Music to My Ears

By: Mr. Wilson on May 28, 2010
Speaking of summer beginning, the Friday Nights Live [PDF] concert series at Southpointe begins tonight. You can bet your biscuits we'll be there tonight, and most every Friday night throughout the summer. We've been going to FNL since Robbie was an infant. There's no good reason to stop now. Come say hi if you're out there. We usually hang out in the vicinity of Pier One. And don't forget that Jazz in June starts on Tuesday. The Darryl White Group kicks off this year's five-week season.

When Does Summer Begin?

By: Mr. Wilson on May 28, 2010
It seems folks have lots of different opinions about when summer begins. When do YOU think summer starts?
  1. Today (the Friday of Memorial Day weekend)
  2. Today after you've finished work/school
  3. Tomorrow (the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend)
  4. Monday (Memorial Day)
  5. June 3 (last day of school for LPS)
  6. June 21
  7. Other
My vote goes for #2. Once you've said adios to work or school and said hello to Memorial Day weekend, that's when summer begins. But that's just me. When do you think summer begins?


By: Mr. Wilson on May 27, 2010
I ran a hill workout this morning at Holmes Lake. The damn dam nearly killed me. There was a lot of gasping and wheezing; I thought my end was near. Adding to my sense of dread were no fewer than twenty-five of these beautiful, but forbidding, birds: Turkey vulture in flight Now I've seen plenty of turkey vultures in Lincoln over the years. You can find them soaring over various parts of town pretty frequently. But the sight of twenty-five of them all hanging out together was pretty cool. Even if they were just waiting for me to die so they could perform a sky burial on my remains. Turkey vultures weren't the only birds on and around the dam this morning. Two hawks tormented a group of starlings, and vice versa. Several male red-winged blackbirds swooped around me. A western meadowlark (Nebraska's state bird!) was convinced I was chasing him, though in reality he was just too dim to land anywhere except directly in front of me. And there were various geese and ducks on and around the lake. All in all the birds were a great distraction from what turned out to be a taxing workout. Do you have any bird stories from around Lincoln this spring?

Curious Kids and the Noisy Lunchroom

By: Mr. Wilson on May 27, 2010
The Lincoln Children's Museum's newest exhibit encourages kids to learn about sound. I'm sure Robbie will have no troubles being noisy. It's a boy's specialty. I remember a significant event in my life that taught me about sound. It also got my name put on the chalkboard at school. I was in third grade at Calvert. It was lunchtime, and recently we had learned about sound in class. As we sat in the gym-slash-lunchroom -- this was prior to the big remodel -- we discovered that the metal lunch tables made great testing grounds for learning about sound. Tapping and banging and experimenting commenced. We were in our own little world, my friends and me. We had no idea how much of a ruckus we were causing. Apparently plenty of other people were loud and crazy that day in the lunchroom, too. The principal was furious, and he let us know it. (I feel awful, I can't remember if Mr. Hobbs or Dr. Rutledge was at Calvert at that time. Even though I clearly remember an angry authority figure yelling at a lunchroom full of kids, I can't remember which authority figure it was. Stupid memory and its crazy tricks.) The principal had written a handful of names on the board in the lunchroom. The names represented the noisiest of the noisy. The people on that list were to tell their teachers, after lunch, that they had been busted. My name was on the list. I was crushed. I never got my name on the board! I had let so many people down. I was the good one! Didn't they know that we were learning? We weren't being naughty, we were being scholarly! We were conducting science! But no. Our explanations went unappreciated. My day was ruined. Believe it or not, having my name put on the board that day didn't ruin my academic career. In fact, that was the only time I ever got my name put on the board. It was the one black mark on my record. The experience was educational for me. I learned that the sounds we generate may be louder and more obnoxious than they appear. That's not a bad lesson to learn on its own, but there's more. I also learned that sometimes, as a parent, I need to take an extra second or two to try to understand why my son is being an obnoxious little hooligan. Maybe he's being naughty. But maybe -- just maybe -- he's learning about the propagation of sound waves through various media, or something equally admirable. If getting my name on the board helps me better appreciate my son's curiosity, I'd say it was worth it.

