook some up for you on any day. I wonder if there is any other operation in the state that offers home cooked Filipino?

Ant Attack!

By: Mr. Wilson on September 13, 2006
Our kitchen has been taken over by ants. It started a couple days ago with just a few ants, but this morning there was a lineup like women at a public restoom. Fortunately, we had some Grant's Kills Ants on hand. Within an hour the little buggers were lined up around the toxic blue pools of ant crack cocaine, ready to carry it back to the nest. There were even a couple corpses scattered about; they must have o.d.'d before they could even make it home. Gluttons. For a moment I felt a little guilty about wiping out an entire ant colony. Then I noticed a couple ants wandering near Robbie's formula. I don't feel guilty any longer.

Paul’s on Pioneers

By: Mr. Wilson on September 13, 2006
Jeff Korbelik's favorite barbeque appears to be headed to the former laundromat at 48th and Pioneers. Paul's BBQ, originally run by Paul Nevels out of the back of a truck (?!) at a service station at 40th and A, is moving in. I had the building pegged as an excellent spot for a restaurant, what with its decent location, ample parking, and big windows. I'm excited that a "little guy" is going to give the location a shot. I have never eaten Paul's BBQ, but you can be assured I'll stop by as close to opening day as possible.

Right Down the Middle

By: Mr. Wilson on September 13, 2006
Robert had his four-month well baby checkup today. He weighed in at 14lbs 12oz and measured 25" long. According to baby growth charts, he is almost exactly at the 50th percentile in weight, height, and head circumference. Robbie is, in other words, the picture of the average baby. Robbie received four shots today as part of his checkup. He was definitely not a fan of receiving the shots, but he recovered remarkably quickly. In fact, by the time we got him dressed and made our way back to the front desk, he was already ready to flirt with the nurses. I think Robbie is going to add a new food to his repertoire today. Carrots are a likely candidate, but The Missus may mix things up and go with a fruit instead. I'll have to guess what it was when I get home by the color of the stains on his bib.

Antelope Valley’s First Big Project?

By: Mr. Wilson on September 12, 2006
Could a new four-story retail and residential building at 17th and O, where the Images II building currently stands, be the first big Antelope Valley project to come to fruition? The project matches goals for the area according to the Downtown Master Plan and the Antelope Valley plan, so it would seem the project shouldn't run into any hurdles from the government. The big question is: can that part of Downtown support 40 condos right now? I suppose the best answer is: somebody has to be the first to redevelop the area.

Cover-Up in Lincoln

By: Mr. Wilson on September 12, 2006
If you're a property owner in Lincoln, prepare for a cover-up. Of graffiti, that is. The City Council passed an anti-graffiti ordinance yesterday, which means:
  • Minimum fines for graffiti deed-doers are now $200
  • Property owners have 15 days to cover up graffiti on their property
  • Property owners can hire the city to remove the graffiti
  • Property owners can pay $50 to ask for an extension or exception
Just for fun, if you happen to see any graffiti on public property that isn't promptly removed, send me a photo. I will post the photo here and submit a letter to the city to help ensure that our public areas set a good example.

Too Blue?

By: Mr. Wilson on September 12, 2006
Grace Safarik thinks Sunken Gardens had "entirely too much dark purple foliage" and was "more appropriate for a funeral than a wedding." I had noticed that the Gardens were a little darker than usual this year, but it wasn't a problem for me. Your thoughts?

Three For Me

By: Mr. Wilson on September 11, 2006
A big batch of college soccer reffing assignments showed up in my inbox this morning, and I finally received my first center assignment. In fact, I received three. Two of the games should be pretty decent (one women's, one men's), but in the third my biggest challenge will probably be staying awake. Still, it's not a bad crop of games overall. Also in the plus column is the fact that I only have one big drive on my calendar. On the 23rd I'll have to make the long drive up to Dordt, in Sioux Center, Iowa. The rest of my assignments are all within two hours of here. I'm glad the news was good this morning. I woke up tired -- Robbie, would you care to explain to the nice people why that is? -- and judging by the perceived weight of my noggin, I'd say I have a pretty respectable cold coming on. Add in the gray skies out the window and I thought today would be a real struggle. But now I have a little skip in my giddyup that ought to be enough to get me through the day.

Quick Reactions to Mayor Seng’s Comments

By: Mr. Wilson on September 11, 2006
Yesterday Deena Winter's article in the Journal Star was an interview with Mayor Seng. A couple quick reactions: (The questions are bold, Mayor Seng's responses are in italics, and my comments are in regular text.) What criticism of you and your tenure as mayor is most unfair? People complain about the strangest things these days. It's very difficult to pick out one single thing. There will be people that will complain about my hair and there will be people who will compliment my hair, which has absolutely nothing to do with being mayor. ... the smoking ban, guns. Hold on a second, did Mayor Seng just say that the smoking ban and the recent concealed carry kerfuffle have "absolutely nothing to do with being mayor"? Or did Deena Winter really butcher what Mayor Seng said by inserting an ellipse in a bad spot? If it isn't the latter, then Mayor Seng has some bizarre ideas about what criticisms are fair and and which are unfair. Do you think some of the criticism of you is age or gender-based? Yes. It has been, and we've noticed that on e-mails that come in. Do they criticize Tom Osborne because of his age? Sorry Mayor Seng, but don't even try to flatter yourself with a comparison to Tom Osborne. Osborne's situation is far removed from yours. That said, I don't disagree that some of the criticisms sent Mayor Seng's way are unfairly related to the combination of her age and gender. Is there anything you'd do differently if you had a chance to do it over again? No. I didn't ever plan to be mayor. I wasn't ever sure I'd be on the City Council. I might have been on City Council earlier if I'd raised enough money. I might have raised more money for the mayor's race. This, in my opinion, is a terrible answer. Given an opportunity, among a completely benign audience of one polite reporter, to own up to one mistake -- any mistake -- she made as mayor, Seng weaseled out. Tacky. Have you or your administration been a barrier to growth? People have wanted to say that, for as long as I know, about Lincoln government. If you're in it to do a quick and fast (project) to make a buck, then yes, you might think that. Her answer doesn't really do anything to address why developers so often negatively compare doing business in Lincoln to doing business elsewhere. Surely there's something deeper going on that could be addressed, even if it's something as small as changing perceptions. Gallup wasn't in it for a quick buck; neither was Tractor Supply Company; nor Wal-Mart; nor were several other companies that Lincoln lost out on or said no to. What of them, Mayor Seng? Will NU beat USC? The team looked good last Friday. Uhh, what? She knows the Huskers are a college team that plays on Saturdays, right? (I'll just let this one slide as a Bushism.) If there's one thing you would change about Lincoln, what would it be? Have more north-south roads go all the way from the city limits on both sides. I agree. But I wonder: if that's the one thing she could change about Lincoln, why didn't she do more to north/south transportation during her tenure? What is Neal Obermeyer (a freelance political cartoonist for the Journal Star) going to do without you? I wish he would come up here. We've invited him. I think he'd probably be really surprised if he met me. Hmm, what do you think would surprise Neal about Mayor Seng? It'd be pretty surprising if he walked into her office and she were wearing a bikini. Maybe she's a huge NASCAR fan. Or maybe she once dated Winston Churchill. Other than that, I just can't think of many things about her that would surprise Neal.

I’m Older

By: Mr. Wilson on September 10, 2006
As of this moment, I am officially older. I'm not old yet. I won't be old for a couple more decades. Today I'm just older. And there was much rejoicing.
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