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Monday, March 28, 2011

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Omaha Press Club

OPC on the 22nd Floor
For February the population-we™  (pop-we) Dinner Club went to the opposite end of the spectrum of eating establishments by choosing the Omaha Press Club for dinner. Each month a member picks a restaurant to dine at this month's was Becky's pick. She chose the Omaha Press Club or better known to its members as "OPC." An elegant restaurant on the 22nd floor of the old First National building in downtown Omaha, Neb., OPC is located at 16th and Dodge Street. To eat here you either have to: be a member, go with a member or get a guest pass. We got a guest pass called "One-Night-Stand" from a friend -- former Omaha Press Club President Wendy Townley.

When you get off the elevator you walk in then climb a few stairs to the maître d' station which is next to a large inviting fireplace. From here you can see out the windows for a high-rise view from three sides of the restaurant. Out the front windows, which face east, you can oversee Omaha's downtown, the Qwest Center and the new TD Ameritrade stadium. To the south is a round bar and through these windows you can see the side of the new First National Bank Tower, from this vantage point you seem to only be half way up! Don't get me wrong the views are very nice; especially, for the downtown holiday lights and the 4th of July fireworks.

OPC decor is also fun with the caricatures on the walls and in the floor, this month they added their 128th caricature. Below is the explanation of the drawings taken from the OPC website:

"The Omaha Press Club’s 'Face on the Barroom Floor' honors newsmakers who have had an impact on the community. The caricatures are drawn by artist Jim Horan who worked for the Omaha World-Herald when he began drawing the 'Faces' in 1971. The drawings are unveiled during a roast and toast of the honoree that is open to the public. They are then placed on the floor to be walked on and admired until they are framed and join the other newsmaker caricatures on the club’s walls. No other press club has anything like the 'Faces on the Barroom Floor.'"

We made reservations for 12. They seated us in a room off of the entrance. One side of the table was along the glass and protruded out towards the door. The tables had nice white linen and comfortable seats on wheels. Our waiter was cool, he joked with us often, and was very attentive to our needs. The menu had gourmet meals for fine dining along with a couple lesser entree’s. Again I ordered a steak, the filet mignon ($28). It came with whipped potatoes and asparagus, which were delicious. The steak was a good size (for that type of place) but I asked for medium and came out well, it was not pink at all. It was good but obviously the steak could have been better, at least for me.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives OPC: 4.16 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor - 4.8

Cleanliness - 4.6

Wait Staff - 4.4

Menu - 4.2

Food Presentation - 4.4

Food Portions - 3.4

Food Taste - 4.2

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) - 3.2

Noise Level - 4.2

Overall Experience - 4.2

What other Dinner Club Members had to say:

"Rack of Lamb had only two bones. Should have been about five. It wasn't just a little small, it was a lot small. Everyone else's looked pretty good though."
- Rick

 "Stuffed Chicken Breast - delightful experience." - Sue

"I had the shrimp scampi with pasta.
The shrimp was succulent and cooked to perfection. I especially liked that it didn't come on skewers and that the pasta was cut, which made it easier to eat. The portion size was huge. Dueling pianos in the background and a very friendly and attentive hostess and wait staff, made for a very memorable dinner club night out. Kudos to OPC!" - Becky

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you’ve been to the Omaha Press Club leave us a comment and tell us what you thought? If you want to experience the OPC for yourself visit and click on "Visit the Club" for a One-Night-Stand visitor's pass.

Want to do this yourself? To review how to start your own dinner club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends’ tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.
Omaha Press Club on Urbanspoon
-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring has Sprung -- Get Out There and Enjoy the Sheer Wonder!

Are you filled with wonder? I know that we often want to recapture the wonder that we knew as a small child when we believed in fairies and mythical holiday characters.

Babies and children help us to see the delight that surrounds us. When little ones visit, they are sure to see any toys or objects that can be used as toys. Magnets are for moving on the fridge, car banks with wheels are to be lined up and set in motion. We get to an age when we don’t point to the sky when there is an airplane or bird in motion in awe.

For children the world may be more vivid and may be like the infatuation stage of love when everything seems a little brighter or sweeter. Babies at a certain age can tell the difference between primates that look the same to adults and may see so many details that are invisible to us. And yet, it is the human face that is of most interest to the baby. And adults are often drawn to children in tender and nurturing ways. I marvel at children and babies and how they learn at a phenomenal rate. Watching my niece when she was a toddler belt out a song in mainly baby gibberish is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen on the planet.

