Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Story of the Week: Corn Crop

Tonight, loyal reader, I launch a new feature.

The news story of the week! Yeah, I'm on TV, and it's probably about time I show some of the folks around the country what I do.

Here's a story combining the two biggest things in Nebraska -- corn and the Cornhuskers.


(ps, for the record, I shot, wrote, recorded, edited, and fronted the piece all by my lonesome)

Friday, October 19, 2007

$180 Burritos

I'm officially *not* a fan of standalone ATM card swipers at restaurants.

What pushed me over the edge? Paying $180.80 for burritos.

Some places, like the Arby's down the street here have the integrated card readers. It's built right into the register. The kid takes the card, swipes it, and gives it back.

But we have some of these joints with two cash registers and they share the ATM reader. So the kid has to manually punch in the amount.

So the girl at the local Mexican joint keyed in $18.08 as $180.80. When I pointed out the error, I asked for a refund, so she reached into the till and started pulling out cash. Woah, woah, woah! I want that on my card. But she couldn't figure out how to do that! Yikes! Fortunately I had a bank branch across the street so I took the cash and immediately deposited it.

But still!

And it happened to me just two weeks ago. The fine young man working at Taco John's couldn't figure out his card reader. This after he was daydreaming and never saw us even come in the place to begin with. It was stellar. Apparently their ATM swiper runs through a phone line. Not even a dedicated line. So he kept yelling in the back "who's on the phone!? I gotta use the thing"

So he kept swiping my card, and swiping my card. I looked at the receipt he gave me, and it was accurate, so I breathed a sigh of relief.

Until my bank statement came and showed two identical charges at that Taco John's. Doh!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do it for the least of these

For those not versed in Nebraska football, let me enlighten you.

On seven or eight Saturdays a year, a football stadium becomes Nebraska's third biggest city. More than 80,000 people squeeze together to be part of something.

Being called "the greatest fans in college football" is surely hyperbole, but volumes of anecdotal evidence would support it.

For a state with no pro sports, where the two biggest cities are 45 minutes away (and on the far eastern side of the state), Husker football is the one thing that brings people from 93 counties together.

So when the team gets crushed by not only USC but Missouri and Oklahoma State there's trouble. There was that win over the something-or-others of Ball State. Yeah, I couldn't even tell you their mascot.

Coach Bill Callahan (pictured) takes the blame, although he's keeping his job. But what about the guy who hired Callahan?

So exit Steve Pederson, the much-reviled Athletic Director. Enter Dr. Tom Osborne, THE coach, THE Congressman, THE Nebraska legend.

I've been thinking. What's the deeper significance of this? One guy got canned, another guy took his job. Happens all the time.

So why will Osborne succeed? And more to the point, what can I learn from it?

Leadership starts at the top.

I firmly believe that. The guy (or gal) in charge sets the tone.

If the guy at the top is a tough as nails, black-tie-on-black-shirt-with-black-blazer wearing Vietnam vet, run for Canada and hope your draft number isn't called. This guy is scary. I worked for him. Fortunately, he's long since moved on, but you get the point. A militaristic regime doesn't work when you're dealing with creative types in the TV biz. People like that don't respond well. And to make matters worse, when they need something, they bark orders too. Ugly. That's what it is. Everyone watches their back, and not their work.

When the boss is soft-spoken, encouraging, and honest, guess what... everyone else will follow suit. They'll quietly deal with problems, help their fellow employee, and go home with a sense of accomplishment. Fortunately, I've had this boss too.

That boss is also Tom Osborne. I'm fortunate to know this man, ever so slight as I do.

Not only is he the soft-spoken, intelligent, educated, encouraging, honest leader, he cares about people. So much he'll give troubled kids (cough cough, Lawrence Phillips, cough) second, third, and fourth chances. He'd rather take the fall for the kid again and again then to send the kid packing, knowing that kid might not live to see another year.

What's my point?

‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Mt. 25:40 NLT).

Servant leadership. The Kingdom Christ ushered in operates this way. Turns the kingdom of this world on end.

That's the message I find on the football field that bears Tom Osborne's name. He puts others first. And now he'll be in charge. Guess what will happen? How radical would it be for others to follow suit! There are superstars, wannabes, and never-weres in this world who owe Osborne, because to him they were all the same. The equipment guy was just as important as the Heisman winner.

I know a few of the 80,000 who fill the stands Saturday afternoon will worship the game, the team, and the feeling it gives them. But I have to believe, a good number are living out Sunday morning too -- standing beside a brother who would stand beside them.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

'Greatest Fans' in football leave early as Huskers suffer worst home

Good thing they match, originally uploaded by echobase_2000.

On Saturday the Huskers suffered their worst home loss since 1958.

Usually when the Huskers play, the state shuts down. It's a great time for non-fans to shop, because they can go to the mall or grocery store without trouble. No one goes out. Everyone's either at the game or someplace watching the game.

Just to give you an example of how bad it's gotten, even the governor took a shot at the team the other day, joking how some long-time state employees should suit up on defense.

It's getting ugly.

Like Republicans bailing on the Bush Administration, fans have actually been leaving early. These are fans who cheer for kickers who send kickoffs into the endzone, and linemen who get pancake blocks. They know football. And they can't even bear to watch this.

The thing that makes me nervous is how people will cope with this. The state takes its identity in part from how well the football team does. Nebraskans can't relate to lovable losers like the Cubs or perennial losers like the NBA's Clippers. People here don't know how to lose. They may have to take a crash course in losing, because it doesn't look like this trend is turning around.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Free track

If you like techno/industrial/rock stuff, check out this Celldweller track "Switchback". It's probably familiar to you from Spider-Man trailers. And now you can download it free. I dig the song. I've had it on my computer from before I even had an iPod and I like it pretty well, so check it out. And if you don't like it, that's cool too. But it's free, so why not give it a shot?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME

Time Magazine has released The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME, which includes several of my favorites, past and present.

* ABC's Wide World of Sports
* American Idol
* Arrested Development
* The Daily Show
* King of the Hill
* Lost
* MTV 1981-1992
* My So-Called Life
* Mystery Science Theater 3000
* The Office [American]
* Pee Wee's Playhouse
* The Price Is Right
* Saturday Night Live
* Seinfeld
* Sesame Street
* The Simpsons
* SpongeBob SquarePants
* SportsCenter
* Star Trek
* The Super Bowl (and the Ads)
* Survivor
* What's My Line?
* The X-Files

It makes me smile to see MST3K on the list. We like it very much!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mute Math

Mute Math, originally uploaded by echobase_2000.

Check out my new Mute Math photos! Just part of a crazy weekend!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Principal for a Day

Principals in today's schools more 'hands on' 10/02/07 - Grand Island Independent: News

"I don't know about being 'sent to the principal's office," said NTV television reporter Steve White at the end of his Principal for a Day experience at Jefferson Elementary.

"The principal is never in the office," White said.

Stay tuned to this blog for details on my principal for a day experience...