By: Mr. Wilson on July 23, 2009
I don't eat at Runza very often these days -- come to think of it, when was the last time I ate at Runza? -- so I may be awfully late to notice this: Runza menu You might not be able to see what's going on there, so here it is at Runza's own website. That's right, they appear to have quietly dropped the lame "Oven Stuff'd" from their "Runza Oven Stuff'd Sandwiches". Thank goodness. I could never figure out what "oven stuff'd" was supposed to mean. Even if you could get beyond the ridiculous apostrophe, you still had to figure out why the sandwiches are stuffed into an oven, and why that should make you want to purchase one. It boggles my mind how many people had to think "Oven Stuff'd" was a good idea in order for it to go public. Anyway, kudos to Runza for realizing the error of their ways. They just get a B for the move, though. An A+ effort would have involved a public apology and flogging the marketing team at halftime at a Husker football game.

The LJS’s New Clothes Need Some Tailoring

By: Mr. Wilson on July 22, 2009
The Journal Star is attempting to launch a new website today. It's having all sorts of troubles right now, so I'll withhold my comments on the site until tomorrow. (Or later, if it's still busted by then.) In the mean time, I encourage you to follow the site launch from ... umm .. the site's own perspective. The tweeting began several hours ago with this:
I'm gonna unleash my new look on the world today. It was inspired by WordPress template called "Sisyphean Ordeal."
Awesome. It's even more awesome if you happen to know some of the back story behind the site redevelopment.

Downtown Dining News

By: Mr. Wilson on July 22, 2009
Matt Olson reports that Panera Bread opened up today in the Arbor Day Foundation building at 12th & P Downtown. I imagine it will do well in that location. A few blocks away, I've noticed on my past couple noontime visits to Downtown that the Centennial Mall & O Street D'Leon's is turning into a bit of a lunchtime deadzone. Have I just had bad timing, or is it really that empty all the time? When that place first opened you couldn't find a seat. Now you can't find a customer! What's the deal? Bad service? Bad food? Is Lincoln just plain D'Leon'd out? Oh, and one just for fun: I took this photograph yesterday. Can you identify the location?

Bank Shot

By: Mr. Wilson on July 22, 2009
Those of you who have been around for a while know that I am inclined to dismantle the state's monopoly over gambling in Nebraska. So when I see something like the maybe legal / maybe illegal BankShot come along, I all but reflexively shout "Legal!". The debate at the state level is over whether it is a game of chance or a game of skill. The former (in state law) is illegal, while the latter is legal. Have you seen the game around town yet? Apparently Patty's Pub (311 N. Cotner) is one place to find the game. Where else can it be found. If you have seen it, do you think it's a game of skill or a game of chance?

Holdrege Bridge is Falling Down

By: Mr. Wilson on July 22, 2009
That troublesome bridge on Holdrege Street near 17th? It's about to become history, to be replaced by a pedestrian bridge. In a weird way that makes me a little sad. We used to park our car on the far side of the bridge and then walk over it to the State Fair. Now that I think about it, I have an odd number of memories associated with a bridge that I only rarely used. Oh well, best to take it down before it comes down on its own. We don't need that kind of liability hanging over our heads.

Haymarket On Ice

By: Mr. Wilson on July 22, 2009
At least one aspect of the Haymarket redevelopment sounds like it is moving forward. The Breslow Ice Center is making gradual progress and, notably, will move forward regardless of what happens with the arena. Furthermore negotiations with the railroad, which owns a lot of land in the Haymarket, appear to be going well. It's not quite as good news as "The arena is fully funded and will begin construction tomorrow!", but hey, I'll take it.

Lancaster Manor and the Buyer From Hell

By: Mr. Wilson on July 21, 2009
Well, maybe not quite Hell. But it doesn't sound like Hunter Management is near the top in terms of quality care. If you don't care to read the article right now, here's the skinny: Hunter Management is owned by the Rothner Family (remember that name), which owns 45 nursing homes across the region. Of those, 20 have one star Medicare ratings (out of 5). Rothner-owned homes have been fined $780,000 this decade, and "some" -- I don't know how many "some" is -- of the homes have unusually high deficiency ratings. If you're the cynical sort you won't be surprised to learn that none of our County Commissioners were aware of any of that. Or if they were aware, they hid it from the public. If you aren't the cynical sort, you'll be shocked to discover that the Commissioners' exhaustive "research" into the potential buyer consisted of a quick web search. (For the record, typing a company's name into Google is not sufficient research when making a decision this big.) Follow-up reactions from the Commissioners and the company will be interesting. A rhetorical question: Why didn't local media organizations catch the company's problems? Isn't this the sort of thing their research teams should have caught?