As I am a more auditory person and often in my thoughts, I worry that I can’t appreciate the beauty of the world of an emotional level like others that I know. Also, I worry the time that I spend in front of a computer screen for work and leisure and time in front of a television will further dull my ability to take in vistas. I sometimes rely on others to label my world for me.

A white clematis vine
I have heard people suggest that you take a very slow walk to take in the details that you never noticed. You may even discover a business that you didn’t know was there among a business district. In years gone by, I loved to take walks with my mom who is a woman whose artistic side comes out when she is able to work in flower gardens. She notices things that I am so oblivious to in the neighborhood. She is my zoom lens. There was Clematis with a striking purple flower on our walk that she remarked about. Eventually, we replaced our white flowering Clematis with a purple flower with the “pop factor” right in our own yard. Seeing her eyes light up as she beholds the rare siting in my area of a humming bird outside or when looking out a window is priceless. Watching her giddiness over her grandchildren heightens my experiences with them.

A mental exercise that I do to help me see the world is to write about my surroundings in my view in my head. As I tap into my verbal side, I study the scene more and become more aware of my surroundings.   

I think there is much to wonder about in this world. I have a great deal of interest in psychology and science and am often thinking about studies that have been done or that I think would be good to perform. Yes, there is much to wonder about regarding people at every stage in the life span from birth to the most elderly among us. There is so much to learn about the intricacies of this Earth and even down to the cells in our body. After I studied Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Mechanisms at the university, I learned how very complex the speech process is that uses the same infrastructure for breathing and eating. In other courses, I would learn theories about how our mind processes language. The fact that we can communicate at all and have any level of understanding with another is so incredible when you think about it. At what seems like lightning speed, we can listen to someone and respond to them and continue the turn taking process. I have only scratched the surface of what I could possibly learn on this planet.

But I think there are times when I need to just shut down my brain and take in the world. Spring is coming with the potential of spring showers that allow the spring flowers to grow and bloom and the grass to turn a deep green. There will be birds chirping and bees humming and it would be such a shame not to take note of their music. With the warmth of the sun on my face on blue sky day, I just want to have an emotional connection with my surroundings as I have a sense of sheer wonder wash over me and I feel an oneness with God, nature, my fellow man, and all that is good.
– population-weblog post by Barb Bohan
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet Leprechaun Extraordinaire & population-we™ March Kudos Recipient -- Bill Shea

Happy St. Patrick's Day population-we™ readers! If leprechauns really did exist many would agree that our March population-we™ Kudos Recipient would be one. Not one person that I've met in all my years alludes the Irish ways more than William “Bill” F. Shea. Don't be fooled he wears more than just a leprechaun's hat -- aviator, academic, artist, author, lecturer, father, and grandfather.

Shea, will celebrate his 83rd St. Patrick’s Day this week. He was born from Irish lineage in New York and grew up in Lawrence, Mass., where he and everyone else were expected to spend their entire life working in a textile mill. However, having seen his first airplane at age 4, he knew what he wanted to do more than anything. When he turned 17 he worked in the mill until he earned enough money for flying lessons.

Today, Shea is certified as a commercial and instrument pilot and flight instructor and is an active flyer. He has flown more than 8,500 hours and that time in the air has provided plenty of inspiration. Shea doesn't possess a pot of gold but does share his Irish sayings and humor without a moment’s notice all year round.

Throughout his life The Shea Family has moved from one end of the U.S. to the other with their five children in tow. With his wife Carol they've moved from New York, a stop in North Dakota and Nebraska, to their current residence in California. During his stop in Nebraska is where our path’s crossed. He was the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Aviation Institute’s (UAI) first director. During his tenure, Shea, established a foundation for the development of the undergraduate degree program. He still remains active with UNO’s institute, where he continues to lecture and consult.

A couple year’s back, he appeared in my office sporting a dapper green sports jacket, as well as greeting me with an Irish hello. I assisted him in getting a news release out about his recent lectures to UNO classes. After we completed the news release he would soon fly back to California; however, not without leaving me with an Irish goodbye. Shea said, “May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.” When Shea is not lecturing or visiting his grandchildren, he is spending time creating colorful paintings. I’m lucky enough to possess one of his original works, which I display with pride in my home office.

To commemorate his work at UNO, an award was named in his honor. The William F. Shea Award recognizes Shea’s contributions as the Institutes founding director. For making such a profound difference in the lives of generations of UNO students and faculty contributions to the Institute’s success are recognized each year.