Lancaster Manor is Back in the News

By: Mr. Wilson on May 27, 2010
The Haymarket Arena vote is finished; the Five Guys buzz has died down; now what? Why, it's the return of Lancaster Manor, of course! Hunter Management was supposed to close on the property by June 1. Surprise surprise, it isn't going to happen. We're going to hang on to Lancaster Manor a bit longer, maybe until mid-October. Sigh. Will this open a whole new round of battles to keep Lancaster Manor in public hands? I guess we'll wait and see. But note that the head of the union that represents some employees said, "I think maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel if Hunter Management can't fiance the sale. ... If they can't get that financing, we question the other parts of the contract." It's likely nothing will change other than the date that Lancaster Manor is turned over. But you never know.

Your Transparency is Awfully Translucent

By: Mr. Wilson on May 26, 2010
The City Council has talked about forming an arena reporting committee to counter "disinformation" and to ensure all arena-related information coming out is "crystal clear", according to Doug Emery. According to Jon Camp, "a reporting committee could ensure transparency and address complaints that arose during the campaign about how some things were handled." That sounds great. But how much transparency would Lincolnites actually perceive if Jon Camp were the Council's representative on said committee, as Mr. Emery has proposed? Jon Camp is Mr. Haymarket. Will that suggest to Lincolnites that his perspective on the committee is a tad skewed? It's hard to argue that Mr. Camp's experience wouldn't be relevant to the committee. He's plenty solid there. But it's that experience that will no doubt taint his contribution, at least in some Lincolnites' mind. Then again I'm jumping the gun a bit. I don't have any idea who else would be on the committee. Maybe it won't be comprised entirely of the usual suspects and maybe its composition really will send a message of transparency. Maybe.

A Little Fill for a Big Hole

By: Mr. Wilson on May 26, 2010
I knew Nebraska's budget situation wasn't looking good. I guess I didn't realize just how ugly it had gotten. Thanks to an anticipated $679 million shortfall (gulp!) Governor Dave Heineman has frozen the pay of non-union state employees. That'll save all of $4.4 million, leaving a mere $674.6 million to go. Yikes. Not surprisingly, commenters went right after the (ahem) true cause of the shortfall: the arena! But believe it or not that was just on KOLN's website. The commenters on the LJS website are being surprisingly sane about this so far. Whodathunkit? Gov. Heineman also wants union employees to accept a pay freeze, but sticking points remain before that will happen. Cue the war of words in the media. I'm sure one of the issues will be whether or not Heineman will promise to avoid layoffs of union personnel. With such a large budget gap there's surely no way the governor could guarantee such a thing. Somebody -- several somebodies, actually -- is getting the axe. So, who can find a spare $675 million in the state's budget?

Oops ... It’s Not Time Yet

By: Mr. Wilson on May 26, 2010
I jumped the gun yesterday: the Board of Education hasn't yet decided to move up the school start date. Now it looks like the start date may get bumped from August 10 to August 15. I can dig that; it would require fall break to be cut down to a three-day weekend, but to me that's a reasonable price to pay in order to finish the semester before Christmas. I wonder, though, if the School Board will get cold feet now that they've delayed their vote. I hope not.

It’s About Time to Adjust School Time

By: Mr. Wilson on May 25, 2010
I don't know about you, but I'm a little excited to see LPS finally adjust the school calendar so the semesters end before Christmas and Memorial Day. That adjustment has been discussed since ... well, pretty much forever. I know I rooted for it back in my school days. Middle school and high school teachers were probably adamant that LPS wait until air conditioning was present in every school. Who wants to be locked up with sweaty teenagers all day? Then again, Robbie probably won't go to LPS so it's somewhat of a moot point for our family. Wilson School will be in session 24/7/365. Poor kid.

Killing Creeping Charlie

By: Mr. Wilson on May 25, 2010
A portion of my yard is being overrun by what I believe to be Creeping Charlie. I've seen a few other yards in my neighborhood with the same problem. Have any of you dealt with this stuff? What have you tried to get rid of it?
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