Let’s Eat Ribs on Thursday

By: Mr. Wilson on August 6, 2008
Who is up for some ribs tomorrow? Any and all are welcome to meet me at Ribfest tomorrow. I will plan to be at the west entrance (near the YWCA) at noon. After getting my food, I will plan to sit under the tent on the west side (the same place we ate last year). I'm a slow eater, so don't worry about rushing if you're running behind. Oh, and don't forget to bring some cans of food for the Food Bank of Lincoln, which gets you in for free between 11:00am and 1:00pm on both Thursday and Friday.

Working the Chain Gang at Pansing Park

By: Mr. Wilson on August 5, 2008
I don't think I have any inherent beef with having inmates do work for Parks & Rec. It's a win-win: Parks & Rec, short on cash, gets cheap labor; bored inmates get some activity and work experience. Only non-violent, low-risk inmates would be used, of course. Personally, I'm a big fan of programs that give inmates something productive to do. Although the retributionist in all of us might prefer that certain criminals be locked in their cells with nothing but the bare necessities, simple math will tell you that it's often less costly to society when convicts leave jail in a productive capacity than it is to keep them incarcerated or to reincarcerate them. (Notice I said "often", not "always".) That's particularly true for most non-violent offenders. Parks and Rec director Lynn Johnson has some concerns about the proposal, and rightly so. But it's clear there's excess work to be done. Trash could be picked up more frequently. Grass could be mowed more often. Baseball and softball fields could be kept in better condition. Restrooms could be kept cleaner. And so on. In the wintertime, inmates could be used to clear sidewalks and other pedestrian areas around public buildings and parks, leaving regular personnel more time to focus on the city's streets. It's still early, though, so I look forward to seeing more details as the idea develops. How much will it cost? What jobs will they do? Will they wear pink?

Another Hundred Mil for UNL

By: Mr. Wilson on August 5, 2008
UNL's research funding leveled off a bit this year, but still increased 3.2% to $105.7 million. That's a nice little chunk of change. Although UNL and NU leaders talk about how UNL's research funding benefits Lincoln and Nebraska, it would be nice to see some numbers rather than just general statements. Even a periodic report -- every three to five years, say -- would be great. Does such a report exist?

The Perils of Not Following the Local News

By: Mr. Wilson on August 5, 2008
Week after week, I see articles in the Journal Star or hear stories on KLIN about the success of the latest prostitution sting by LPD in or near Near South. Today I woke up to the same old news: seven more men were arrested for soliciting prostitution in that neighborhood. Seriously guys, are you trying to get caught? LPD hasn't exactly been secretive about their anti-prostitution efforts in that part of the city. I wonder how many men LPD has caught in those stings. Dozens for sure.

Is Lincolnite Misbehaving?

By: Mr. Wilson on August 4, 2008
I received a report that Lincolnite doesn't always load correctly. Sometimes it can take a few page refreshes to get things to show up properly. This specific report said it started around last Wednesday. Is anybody else having problems with pages not loading, or only getting partial page loads? If so, please let me know.

Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout, Don?

By: Mr. Wilson on August 4, 2008
In today's Don Walton column, he includes this sentence near the end:
Irony: Deregulation is a favorite theme of the business community, but deregulation of the airline industry could forever place limits on Lincoln’s potential for economic growth.
I'm missing his point. Could somebody tell me what he's trying to get at?

Where in Lincoln is this?

By: Mr. T on August 4, 2008
image I knew this might be a hard one, so I took a hint photo as well: image Congratulations Nikki! Your formidable knowledge of Lincoln, and tenacity, is indeed impressive. Jwilt...dude, you were one google search click away from the answer. A geek god such as yourself should be ashamed. 😉

Read more…

Piddle Me This

By: Mr. Wilson on August 4, 2008
Have you ever seen a two year-old fall asleep on the toilet? Actually, hold that thought. I'm getting ahead of myself. Early this spring I (rather arbitrarily) decided that we would start potty training Robbie on or about his second birthday. Robbie has always seemed to be an intelligent boy who is capable of controlling himself when he really needs to. That seemed like enough to make potty training go relatively smoothly. Then again, what did I know? My last direct experience with potty training came 28 years ago. Well, Robbie's second birthday came and went in mid-May. He clearly wasn't ready to shed diapers just yet, despite a few early successes with #2. And so we waited. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Out of the blue I said to The Missus, "I think we should seriously consider starting up potty training in earnest." The Missus wasn't quite as gung ho about it as I was, but we began to investigate our options. First we had to check with Theresa, our daycare provider. By coincidence, one of the girls at daycare was also ready to begin using the toilet. Since kids tend to learn these things best in groups, we decided to start together the following Monday. That was a week ago. In the first couple days Robbie had one accident per day. That seemed about right. On Wednesday, it was two. Then on Thursday he became ill and we had to temporarily revert to diapers. Uh oh. On Thursday night I glumly informed grandma that "it might not happen right now". But since then he has been doing awesome. We had an accident-free weekend. And on Friday night Robbie began waking us up in the middle of the night rather than doing his business in his diaper. (We're keeping the overnight diaper ... for now.) Have you ever sat in the middle of the night with a semi-conscious toddler with a toddler who is trying to pee? Who knew it could be so cute. Last night he even fell asleep on the toilet, upping the cute factor considerably. It has been three days since Robbie woke up with a wet diaper. I'm nowhere near ready to declare victory over the diaper because, well, toddlers often take the two-steps-forward-one-step-back approach to learning and development, and because it takes a lot longer than a week to make sure these things stick. For now, I'm enjoying the thought of a diaper-free future. I just have one pressing question: how do you keep pants from falling off a diaperless kid who has no butt?

A Sports Section That’s 40% Advertisements

By: Mr. Wilson on August 2, 2008
The print edition of today's Lincoln Journal Star sports section is a perfect illustration of the frustrations some of you have expressed lately about the LJS's lack of content. Page 3 is 50% advertisements. Page 4 is 100% advertisements. Page 5 is 100% advertisements. With 2.5 pages of ads in a six-page section, you're looking at 40% ads, 60% content. Of that 60%, most of page 2 and page 6 are raw data (various sports results and baseball stats, respectively). And about 1/3 of page 1 is taken up by a large photo and headline that several of you have railed against. I'm still a subscriber and I don't plan to unsubscribe any time soon. But at 60/40, the ratio of content to ads is getting scarily close to the likes of Cosmo.

Adult Diapers Are OK; Umbrellas Are Not

By: Mr. Wilson on August 2, 2008
Since Senator Bill Avery proposed a sales tax holiday on back-to-school items in Nebraska, you may be interested in knowing how Iowa handles their holiday. Here are the rules, along with a list of sample taxable and exempt items. For example, corsets are exempt, as are fur coats, riding pants, and tuxedos. Meanwhile, scuba gear, martial arts attire, golf gloves, and checkbook covers are taxable. One of the rules strikes me as odd. That rule states: "Businesses cannot advertise that they will pay or otherwise absorb the sales tax on items that don’t qualify." Why not? If I run a business and I want to have a 10% off sale during the sales tax holiday, that's legal. But if I want to have a 5.5% off sale (or whatever the sales tax happens to be), that's illegal. Huh? Several states have sales tax holidays on various items at various times of the year. You may want to read up on what other states are doing.
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