Someone who has lived a life like Shea would not be a surprise to anyone that he would write a memoir. Aviation Memoir is his diary, a logbook of his experiences in the world of aviation, and a few other fields. Aviation Memoir is available for purchase at Regarding his memoir, Shea said, “My book reflects my love for aviation, education and government. Since graduating from University of New Hampshire, I have been a high school teacher, pilot, jazz musician, college administrator, chief of the California Aeronautics Division, and a presidential appointee as FAA Associate Administrator for Airports in the United States, including overseeing Dulles International and Reagan airports.”

It is very appropriate to note that the meaning of his name “Shea” is Irish for hawk. For most of his adult life he has had a bird's eye view. His life has spanned the U.S. and his career has ranged from working in a textile mill working as an college administrator to serving as the associate administrator of the FAA for airports. But most importantly, he hasn’t lost sight of his Irish lineage. He wrote in a letter recently to me: "May good luck be with you, wherever you go, and your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow."

Bravo to our March population-we™ Kudos Recipient -- Bill Shea! The population-we™ blog salutes you for your 24-7 “pop-we” Irish attitude!

Bill Shea

- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Take the population-we™ Facebook Voyeur Challenge

This post is my intervention -- I'm a voyeur. Places I’ve always enjoyed watching people includes shopping malls and sporting events. My all-time favorite experiences include watching: a Louisiana State University (LSU) baseball fan at a 1991 College World Series game and a super fan at a recent University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) hockey series at Qwest Center Omaha.

Anyone who has ever attended the Omaha College World Series (CWS) knows LSU fans are fun to be around. The enthusiasm and Mardi Gras beads they bring to the game are a real treat. LSU fans come year-after-year, even if their team isn’t in the CWS. At a CWS game in 1991, a LSU fan sneaked in a bottle of Jack Daniels to the cheap seats (it was 98 degrees weather). Now, I don’t condone this behavior; however, the progression of this LSU fan and people around her was like watching a British comedy unfold. Beach ball mania, heckling the right fielder and our section starting the wave were among the debauchery. It was truly the most entertaining crowd interaction I’ve ever witnessed until last month.

While attending UNO’s Feb. 11 sell-out ice hockey game against the University of Wisconsin Badgers my friends and I witnessed the most memorable hockey fan ever. The game was played in front of a crowd of 15,137 at Qwest Center Omaha. We scored some free tickets from our bank and invited some friends along. Sitting in the cheap seats we encountered a very enthusiastic Maverick hockey fan who by the end of the evening we would deem – ‘THE SUPERFAN.’ He was very vocal throughout the three periods. Besides his apparent feelings for a particular Badgers' player -- he'd boo every time this player got the puck -- his fandom was tested. As the periods unfolded, he would more aggressively try to get the college students sitting in his row to put down their Blackberry's and iPhone's and cheer for the Mavs. Eventually everyone was on their feet cheering the Mavs to a 4-1 victory against the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers. My girlfriends and I were so intrigued with the Maverick fan that we refused to move to sit with some other friends in fear we’d miss THE SUPERFAN in action. 

Recently, at my day job we moved and I now have an office with a view. Not much time to really peer out the window; since, I’m always on deadline but on occasion I’m able to take a snippet of something to chuckle or gawk at.

Things I’ve encountered looking outside my office window:

- A kid walking backwards;

- A near miss of a bunny rabbit crossing Dodge Street;

- An irate person attempting to key another person’s car; and

- A pack of turkeys stopping rush-hour traffic.

Finally, the last voyeuristic type of activity, I partake in is my social media perusal. Social media voyeurs like me; however, are harder to detect. No one has any idea we have visited his or her Facebook page. We don’t leave comments but know of your recent activities and pictures. Recently, I had a very awkward moment while talking with a Facebook friend. He knowingly talked about everything I’ve posted even though he had never-ever hit 'Like' or commented on any of my status updates or pictures. I know this has happened to some of you. This occurrence, ultimately caused today's voyeur intervention, and is why we collectively decided on this challenge.

So, population-we™ staffers are taking a page from Jimmy Kimmel's Nov. 17 Facebook Challenge. Instead of unfriending people, we invite people to take the population-we™ Facebook Voyeur Challenge. After all it is called Social Networking. So, if you’re up for the challenge make an attempt from here after in social media to engage and befriend your fellow person. If visiting a friend’s Facebook page try to leave a comment or at least 'Like' a picture or post. Also, if on a blog leave a comment. Let them know you care because after all -- it’s not about me it’s about us and we -- even in the virtual world.
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
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