Thursday, November 30, 2017

Democracy Dies In Darkness at Jacksonville.com

I read a lot of news online. I'm not unique, either. People are always reading their news feeds for weather, traffic, sports, and other interests. I'd like to know the local news, too, especially since I'm trying to write about my experiences here. The problem is that Jacksonville.com wants me to answer a survey of six or fewer questions. Therefore, I won't read the article.

I Wonder Why Alleys Don't Exist in Jax

A street in Jax - No driveway and no alley
I can't say definitively that there are no alleys in Jacksonville, but I spent nearly 15 minutes on Google Maps looking for any sign of these driveway/roads that were a staple in Milwaukee, and I could not find any sign of them. Not in the "urban core," not in San Marco, and not in any other part of town that reminded me of the higher population density areas of my hometown. This quick search led me to wonder whether or not alleys exist at all in the area, but it also got me to wondering about the purpose and existence of alleys or alleyways.

What Does it Mean When an Adult Has "The Mind of a Teen"?

I really hope the police find the woman from the area who has gone missing. What I have wondered about is the description of her as having the mind of a teen. What does that mean, exactly? When I was a teen, I was basically a freshman in high school. I was with my friends when we walked around and THEY made some bad decisions, like stealing hood ornaments off cars. I thought it was kind of goofy and irresponsible, and I suppose I was guilty by association, but that's the extent to which we were incapable of appropriate decision-making.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Note to Jax Drivers: Turn Signals Serve a Purpose

Turn signals, flashers, turn indicators, directionals, signal lamps--whatever you call them, they do serve an actual purpose, so I am pleading with Jacksonville drivers to use your turn signals. The primary purpose of these lights on vehicles is TO LET OTHERS KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING. It's wonderful that you already know where you're going, and that's actually half the battle for me as I get used to such situations as Atlantic Blvd becoming Arlington Expy, which crosses Arlington Rd which crosses Atlantic Blvd. If you're lost, like I am half the time, then I understand, but for those of you who just don't feel like letting the rest of us know your intentions, please reconsider.

Jacksonville Actors and Actresses, Let's Help Each Other

I'm always trying to come up with new ways to sell my stories. I've written two movies, a musical play, and I'm still working on a novel. Maybe I'll never make it big, but I do know that connections help. I've looked into the local Jax writing and film scene on Meetup, and I've come up fairly empty so far, so I figured I'd put this post out there.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

FEMA Going Door to Door After Hurricane in JAX

Someone was complaining on the Nextdoor site about FEMA workers going door to door. She said there's no way FEMA does that. Then some other people weighed in, both for and against. It does not appear anyone bothered to visit the FEMA website, which clearly stated there were Disaster Survivor Teams walking neighborhoods in Jacksonville.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Vocal Minorities And Newscasts

I found this cool book about human psychology that talked about vocal minorities. The authors argued that fringe groups were able to get heard and get changes made because they were basically loud, which made people in the center (politically) believe those groups were an important part of decision-making. Recent events at UNF have once again proved this theory.

Monday, November 20, 2017

How NOT to Handle Customer Complaints: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits

This is a fairly simple customer service story. Just in case any of you are business owners in the Jacksonville area, I wanted to share it with you so that you could see how badly you can look when you decide to worry more about who might be trying to take advantage of you rather than how your customer feels about the experience at your store, as in you taking advantage of him.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Boom Goes The Dynamite: Why Bad Newscasts Are Fun

I'm not going to call out anyone specifically in Jacksonville. I know one newscaster I watch misspeaks more than any mainstream newscaster I've seen, but I grew up in Milwaukee's market, ranked #35, and then moved to KC, ranked #33. Jacksonville just broke into the top 50, so it makes sense that the newscasters would be more like I would have seen while traveling to places like Norfolk, Harrisburg, Grand Rapids, Birmingham, Greensboro, Albuquerque, Louisville, New Orleans, or Memphis. Newscasters who were dynamic and precise went to bigger markets from Milwaukee. It's a minor league kind of thing, with the stars often leaving markets like MKE for Chicago.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Seeing a Broken-Down Penske Truck Reminded Me: Don't Rent From Penske

I recently wrote an article about why renting from Penske cost a lot more in the long run. While Penske's competitors both rented me trucks that were older and had AC units that crapped out on the trip, Penske alone made me pay for a truck that leaked in during a rain storm, which ended up costing a lot more in the long run, especially since the company has ignored complaints.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Emissions Testing Coming Back to Jax

No, I'm kidding. At least I'm pretty sure we're safe around here, but I thought it would be interesting to revisit the program in order to discuss one of the ways Milwaukee is disappointing compared to the other places I've lived because of this one issue: the emissions test.