Global Warming Takes a Vacation

By: Mr. Wilson on July 21, 2009
The worst thing the Eco-Nerds ever did was label hypothesized global climate changes as "Global Warming". Why? Because summers like this really screw things up. Sure, the concept of "Global Warming" is global and this summer's cooler-than-average temperatures are a local phenomenon. But have you ever heard the phrase "all politics is local"? It's the same with weather. When it comes to our perception of "Global Warming", most of our opinion is based on what's happening closest to us right now. Heck, that's true of our reactions to most phenomena. I had better stop there. I'm not trying to stir up a war between the green freaks and the Gore haters. I, for one, choose to just sit back and enjoy what has turned out to be a fabulous summer. Thanks, Mother Nature!

Train With Me

By: Mr. Wilson on July 21, 2009
I will attend today's 11:00am training session for NIT volunteers. Will any of you be there? If so, I would be happy to meet you. We could even grab lunch afterward. Let me know!

The Wilsons Are Back. Did You Miss Us?

By: Mr. Wilson on July 20, 2009
The Wilsons are back from our vacation at Fort Robinson -- or "Great Robinson", as Robbie called it -- and surrounding areas. We had a blast. I plan to write up some thoughts later this week. In the mean time, here are some highlights. The view from our cabin: image Saying hi to the horses: image Walking together: image Ready for the Jeep ride: image Family photo on top of a butte: image You want me to climb what? image Sunset rodeo: image Cowboy breakfast: image Straw man: image Playing in the grasses at Toadstool: image The greenest I've ever seen Toadstool: image Robbie attempts to summarize our trip. He was tired and loopy, though, so his review is a little rough around the edges:

Fighting Back…NOT

By: Mr. T on July 17, 2009
Kudos to the woman who successfully fought back lied about against an attacker while on one of the bike trails yesterday. Although I'm not a user of the trails around the Cornhusker and 40th area, it doesn't strike me as being the type of area that an attack would be likely to happen. Especially at 1:30 PM in the afternoon. Then again, how often are these sorts of attacks planned out and executed in a rational manner? Being a heavy user of the trails in other parts of town, I've often wondered what the likelihood is of similar types of dangers. However, besides your occasional drunk or two, I have yet to encounter any "trouble" in our parks and trails system, even the more remote ones like Jamaica North. Anyone else have thoughts or experiences about "danger" at our parks and trails? EDIT: Turns out that the lady who reported being attacked on the trails last week made the story up. Good going dude. You managed to divert police resources where they could have otherwise been applied to read needs in the community, AND you're a racist for (falsely) reporting that it was a black guy who attacked you. Your 15 minutes of fame are over. Go jump in a lake.

Controversy with LFR? No Way!

By: Mr. Wilson on July 15, 2009
Is anybody surprised, even the tiniest bit, that Lincoln Fire and Rescue is entering into a new round of controversy? Nobody? I didn't think so. It seems even a new fire chief isn't enough to keep LFR out of trouble. This time we find out that the latest fire union contract will cost us $300,000 more than expected. How is that possible, since the contract wasn't supposed to cost us any extra? Well first off anybody who bought that claim was being downright silly. You can't increase staffing levels for zero dollars. But getting beyond that, Chief Niles Ford says "We didn’t have accurate data". Ya think? Next we enter the blame game phase. This ought to be fun. Frankly I don't care who is to blame, but I do want to know how $0 turns into $300,000 and I want some accountability. Is that too much to ask?

20 Questions: Mr. Wilson’s Vacation Edition

By: Mr. Wilson on July 14, 2009
It's time for another round of Twenty Questions! Today's topic: The Wilsons are about to go on vacation. Where are we going? More specifically, where will we sleep beginning Wednesday night?. This one is tricky, folks. You will need to be specific, and to do that you will need to do a little research. Don't forget the rules:
  1. The questions should be worded so they generate a yes/no answer.
  2. Each person may ask one question at a time. After your question has been answered, you may ask another one.
  3. 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")
  4. Feel free to "talk amongst yourselves" by indicating that your comment is not an actual guess.

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