20 Questions: Mother’s Day Edition

By: Mr. Wilson on May 11, 2009
By popular demand, it's time for another round of Twenty Questions! Today's topic: what The Wilsons did in Lincoln on Mother's Day. Don't forget the rules:
  1. The answer is related to Lincoln.
  2. The questions should be worded so they generate a yes/no answer.
  3. Each person may ask one question at a time. After your question has been answered, you may ask another one.
  4. Ask your question as a comment to this blog post. Do not ask your question as a reply to another comment (i.e. a “nested comment")
  5. Feel free to "talk amongst yourselves" by indicating that your comment is not an actual guess.

Read more…

Graduation and Mother’s Day Weekend

By: Mr. Wilson on May 11, 2009
Happy graduation, grads! Happy Mother's Day, moms! Sorry I'm late. I've always been a little tardy with these things. I spent several hours this weekend at UNL's soccer field officiating games for Toro Soccer Club's Spring Showcase of Champions. The event featured premiere level U14 girls teams from Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma. The setting, with the field sitting in Memorial Stadium's shadow, and the good weather made for a wonderful event. A couple of the referees and a few of the visiting coaches and spectators hit the town on Saturday night. It sounds like Downtown had quite the party atmosphere in the wake of UNL's graduation earlier that day. I can't speak for Lincoln's overall economy, but it sounds like Lincoln's bars performed very well over the weekend. On Sunday, The Wilsons took a family outing for Mother's Day. But I'm not going to tell you about that. Instead, you will have to guess. Did any of you do anything especially nifty over the weekend?

Perhaps He Misunderstood Swine Flu

By: Mr. Wilson on May 8, 2009
Senator Mike Johanns is cutting pork from his diet -- political pork, that is. He won't pursue earmarks for Nebraska because he "simply do[es] not have confidence that the earmarking system is open, transparent and based on merit". Well, no, of course it isn't. That's why we call it pork and not "legitimate government expenditures". Congressional earmarks are a dirty business. Which isn't to say all earmarks are bad. The ugly processes used to pass earmarks are the the problem; the bizarre expenditures are a side effect. On the plus side, this means Sen. Johanns is exercising some sound principles. The dark side of his decision is that most everybody else is still fighting to get the Feds to pay for projects that really ought to be funded by local, state, or private entities (or not at all). Is this a good move by Johanns? Just a bit of political grandstanding? Or perhaps a grand waffle, since just a month ago he said he would support certain projects?

It’s Time for the Fourth Wilson

By: Mr. Wilson on May 7, 2009
It won't come as any surprise to most of you that The Wilsons are ready to expand our family. Robert is just about to turn three and we feel like the timing is right. As with Robbie, we will adopt our second child. So what does this have to do with you? Actually, I'm not just telling you about our plans for something to talk about. You may be able to help. You see, over the past several weeks we have been presented with a couple potential opportunities to adopt a child via "nontraditional" circumstances -- that is, not via an agency like we had planned. Neither opportunity went very far, but it made me realize something very important: whether we all know it or not, there are people among our acquaintances, friends, and family who want to consider or choose adoption, but they need help, or they want to place their child with a family they know and trust but they don't know anybody who is adopting other than those 1-800 numbers in the newspaper. After a recent out-of-the-blue situation with a "friend of a friend" I thought to myself, maybe we are focusing too far from home. One of the reasons The Missus and I elected not to adopt internationally is because there are oodles of kids here in the USA who need a family. Well, maybe our focus is still too broad; maybe our next child (or children) is somehow connected to you, or your friend, or your co-worker. I hope it doesn't sound like I am "shopping" for a kid. (Though sometimes the adoption process does feel like that.) Rather, I just want it to be known that we are a family looking for a child (or children) looking for a family. In all likelihood we will adopt our next child via traditional channels. But maybe not. If you or somebody you know wants to talk to us, use the e-mail address mrwilson at lincolnite dot com.

I Still Don’t Get It

By: Mr. Wilson on May 7, 2009
I know I've written on this before, but I still don't get LB278, which allows municipalities to permit pedestrians to walk in the street and ask for money under defined circumstances. Nothing in the law would explicitly allow big city-style panhandling and window washing, though I suppose a municipality could permit such a thing if it wanted to. Instead, specific fundraising groups could, with Lincoln's approval, legally walk among cars stuck in traffic after the latest Husker game. I'm having a difficult time seeing the public benefit to permitting pedestrians to walk in the street and harass motorists for cash. Interestingly enough, it seems that firefighters are the bill's big supporters. Firefighters? Why do firefighters want to collect money from me while sucking exhaust fumes in traffic?

You Want a Pika Me?

By: Mr. Wilson on May 7, 2009
No, this has nothing to do with Lincoln. But people, we must band together and save the pika! Pikas are little critters that live in rocky areas high in the mountains out west. I first met pikas when my dad and I went hiking in the Uintas Mountains in Utah for the first time several years ago. I didn't know what they were, so I dubbed them rock hamsters (no relation). Frankly, I think my name is far better than pika, a name which makes it seem like they eat chalk. Anyway, for whatever reason -- I blame altitude sickness -- I immediately fell in love with pikas. For Pete's sake stop wasting so dang much energy so we can halt global warming and help the poor little guys. Save the rock hamsters!

