Tag Archives: Free Comic Book Day

Political Drama, Comic Books, & a Pho Crawl

We’ve had a couple of busy days catching up with family and friends and then diving headfirts into some political events happening in the Omaha metro. (It was also Berkshire weekend, and as a shareholder I could have attended had I taken the initiative to figure out how. Maybe next year.)


On Thursday, I had lunch down at the Pizza Ranch with Don Bacon. Though he’s technically not my Congressman, I always enjoy hearing updates from him on what’s going on in the House, and he talked ab it about the debt ceiling, military spending, foster kids, and the war in Ukraine. He also listed his favorite candidates for 2024, with Tim Scott at the top of the list (and not Donald Trump), followed by Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. He didn’t mention Vivek Ramaswamy, who I’m hoping to see on Tuesday.

Then that evening, my dad and I drove on down to Gretna for a Sarpy County GOP “open house” at the VFW. What we got instead was some kind of contentious meeting, which had started an hour earlier. Nebraska’s Secretary of State Bob Evnen was slated to speak but didn’t get the chance as there was argument over membership among other things. My dad wound up taking an empty seat netx to Evnen in the back, so I introduced the two to each other during the proceedings. It was still interesting nonetheless, and perhaps next time I should consider becoming a “member” (whatever that entails) so I can take part in this hubbub.


The next day, I rode my bike by Taco Bell for Cinco de Mayo. Then that evening, Vivian and I got to attend the Elephant Remembers dinner once again. We’d gotten a pair of donated tickets from a friend at the Pizza Ranch and got to attend for free, which was nice. Vivian and I got to dress up and run elbows with a handful of elected officials and then have some chicken, potatoes, and zucchini for dinner while hearing from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, among others.

There was a strong undercurrent of drama at the dinner, however. Gov. Jim Pillen talked about “falling and having a hiccup on the vote for 626,” the “heartbeat bill” killed by Merv Riepe during the second cloture vote. Pillen talked about this as Riepe himself sat stone-faced at the dinner, saying “we will get more people in there who are pro-life, and we will have way more than 33 votes.” In other news, Charles Herbster and Julie Slama were also both at the event — the latter having accused the former of sexual assault at a previous Elephant Remembers dinner in 2019 (which Vivian and I also attended). The honoree for the evening was Dan Welch, who had been ousted form his position in the NEGOP the previous summer and joked about his “early retirement.” It was an interesting mix of guests to say the least, and you can read more about it in my political blog.

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Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, so I took the kids to Ground Zero Hobby in Bellevue to get a couple free comic books to take home. I also browsed some of the toys and games and found a D&D starter set that might make a nice birthday present (hopefully Aaron isn’t reading my blog yet).

I then spent the afternoon at my parents’ house with an estate sale agent named Shayne. My parents walked her through a handful of their valuables in the house as they talked a bit about plans eventually to downsize and move into an assisted living facility down the road. Afterward, I had some pizza and wings with my brothers while watching a few more home movies before heading home. Then Vivian made us a belated Cinco de Mayo (or Seis) dinner that evening.


On Sunday, the kids at Wildewood ran a lemonade stand and bake sale in-between services, selling brownies, cookies, and lemon bars (and lemonade) to help fund an Appalachian missions trip for the youth ministy.

Then that afternoon, Vivian and I spent the day in Lincoln with Phil and Jen and a few of their friends stuffing ourselves with pho. Jen had wanted to go on a “pho crawl” in Lincoln for some time, visiting three of the various Vietnamese restaurants along 27th street through the afternoon and comparing their pho with one another. We started at Pho Ngyuenn, always a favorite of mind, and had some chicken pho and spring rolls. We were also introduced to Vietnamese iced coffee, which was quite strong and made with sweetened condensed milk. We moved along to Pho Factory a block north after that, having some steak and meatball pho with a Vietnamese crepe (bánh xèo), which was kind a salad you roll up and shove into your face. We had a quick break at the Asian grocery store next door to stock up on various sauces and other Asian things not available at Aldi.

Then we finished the crawl at the Vung-Tau Pho Grill for some egg rolls and more beef pho. I decided to finish our crawl by literally crawling out of the restaurant afterward, though I was surpised not to be quite as stuffed as I expected. Either rice noodles and broth isn’t as substative as I thought it would be, or I’m just that much of a glutton (probably the latter).

