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Monday, September 26, 2011

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews The Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill

"The Matt" located in downtown Omaha
This month population-we™ Dinner Club member Caryn decided we should rest at the The Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill (, located at 501 N. 13th Street in downtown Omaha, NE. Known by locals as --“The Matt” -- it is just west of the Century Link Center (formerly the Qwest Center). The Matt is in an old brick building, it looks like an old warehouse.

A lobster game?
As you enter the establishment, patrons walk down a ramp into a larger room. As you look around it looks like a sports bar with several televisions hanging all around. A unique and interesting feature is located by the ramp that you walk down. Everyone has seen the claw games where you try to retrieve stuffed animals and other toys by maneuvering a crane with a joy stick. Here they have a claw machine but it is filled with lobsters!! If you are able to catch one they will cook it up for you.

This night I decided to have the hot roast beef sandwich with rustic mashed potatoes and gravy. It was served as expected. The meal came with a slice of Texas toast topped with a pile of roast beef, a mound of mashed potatoes–both covered with tasty gravy. I thought the dish was very good.

A couple other members decided to get the firecracker shrimp. This dish is an appetizer but they thought it sounded delicious. It is fried shrimp, tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce, which does have a nice kick to it...very good.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives The Mattress Factory: 5.65 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 6

Cleanliness – 6

Wait Staff – 6.17

Menu – 5.33

Food Presentation – 5.67

Food Portions – 5.67

Food Taste – 6

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 5.67

Noise Level – 4.5

Overall Experience – 5.5

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you’ve been to the Mattress Factory leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

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.
The Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Celebrate Diversity & Join the Conversation at the 7th Annual Omaha Table Talk

Omaha Table Talk (OTT) kicks off its seventh year in the Metro Area. Omaha Table Talk is a program that brings diverse racial and ethnic groups together over dinner to talk about racial issues. Each year since its beginning in 2004, the numbers have increased for this signature OTT event; where participants have come together to respond to a series of questions, bring new ideas and share experiences of racial diversity.

Omaha Table Talk is a program housed in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). It's designed to build social capital and improve race relations in the community with the help of UNO students, faculty and staff.

OTT Executive Director A’Jamal Byndon said, “I am pleased with the community support and ability of people to engage others in conversations about race and diversity. In this day and age with all of the media attention to such topics many more are starting to see the importance of developing social capital with others who they encounter in various aspects of their lives.”

population-we™ supports this upcoming event sponsored by Omaha Table Talk - where everyone has a seat at the table. The format of the event is for participants to have a dinner throughout various parts of the city, with strangers for the most part and talk about significant issues of the day dealing with race and diversity. The dinners are held at the same time on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6:15 to 9 p.m.

“We are seeking to have at least 700 participants enjoying Omaha Table Talk at various community sites, churches, and homes this year. Last year there were about 600 participants at 52 homes and community sites in the area,” Byndon said.

At each location there will be a facilitator and list of questions that participants can select as to begin the conversations. Each site will have anywhere from 8-12 participants. The structure affords each person with the opportunity to share and listen to other points of view.

Drs. B.J. and Christine Reed opened their Midtown home for a past Omaha Table Talk. “Omaha Table Talk provides an invaluable experience where people to talk frankly about race in a safe environment and where differences can be shared and individuals can gain understanding and perspective of diverse views,” said B.J. Reed, UNO's Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs and Executive Associate to the Chancellor. “For many it can be a life changing event.”

There is no cost to the participants except the costs for the hosts in providing the meals. OTT organizers ask participants to arrive at the dinners with an open mind and a willingness to develop social capital with others in the community. There have been Omaha Table Talk events in Columbus, Grand Island and this year organizers will be hosting an Omaha Table Talk event in Lincoln.

“This is a one-time event for most participants and we encourage them to continue the conversations after the OTT event. Last year students at the various colleges and universities in the city helped to increase our number of participants,” Byndon said.

To register for OTT go to the website and sign up. The deadline for registration is Monday, Oct. 3rd. Cox is also one of the supporting organizations that helped with the underwriting of OTT.

For more information, contact A’Jamal Byndon at (402) 561.7494 or If you don’t have a computer or access to email contact the OTT office and a staff member can complete the form over the phone.

This is a call-to-action for population-we™ readers to get out and learn about others. Join in a discussion at a local coffee shop, an online forum or at an event like this year’s Oct. 20th Omaha Table Talk.
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Applying the Scriptures Can Help When There is Bullying at School, Home, Work or in Cyberspace

How we respond to or treat a bully may determine whether bullying behavior ceases or escalates. I learned this insight and have had my understanding of bullying enlarged as I have been taking an online course by Israel “Izzy” Kalman called, Bullying: The Golden Rule Solution. What I liked about the course is that it seemed to care about both the victim and the perpetrator of bullying. Kalman is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and Director of Bullies to Buddies, Inc. His website,, has free manuals that teach kids and schools to prevent bullying. In addition to creating/authoring books, materials and programs for dealing with bullying psychologically, he gives seminars to mental health professionals and educators throughout the nation under the auspices of Cross Country Education. (see web site)

The prevailing theme of the course–treating a bully as you would want to be treated–may seem the thoughts of some wishful thinker who believes in a Utopian society that can never exist. However, Kalman is forthright in stating that ours is an imperfect world. He is not a man with rose-colored glasses but someone who understands the suffering of victims of bullying and is dedicated to providing them with the tools that have a successful track record in stopping bullying.