Birds As Pets In Jax

OK, I don't know if bird ownership is higher in Florida than any other state. One website called that information a premium statistic and wanted me to buy it. No, not that important to me. The only reason I ask is because I just saw one of my neighbors walking by with what appeared to be something in between a parakeet and a parrot on her shoulder.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Will Jacksonville TV and News Be Affected By New FCC Rules?

The new FCC rules relax some rules for local stations. From what I can tell, the two that might affect Jacksonville the most would be these:
Common ownership of two of the top four TV stations in the same market, subject to a “case-by-case” review by the FCC.
and
Common ownership of a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A 37 Year-Old Nazi at UNF Has Some Options

I don't want to antagonize any Nazis, especially those with assault rifles. That's certainly not the intent of this article. I just wanted to remind all prospective college students, especially ones in their 30s, that colleges do offer courses online, and that might be a better fit for you.

I went back for my Masters in my mid-20s. To be honest, college life was not for me at that point. Going out to frat parties, drinking hard liquor from a beer bong, dancing on video in dorm rooms, and generally not remembering weekends had lost the appeal. Don't get me wrong, I met my wife there, so I understand the desire for an older man to be on a college campus, but online dating sites are more efficient today than back then

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Here's Why I Didn't Take My Family To The Fair This Year

Crime and perception of crime are basically the same thing to an outsider. Since I don't know the area near Duval's Fairgrounds, when I hear that shootings are happening within earshot of the fair and fights inside, I don't bring my family. After using Google Streetview and getting a better feel for the area, I now understand that the reason for my apprehension is slightly unfounded, but I'm still not sure for next year, since we all have the right to avoid becoming victims.

Not That I'm Looking For a Life Coach, But What's The Deal With Transform Your Life Today?

My sister is a life coach, so if I needed one, I'd ask her. I built her a life-coaching website that she has yet to use, and I decided to see how the local versions stack up. Well, the FIRST life coach website listed by Google for me has a website, almost.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Is YIMBY Right For JAX?

When it comes to housing and economic development, NIMBY is often the word used. It means Not In My Back Yard, and you've probably felt this way at some point. I was surprised to see that another city that's experiencing growing pains is embracing something called YIMBY, or Yes In My Back Yard.

What Kind of Driving Should We Expect From JSO?

Today at around 11:40am, I saw two Jacksonville Sheriff vehicles either responding to a crime or committing ones, but I'm not really sure how to figure it out. I was on Monument Road, nearly to McCormick, and a JSO vehicle pulled up alongside my car very quickly, nearly hitting the car in the left lane. Then the officer tailgated the driver in front of him until that driver pulled into my lane. I figured the officer was responding to a call, an assumption seemingly confirmed by another JSO vehicle heading west on McCormick towards Monument about two minutes later. The second police car had lights on but not the siren, so maybe both of these cars were responding silently to a break-in or something.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Flag Etiquette Lessons With Lenny

I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem. I think it's stupid to do otherwise. The US Constitution protects the right for a lot of people to do a lot of stupid things. I am a Constitutional Conservative, so I respect the wisdom of our Founders.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said this about flag etiquette, and it got me a bit worried.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Brian Jaeger Named Jacksonville, Florida, Poet Laureate

I know, you're not really supposed to give yourself titles, but it's a way to get your name out there. Like if you were the King of Used Cars something like that. Since no one else seems to have claimed the title of Jacksonville, Florida, Poet Laureate, I'll take it. Thanks.

