Monday, April 30, 2018

Solar Panels Made in Jax and Installed by Local Crew

The title says it all. That's what I want, assuming I have the summer I am planning with work. We often talk about going local when it comes to produce, and there was always some talk of it back in Milwaukee (Harley-Davidson / Miller Brewing / Allen Edmonds / Koss / Master Lock / Generac...). But the South isn't a manufacturing hotbed, and I don't know if there's a commitment to go local when it comes to manufactured goods. In fact, going through the list of top employers, there's barely anything made here that's also for consumers (some business to business stuff). I guess SeaRay boats, but my cousin's husband works for Mercury Marine (Orlando area) and I don't want to own a boat. However, I do want to own solar panels, so when can that happen?

$100+ On Amazon Three Months Running

I really enjoy the idea of constant, recurring income. Just the thought that I might write songs now that will someday  help my wife go shopping at Kohls long after I'm gone makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Like a legacy without having to save for it. But it also feels like any good fortune you might have in this kind of income could easily be jinxed. That's why I have not taken the time to find out how I am currently making $100+ each month with Amazon as an author or associate, and I just hope my ignorance is bliss for months to come.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

What's The Best Abduction Vehicle Name?

Last year, when I was driving back and forth between Kansas City and Jacksonville, everyone was looking for a Nissan Rogue driven by a teacher who went rogue with a student. It was an appropriately named vehicle for an abduction. With the recent possible abduction in a Chevrolet Captiva, which is also appropriately named, I began to wonder which vehicles have the best abduction names.


My own cars are an MKZ, 9-5, and X 1/9. None of these are any good, so don't worry about me. There isn't really a great place to find all makes and models of vehicles in one place online, so I'll do my best to list some vehicles that sound the part, but I'm missing plenty, I am sure. By the way, I absolutely do not endorse or condone abductions of any sort. And the cars listed have nothing to do with actual vehicles used in abductions.

Buick Centurion - Named after a commander in the Roman army, this is probably a decent name for a car in which to abduct someone.
Buick Enclave - I think that's the meaning they were going for.
Buick Rendezvous - Could you imagine a teenager meeting up with his or her teacher in a Buick Rendezvous? Oui, je peux.
Chevrolet Bolt - If you're going to run away with your favorite student, you're going to bolt. 
Chevrolet Cavalier - Someone who is cavalier shows a lack of proper concern, which would make sense
Chevrolet Citation - One definition of citation is a summons to appear in court, but some of the meanings are more positive. If I see some middle-aged guy driving around in a brand-new looking Citation, I get weirded out.
Dodge Stealth - When you abduct someone, you want to be stealthy about it.
Edsel Roundup - I guess.
Ford Escort - If you plan on escorting someone away from home, this car works, if you can get it started.
Ford Explorer - Explore your feelings and the country as you flee.
Ford Probe - Think alien abductions.
Jeep Wrangler - That's kind of the point.
Jeep Renegade - Like the Rogue, it has the feeling of someone who breakin the law.
Mitsubishi Mirage - It may not be stealth, but it's hard to find when you're on the run.
Plymouth Prowler - Probably the best name on the list.


Southern Living List of Bloggers in Jacksonville

It seems that Southern Living Magazine makes a list of top Bloggers to follow. I assume that since most magazines are just blogs with several authors, the fact is that most magazines are no longer really magazines, and authors aren't really journalists. 


It's not as if Southern Living is filled with poor writing. I actually wouldn't know for sure, since I have yet to read it. But let's assume it's like most other magazines, written by stay-at-home moms who are more clever than their counterparts who sell candles or jewelry at parties. 


The list of most important blogs to read more than likely gives a bonus to the top writers for the magazine, not an independent assessment of the best blogs in the South or in Jacksonville. So that's why I'm just mentioning my own blog as a top blog to read from Jacksonville, since I don't have a contract to write with Southern Living or Good Housekeeping or Ladies' Home Journal. Not even Cosmo. 


However, this is a top Jacksonville blog nonetheless. Because they all are. We all are. Anything that's more than just law firm or car ads adds to our community. Unless you're just a commenting troll on Jacksonville news sites. That's sad. Write a blog instead. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Trick Question on Anatomy Test

This is one of those moments when I'm glad I'm not a teacher anymore. If you try to be funny or clever (and you're not careful), then you'll write something like this on a practice test (quoted from First Coast News):
Ursula was angry after her boyfriend broke up with her after having sex. To get revenge, she had sex with his best friend the next day. Ursula had a beautiful baby girl nine months later. Ursula has type O blood, her ex-boyfriend has type AB blood and his best friend is type A blood. If her baby daddy is her ex-boyfriend what could the possible blood type(s) of her baby NOT be.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Number of Firetrucks Responding to a Fire

I know it's a big deal when there's a house on fire, and I can appreciate the desire to move an appropriate amount of resources to the fire in order to fight it and prevent others from occurring. But I have to wonder what constitutes an excessive amount of response. A recent Oakleaf Plantation house fire warranted "18 fire trucks and more than 45 firefighters," according to a local news site. If that's correct, I have to wonder if it's also right.