Blast Hardcheese

There seemed to be no segue between winter and summer here in Nebraska, but we are getting plenty of blossoms, including our lilacs, which seem to have made their week-long appearance in our backyard.


It’s also campaign season again, and three Republicans are vying for Deb Fischer’s Senate seat in the GOP Primary: Todd Watson, Jack Heidel, and Dennis Macek. I got to hear all three in a debate last Wednesday, and they have a fairly diverse we range of views. Heidel seems to be a moderate who thinks a single-payer “Medicaid for All” is “inevitable.” Macek is a practicing Buddhist who is running primarily to help stop climate change. Watson seems to be a fiscal conservative in step with Todd Massie and Rand Paul, concerned with the debt and upset that Fischer isn’t holding the line on spending.

It was a very small group of spectators who showed up, so I have a feeling Fischer’s seat is going to be safe on election day May 15. I did tell Watson that I appreciated him pushing back on such things as the budget deficit. Republicans definitely need that.


Then came Cinco de Mayo on Saturday, but I wound up mowing my parents’ lawn and playing Nintendo with Hannah instead.

Then afterward we went to Krypton Comics to see Reb Brown for Free Comic Book Day. He was Captain America in the 70s and played roles in a variety of B-movies, but I’ll always remember him as David Ryder, AKA Slab Bulkhead, Fridge Largemeat, Punt Speedchunk, among a couple dozen others in the MST3K riffed 80s film Space Mutiny. Richard came along to get an autograph, and we chatted with Brown about his experience with Space Mutiny. He seemed bewildered about all the nicknames they came up for him, and he commented on the notorious slow go-carts featured in the movie (and the bored face he made riding on them between takes). He also said the movie was filmed in an old asbestos factory, which he only learned about when he saw other crew members wearing face masks.

Among the other guests were members of the 501st Legion outside, and I was able to coax Hannah into a picture with them before he headed off for ice cream afterward. Then we headed home, and I made up some ceviche for dinner as Aaron helped mommy squeeze some limes.


On Sunday, we headed down to La Vista for the One Sky, One World Kite Festival. It was a beautiful, windy day, and we were able to set our Dollar Tree kite aloft with minimal effort (after figuring where to put the string). Hannah and Aaron took turns holding the spool, and then my parents and Uncle Jonny came by during the candy drop to fly their own rainbow kite. We wanted to get Hannah’s Toy Spike airborne on our little kite, but he was unfortunately too heavy. Mostly, we just watched the kites fly as we hid under umbrellas and repeatedly applied sunscreen to avoid being burned.


Then on Monday, we celebrated August’s birthday over at Nate and Lexi’s house. Nate grilled some hot dogs for dinner, and then we had some of the Jungle Cake that Donna brought over, which featured frosting representations of multiple animals, including the Mills own cat (who we met afterward). We let the kids bounce off their sugar rush on the trampoline out back before heading home.

Next up: Lauritzen Gardens and Mother’s Day! I just hope we don’t have to turn on the air conditioning yet.

Cinco de Mayo


Happy Cinco de Mayo, everybody! Vivian and I had an enjoyable weekend “south of the border” in South Omaha to enjoy a parade and plenty of Mexican food over the weekend. 24th Street was jam-packed with spectators hoping to catch some candy thrown by local banks and community colleges. They had plenty of auto dealers and politicians making the rounds as well — a toddler next to us was accosted by Republicans and Democrats alike and wound up covered in political stickers by the time the parade was done. There were also some “gauchos” at the end of the parade riding a troop of amazing prancing horses. I thought something was seriously wrong with the animals at first until Vivian pointed out several of them were tapping around in sequence. It was quite a sight. We had a long, long walk through the heart of South Omaha sampling Mexican food from various booths and getting plenty of sunburn. There was also plenty of free music for everyone to enjoy as we stood in line for our tacos and chicharrones.

DSCF0021.JPGMay the Fifth this year also happened to be Free Comic Book Day. Vivian and I had celebrated the day two years ago by meeting Margot Kidder at Krypton Comics and getting to see a comic book I edited for Comic Genesis available on the shelf at Dragon’s Lair, which was quite awesome. This year, Krypton Comics brought Lou Ferrigno (best known for his role as The Incredible Hulk on TV back in the 1970s) to Omaha, but there was a huge crowd waiting to get in an hour before the place opened, so we dropped by a smaller comic shop on Leavenworth instead. In addition to an assortment of freebies, I also picked up a copy of Watchmen for 50% off. I’d been meaning to read it for ages.