Niche Websites and Evergreen Content

I keep telling myself that it's going to work out. I know what I'm supposed to do to get noticed online, I know how to get Google to index my articles, and I know how to write. There are glimmers of awesomeness, but nothing has really taken off like I'd hoped. If you're thinking about a website for a business, take some advice from someone who has certainly been there and done that.

Jacksonville Wins Library of the Year -- What's That Mean?

The Florida Library Association has presented Jacksonville's Public Library with the Library of the Year award, so I wanted to see what that meant. Here's the Jax library take on it:
Among more than 800 public, academic, school, and special libraries, Jacksonville Public Library was named Library of the Year this year by the Florida Library Association for demonstrating outstanding service to the community.
I wanted to see who has won this award in the past. Yes, I'm sure it's spread around, but 800 libraries IS a lot of competition, so it's a fairly big deal.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Are We Missing Out On Better Tomorrows?

I was thinking about the last two articles I wrote, and I realized that I needed a puff piece. I needed a "Better Tomorrows" kind of article. That's the saying one of the newscasters (Jerry Taff) in Milwaukee had when I was growing up. He usually said it right after the nightly puff story, and maybe it left all of us with a little more hope.

Ex-Military, PTSD, and Guns

This past week led me to consider who should have guns, assuming we want to limit the ownership to some degree. I assume most of us would agree that a man who killed over two dozen people at a church in Texas should not have had a gun, since his history included anger problems as a result of PTSD. It would appear that Jax has many current and former military residing in the area, so I know this is a topic of concern for the community.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Time to Offend Pit Bull Owners: Get Rid of Your Dogs

I wrote a post on Nextdoor this summer that mentioned my fear of Pit Bulls. I grew up in a big city with some pit bull problems, mostly in suspect neighborhoods. The truth is that I never saw one or visited any homes with one. I just knew I didn't like them because of stories I'd heard from other kids at school or on the news. Scary stories.

Trying to Understand Jacksonville's House Tax Exemptions

So we own a house. We filled out the form to ask for the Homestead Exemptions, which basically seem to reduce the taxable amount of the house by $25,000 to start (as long as it's our primary residence). That's cool. But there are some other exemptions (and taxes) that take a bit more to understand, particularly if you're new to Jax.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Jiffy Lube Atlantic Beach - Google Got This One Wrong

I spent an extra ten minutes in my car just to drive all the way to Atlantic Beach in order to specifically choose the local Jiffy Lube with the best reviews. Guess those reviewers got it wrong.
There was one car in a bay when I got here, twenty minutes ago. I had time to write another article before I even started this one, and so far all that has happened is my car has been moved so that a pickup truck could move in front of me in line.

Can We Build Our Way Out Of Traffic Congestion in Jacksonville?

One of the more interesting college classes I ever took was Urban Planning 141, taught for a semester by Mayor John O. Norquist of Milwaukee. One class that seems to apply to Jacksonville was a debate between the former county supervisor and a train guru, wherein the two argued whether or not you could build your way out of traffic with roads.

Friday, November 3, 2017

I Think "Car Burglar" is an Official Career in Jacksonville

I'm not going to totally criticize our city's army of gainfully employed car burglars too much. I think there are other jobs that are nearly as dishonest, some of which are legal, like mortgage insurance sellers and internet cafe owners. It's just that I always assumed car burglars perhaps had other jobs, as well, and it was more of a part-time gig. (Unlike Cat Burglars, who target wealthy people and seem to do well in films.) However, I get the distinct impression that Car Burglar is  a full-time, third-shift job in Jax.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lovin These Jax Car Ads

I'm not in the market to purchase a car, but I am intrigued by a few of the local car commercials in the Jacksonville area. I think the ads are funny for different reasons, but I wonder how effective they are.

Never Seen The Price is Right?

As I sat way too long at the Atlantic Beach Jiffy Lube location (I only chose it because of decent Google reviews), the TV was tuned to The Price is Right. That's not unusual, since the show has been a mainstay for decades. I used to watch it daily when I was in kindergarten and before. Then I'd catch it over the summer sometimes. And it got popular with college kids as Bob Barker got older. What surprised me today was a woman obviously in her 60s or 70s who said this: I've never seen this show before. It's pretty entertaining.