Free Review of Your Local Jacksonville Product

When you have a local blog, people want to get free advertising on your site. And the good kind, not an honest review from a paying customer. I remember when I worked on a student newspaper in Wisconsin, I'd get free items to to review. I think there was some kind of ethical such and such involved. But this isn't a student newspaper or a real newspaper. You give me something free, I'll use it and mention it. I won't lie, but I will carefully weigh any criticisms, unlike when I pay full price for something.

Not Having to Travel Very Far to go Anywhere

A woman interviewed about the large shopping development going in at the 9-B/I-95 interchange said she was excited about not having to travel very far to go anywhere. The problem is that anywhere, or nowhere, is what's being built.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

JAX GIS Beats Homebuilders In Naming Streets

I'm not even sure if there are street signs up yet in Magnolia Grove near my house, but Jacksonville's GIS map has the street names in case you were wondering. Actually, I just used the GIS maps to help Google Maps add a few other streets, so using it is kind of like going right to the source.

Business Referrals in Jacksonville

I keep seeing planted ads in my Nextdoor email account, and it's annoying. I keep getting Alignable requests from when I lived in Kansas, too, and that's annoying. I don't like needing to figure out which of my websites will provide the best traction for an article, or trying to join the right Meetup group to get new jobs. Don't even mention Linkedin and social media. You probably don't like it, either, but we DO need those business referrals, right?

Confederate Memorial Day and Promposals - The Reasons We Still Read TKMB

To Kill a Mockingbird or NOT To Kill a Mockingbird? That is the question for lots of English teachers across the country, South or North. There are always some parents who want to ban the novel, yet each year I taught the thing, I always had plenty of current examples to go along with the story that took place in the 1930s for Pete's Sake!

Jacksonville Neighborhood Bill of Rights Means Something Or Other

While I don't appreciate the fact that several Jacksonville entities, including my aldermen, ignored emails from me, I can have some solace in the fact that there's a Jacksonville Neighborhood Bill of Rights. Right? Not really. It means that the HOA president can get emails answered, I suppose. But it's really a CITIZEN's Bill of Rights.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dishwasher or Giant Drying Rack

Maybe this is a local Jax or FL thing. Two examples in less than a year make it more than a coincidence, I think.

Neighborhood Ponds--What Do They Do?

I read about the purpose of ponds on Jax's wastewater pages, but I still don't understand completely the pond in my backyard. I reached out to the email address listed, but I have not received a response after a week, so I figured I'd post the letter here. I've found that sometimes government employees spend time searching online rather than reading emails, and they will come across one of my articles and then contact me. If YOU happen to know the answers to my questions, even if you don't work for Jacksonville, Duval, or JEA, feel free to reach out to me. I think a lot of people in the area would like a better understanding of these ponds.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

New Duval Superintendent of Schools Sought, Not That It Matters

I remember when the major Hollywood movies about fixing schools were big: Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, Summer School. Oh, and Dangerous Minds and The Substitute. All stupid. Those weren't realistic, even if they were based on somewhat true stories. And a new superintendent coming in and fixing Duval County Schools isn't realistic, either, but I guess you gotta have one.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review of Aquatics Camp at St. Johns River Base at Echockotee for Boys AND Girls

It's odd there isn't more about this online. The Scout River Base seems to have some reviews of its own, along with some reviews of the Aquatics Camp, but there's not a lot of buzz considering the cool factor associated with an aquatics camp like this for my kids. This review will continue to be updated as we go through the process of signing up and attending the camp. If we like it, then it will be a review that spans more than one year. This is for both boys and girls, Scouts and non-Scouts, though I am not sure how well it's advertised to the general public (and that's totally up to the Scouts to decide).

After Nine Months, Our First Back Yard Squirrels!

After 3/4 of a year, we have finally seen squirrels in our Florida back yard. I have wonder why we have not seen any until now and why we did finally see them in mid-April. After nearly a year of wondering where all the furry-tailed tree rats might be, three of them were hanging out in the trees and on the payset. In fact. one walked right past the patio door and looked in at us. So why now?

JAXEX at Craig - A Broken Noise Abatement System

After the third airplane flew right over my house today, I figured I'd let the folks over at JAXEX know that I know (or thought I knew) that the flight path is not over my house. I studied all kinds of maps before we moved here. Flood zones were important, but on this side of town, I felt like airport noise was just a much of a deal breaker. Supposedly, this wasn't going to happen here, but that third airplane was low enough that the pilot probably saw me give him the finger.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Are Jacksonville Home Buyers Looking For Big, Older Homes?