The Hammer Gets Nailed

By: Mr. Wilson on May 6, 2009
Well heck, I didn't expect Ken "The Hammer" Svoboda to lose in yesterday's election. Though honestly he didn't really seem to try that hard for reelection, did he? Maybe I'm perceiving him incorrectly, but he just didn't seem to have much fight in him this go-round. For that matter, few people seemed to fight very hard on his behalf. Our new City Council members are Jayne Snyder, Adam Hornung, and Gene Carroll. Congratulations to the three of them! I'm sure I'll have plenty to say about them over the next few years. Hmm, with this new blood on the Council, maybe we can finally get a Councilmember or two to start actively blogging, Casady-style. To the newly-elected members I ask: Are any of you willing to be that transparent? I would love to help you get started.

One Pooped Puppy

By: Mr. Wilson on May 6, 2009
Sorry for the relatively light load of posts lately, and for the relatively substance-free content of many of those posts. It's getting toward the end of the high school soccer season and I'm getting worn down. Heck, I lost three pounds over the last 48 hours. Why? Try 380 minutes of soccer in 27 hours, thanks to 3 out of 4 of my District games going through overtime and into shootouts. Sheesh! At least the spectators are getting their money's worth. I'll make it up to you once I get over my calorie deficit. Anybody up for a game? Let me know in the comments what game you'd like to play.

Not My Favorite Job

By: Mr. Wilson on May 5, 2009
If I were ever to be elected to public office, I think my least favorite task would be helping to craft the budget. It doesn't sound like much fun in a good year, and it really doesn't sound like fun In These Economic Times™. Then again I love a good challenge and few things are more challenging than dealing with a dicey budget situation. What budget-related topics do you want Nebraska's senators to focus on during the upcoming debate?

Nebraska’s Plates to Go Bugly

By: Mr. Wilson on May 4, 2009
We Nebraskans take our license plates too seriously sometimes. Remember how much vitriol there was when we dropped county numbers for a few counties? So keeping in mind that none of this really matters in the big scheme of things, check out our options for our next license plate: The only tolerable option Color is for sissies Welcome to clipart 101 Holy crap, they made these with MS Paint I count one legitimate option, one clipart option that's so boring it will induce an epidemic of drivers falling asleep at the wheel, and two brain-bendingly bad options that look like they were pulled directly from default templates from a 1995 version of MS Paint. Come on, DMV, this is the best you could come up with? I strongly -- strongly -- doubt that. Vote carefully, Lincolnites. And by that I mean: For the love of God, please vote for the bird because it's the only reasonably respectable option. Remember, we're stuck with these things until December 31, 2017. UPDATE: Added a link to the DMV website so you can vote.

That’s a Lot of Runners

By: Mr. Wilson on May 4, 2009
The 6,500-ish Lincoln Marathon runners packed Lincoln's streets for hours yesterday. The Wilsons took a walk up 48th Street to watch the herd. I was amused by the drivers at 48th and Pioneers who seemed certain that if they just waited long enough, they could eventually squeeze through the intersection. Yeah, not so much. The temperature was probably just a tiny bit too warm as the morning progressed, but honestly, who can really complain about yesterday's weather? It made for an amazing atmosphere, which the winners enjoyed:
“Lincoln has such a great reputation, I had to run here, and I had a ball,” said Matt Dewald, a Vermillion, S.D., runner who won the men’s marathon in a near-record time of 2 hours, 25 minutes, 37 seconds. “The cops were great, the guy riding a bike alongside was phenomenal and this city made me feel like running my best,” Dewald said. The same feeling hit women’s marathon winner Ashley Tousley. “I had so much fun here,” the Des Moines, Iowa, native said. “Friends had been talking to me about running here, and it was perfect. I’ve been in the lead of the Des Moines marathon twice, but got sick both times and didn’t win. “This is my first win and I feel great. Must be my day and my kind of town,” said Tousley, who will graduate from Drake Law School in two weeks.
I really enjoy being part of the crowds that watch the marathoners every year. This year The Wilsons sat on the curb outside LaMar's, munching on donuts. (Nope, I didn't feel so much as a twinge of guilt!) At that point, roughly 5.5 miles into the race, most of the runners were still capable of smiling. And there were lots of smiles. There was also a woman dressed like a cat, and a man running while carrying what appeared to be a very heavy hiking backpack. Odd! The decline in National Guard runners was noticeable; I remember seeing only one such runner. The Missus used to run the marathon so she knows plenty of regular runners. Unfortunately, a couple got shut out this year thanks to the record number of sign-ups. I wonder what can be done about that? The start could be staggered more, but that won't do any favors to Sunday morning traffic. Organizers could flip-flop the two halves of the race, but that would make the 1/2 marathon route the less scenic and varied portion of the race. I wonder if that would negatively affect sign-ups? Did any of you folks run in yesterday's race? Were any of you trapped for ages in traffic?
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