Natterings of a Naive Lib

Some weeks I don’t have anything to cover in this column, which gives me a chance to clean out the drawers of tiny scraps of paper that I write tiny little ideas on. Hence, this week’s column is a compilation of those tiny scraps of ideas.

But first, I do get letters (please send more - tim.mcmahan@gmail.com), all of which I reply to. I got a couple recently responding to my column about radio station Magic 1490. One was a nice “ain’t that the truth” email, the other took offense at my description of 1110 KFAB as a “right-wing hate-spewing Rush Limbaugh-powered America-Love-It-Or-Leave-It” station. The writer had a problem with the Rush Limbaugh part.

“If you are associating Rush with hate-spewing, you are probably just a naive lib who has never even listened to Rush but just regurgitates the party line that he is hateful and an all around bad person.” And so on.

My reply (after thanking him for the feedback) was that hate-spewing is just another tool in the toolbox used by popular political commentators, “whether it’s Rush, O’Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, Maddow, Hayes, Sharpton, Jon Stewart, Olbermann, Colbert, etc. I see these people as entertainers entertaining their respective base, nothing more. I certainly don’t take what they say seriously or without consideration of their obvious agendas.”

I didn’t tell him that I agreed with his “naive lib” jab.

Speaking of politics, it was suggested that I write something about Lee Terry’s recent “dang straight” comments about accepting a paycheck during the government shut-down, and then (presumably after he noticed that it pissed people off) his subsequent apology and backtracking.

There is a school of thought that Terry’s comments will cost him the next election, when he’ll be challenged by Omaha’s City Councilman Pete Festersen. While I like Pete and would love to see him succeed in his political career, I can say with the utmost certainty there’s no way the proud people of the fighting Second District are going to vote Terry out of office. And for those of you who think I’m full of poo-poo, prove me wrong.

One last political thought: The fine folks at Merriam-Webster define the term “red herring” as “something that distracts attention from the real issues.” The much ballyhooed technical problems with the healthcare.gov website is a prime example of a red herring. If the GOP wants to focus its attention on website glitches instead of what its members perceive are the fundamental problems with the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), then by all means, be my guest. Because websites can (and will) be fixed. That’s the easy part.

By the way, I believe that the ability to receive basic, affordable healthcare is a fundamental human right. But then again, I’m a naive lib.

Moving on to things less controversial, The Reader’s production editor, Eric, suggested that I mention the 10th Annual Goth Ball being held at the Ralston Arena Oct. 26 featuring Omaha punk band Digital Leather. I asked Eric if “goths” still exist. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen those sulking, dressed-all-in-black youth hanging out in the Old Market.

Eric said goth ruled the runways during New York Fashion Week and that “the Old Market is for “old f***ers like us, not cool goth kids.”

He may be right. But the fact that this is the “10th annual event” might prove the goth concept is woefully outdated. Goth has been replaced by whatever Stefon (Bill Hader’s Saturday Night Live character) is. That’s modern goth. Maybe Eric should rename the event “The Stefon Ball”... Get your tickets now.

Speaking of tickets, Teresa and I took my dad to see The Book of Mormon last Sunday afternoon. I thought it was nothing less than awesome. Dad’s review: “Meh.” Perhaps his opinion was skewed because our seats were in the back row of the very top gallery of the Orpheum Theater, presumably right next to Bob Uecker’s.

I bought what I thought were front-row balcony seats. The error, of course, was all mine. Or was it? Upon further review, the ticketomaha.com website doesn’t indicate where the stage lies on its online seating chart. One assumes when looking at the chart one is looking forward, toward the stage, but one would be wrong. My only vindication -- the people sitting next to us Sunday made the same mistake. Sorry, Dad.

Finally, last weekend Teresa and I decided to try Avoli Osteria, the new Italian restaurant  in the old Trovato’s space at 5013 Underwood Ave. run by chef Dario Schicke, who also runs Dario’s Brasserie right up the street. Despite being a Friday night and not having reservations, we got two fantastic seats at the marble-top bar. I ordered the Bolognese Bianco -- a pork and veal ragu of imported rigatoni topped with toasted hazelnuts and pecorino romano. It was nothing less than sublime, as was the entire dining experience.

All this took place, of course, after spending what seemed like forever (but was probably only five minutes) driving around the recently refurbished, repaved and redesigned streets of Dundee looking for a place to park, and therein lies what could become a problem.

The two blocks between 49th and 51st streets on Underwood are now the home of some of the city’s best restaurants, including The French Bulldog, Pitch, Mark’s and the two aforementioned Dario eateries, in addition to Blue Line Coffee, eCreamery and the ever-popular Dundee Dell. Add the new, improved streetscape (made downright cinematic by the removal of all overhead power lines) and you’ve got yourself what will become one of Omaha’s biggest draws. That is if you can find a place to park.

Unlike Benson’s emerging bar district, which saw the recent opening of the Larkin’s Parkin’ parking garage, there is no obvious parking solution in Dundee except to drive around and pray to the parking faerie that a space opens somewhere within walking distance of your destination.

Teresa says it’s not a problem at all, that we’ve all become spoiled, lazy whiners who could do with a bit more exercise. Maybe she’s right. But let’s see if she’s singing the same tune this winter when she’s stomping through drifts in sub-zero weather.

Over The Edge is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

posted at 04:15 pm
on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

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