Izzy Kalman (at right) leading a Bullies to Buddies Session
In the aftermath of Columbine schools have been implementing anti-bullying programs in the effort to prevent future tragedies. Kalman questioned the popular anti-bullying programs as they are contrary to what he had learned in the fields of psychology, counseling, and science. While he acknowledges that these programs are all motivated by good intentions, they have unintended negative consequences. He claims, for instance, that instructing students to inform the authorities on bullies, and punishing bullies, are actions that are likely to cause more harm than good.

When schools punish students for bullying, they are likely to become resentful and vengeful towards their victims. They will also be angry with their teachers and administrators. Thus, they are likely to engage in more aggressive behavior and to recruit friends against the victims, not only in school but also in Cyberspace. Behaviors that cause objective harm to bodies or property should be considered criminal and should be punished. However, most bullying acts do not fall into the category of criminal behavior. According to Kalman, only a small percentage of alleged bullies are dangerous and past behavior is a good predictor of how dangerous they are likely to be in the future. He claims that his approach, while it is based on psychological principles taught by all major schools of psychology, gains its effectiveness through the use of role-playing techniques that make the problem and the solution obvious to the client.

Kalman knows that many bullied students become depressed and even suicidal. Several months ago, he informed me, a school nurse contacted him about a 10 year-old bullied boy who was suicidal. The boy was to be hospitalized for a week’s observation in a psychiatric ward. Kalman warned the nurse that this would add insult to injury: not only was the boy suffering humiliation at the hands of other students, he would feel even worse to then be treated like a psychiatric case. He offered free therapy by phone if the parents would consent. The following day, Kalman had a session with the boy and he quickly succeeding in stopping the other students from bullying him. He returned to being a happy and successful student again and there have been no relapses. On the website, I read a lengthy testimonial by a mother whose teen aged son was suicidal, and all the efforts by the school and by private therapists to help him failed. She shared the free materials on the site with her son and, to her amazement, the bullying instantly ceased.

Kalman worked with a fourth grader who had stopped attending school because the “Queen Bee” in the class had turned the rest of the students against her. He taught her techniques and she in turn taught others in the class. The “Queen B” lost her power and the class atmosphere dramatically improved.

The practices in this program can also help in the home and workplace. As I watched filmed roleplays of family members fighting, it brought back memories of fighting with my siblings. I have heard my mom say that there are times when she would see us fighting and would stay out of it because she believed that we needed to work it out. On an intuitive level, she seemed to grasp how important it is for children to gain the types of emotional intelligence and social skills that the Bullies to Buddies program espouses.

Except when there is danger of real physical harm, Kalman advises against teachers or parent intervention other than to remind students that fighting is not allowed on school grounds, or to help them resolve the problem directly with each other. He discourages taking sides and being the judge and jury, as this escalates hostilities. In responding to children who report being called names, or being hit or pushed without being hurt, Kalman instructs adults to use two “magic responses” that quickly defuse the situation and simultaneously teach the kids that the incident is nothing to get upset about. Children gain self-esteem and self-confidence when they can work out their problems without teacher intervention.

While Kalman does not claim that his approach will turn everyone’s bully into a close friend, the important thing is for kids to stop suffering at the hands of other children and to become more respected among their peers. If the bullies go on to become true buddies to their former victims, that is an added bonus. Furthermore, the skills learned in the program can enhance relationships throughout life and build the foundation of real friendship.
– population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
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Monday, September 5, 2011

pop-we Challenges Readers to Join the 9/11 Tribute Movement

On September 11, 2001, most U.S. citizens remember where they were the moment they heard about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. I was in my buddy Tim Fitzgerald’s office at work when we both heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the towers. We initially thought it was just a single engine plane accident -- not a commuter airplane. Soon we both like everyone else throughout the world would realize the travesty that was playing out before our eyes. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks population-we™ will team up with My Good Deed. I [we] will join the 9/11 tribute movement and show our support by blogging about it.

I think those acts changed our nation. Two Americans, David Paine and Jay Winuk, embraced this wave of change and worked towards finding a long-term way to pay tribute to 9/11 victims and survivors. Winuk took the loss of his brother, Glenn Winuk, a volunteer EMT (emergency medical technician) in the attack and turned it into an entrepreneur venture. Today Paine is president and Winuk is vice president of My Good Deed. Through their nonprofit both were responsible for the legislation that officially made September 11 a national day of service and remembrance.

Explaining how their nonprofit came to fruition Winuk, co-founder and vice president of My Good Deed, said, “My friend David Paine called me with an idea soon after the carnage. Let's make 9/11 a national day of service. Let's turn the tables, and make 9/11 about acts of kindness and charity and volunteerism in tribute to those who were killed. It sounded just right to me, and to each and every 9/11 family member we canvassed about it."

Following the example of Paine and Winuk, we are putting a call-to-action out to our population-we™ readers throughout the world to do a good deed, charitable activity or other plans, to honor the 9/11 victims, survivors and those who rose in service in response to the attacks.

Join population-we™ on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Remember by doing one of the following:
  • Post a tribute at;
  • Donate your time; or
  • Support a cause.
“Last year, people from all 50 states and 165 nations and territories visited our website, their charitable actions a great and productive tribute, indeed, to the almost 3,000 souls from 93 nations who perished on 9/11,” Winuk said.

Be heroic and join population-we™ and My Good Deed this September 11. Find something to do right in your own neighborhood wherever you might be in the world by visiting, or To make a difference this 10th anniversary, utter or live these words: “I [we] will join the 9/11 tribute movement.”
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
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