I was standing in a wonderful house north of Blue Cypress Park when one person in the conversation said that homes like the one we were in were taking off as far as demand and value. I totally believed her, and I think she said it was a realtor who had told her the information. I decided to take a look at recently sold homes to see if the data matched what we seemed to collectively believe in the conversation.

This Blog Can't Wait For HTTPS!

I spent a few minutes today looking at local Jacksonville blogs, and there was a noticeable problem with most of the websites, most of them Wordpress: https. I'm always surprised when I see a new Wordpress theme on a fully-updated website that is not secure, but it's more surprising as Google is saying Zero Hour for ssl is this summer. I think it's just a setting, people.

Jacksonville Influencers Read This

It used to be that good writing might get you noticed. Creative ideas or a new insight had a place. But you can look at Holloywood in order to realize it's more about who you know or who you are than how well you write. Apparently, online writing has become, at least in part, about the influencers, and if you consider yourself to be one of that group from Jax, then read some of my articles and influence away.

Key to Bank Robberies: Basic Transportation

In less than a year, I just saw the third report of a bank robber who left on foot after robbing a Jacksonville bank. I don't know what percentage of bank robbers get caught, but all three of the walking bank robbers got away as of the nightly news report. I wonder why that works.

Happy We're In Jacksonville This Winter, Or Spring

April 18th, 2018 in Wisconsin
Sure, I can say some things about Jacksonville that make people wonder why we moved here. I think the world, and Jacksonville in particular, can be a better place, and I am always willing to offer free advice. However, this winter has not been kind to other regions of the country, and it continued into the spring.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Local Jacksonville Recording Artists, Anyone?

I've been working with a friend from Wisconsin who wants to record songs. I write lyrics, and I think I'm pretty good at it. He's a perfectionist who is busier than he thought he'd be. The result has been one song in almost a year, and he wants to rework that.

Fake Starbucks Coupon is Heartbreaking

Someone created a coupon for a free cup of coffee at Starbucks, but it was fake. When you scan the QR code, the N-word pops up on your phone. Supposedly, it was white supremacists, and it's probably idiotic enough to be their work. The surprising part to me was the reactions I saw on the nightly news.

Solutions to Potential Accidents

Jacksonville has plenty of potential problems on the road, especially the fast surface roads that are treated like mini-expressways. On my side of town, that's Beach, Atlantic, and McCormick. I decided to take one area of concern to me that I know well and suggest some solutions. While I know this has been looked at before and deemed un-fixable, I believe that the city might want to reconsider before someone gets into a major accident for lack of planning, which I would argue happens daily in Jax.

Your Broke-Ass Lincoln Will Never Get Fixed

Shana B says:
I would be more than happy to look into that for you Mr. J, what is your VIN?
Brian J says:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shana B says:
Mr. J, I do see the recall on your vehicle for the airbag inflator. We do not have parts at this time but we are working closely with our suppliers to try to expedite parts to repair the vehicles. You will receive a letter when parts are available instructing you to make an appointment at your dealership.
Brian J says:
OK, national site says there's no recall, And I've been waiting for three years. I guess it will get fixed after the fiery crash.

That's a real interaction between myself and Lincoln. I've been getting recall notices for several years now, and it's probably because I get a new one in each state I move to (two). But it also means that Lincoln is not doing enough. It's supposed to be a higher-end car brand, but those brands don't wait until enough people die before they fix a problem. A real high-end car brand would give me a loaner car until the dealership gets the parts. Or a new car. Something that isn't a potential death trap for three years.

I don't care if this is all Takata's fault. I hope several disgraced Japanese businessmen jumped off tall buildings because of this, but that still doesn't fix my car. Takata is out of business, and some people have gone broke, but that also does not fix my car. 

You know what will fix my car? If enough people die in MKZs, then it will get moved to the front of the airbag list. That's probably what happened with the Ford Ranger and Mazda pickup. But that's not a good reason to get moved to the top of the list. Someone in an MKZ needs to be the first to die in order to get the recall. I told my wife that old, slow Lincoln drivers have probably made them safer, even when there's an airbag disaster. Or the Lincoln airbag failure isn't as catastrophic for some reason. It doesn't matter. If these are all basically similar problems, the same deaths that happened in high-sales cars will eventually creep into lower-sales cars. Even ones driven by old people and my wife. 

My suggestion for any real automaker that wants to show it's more about customer satisfaction and safety than money is to replace my car or get me another car to use. This could come from Ford/Lincoln or a competitor. Or from a local dealership. That would be North Florida Lincoln or Bozard Lincoln. Feel free to offer me a safe car until you fix mine. It's not going to happen. I guess I'll just have to wait until the airbag fails so that I can sue Lincoln for not shifting into high gear to fulfill its contract with me as a customer. 

When I had recall problems with my Samsung washing machine, I made the decision that it would be my last major appliance from Samsung. I think three years is long enough to wait for Lincoln to make this whole airbag thing right. Unless something happens immediately, as in before our family trip this July, this will be the last Lincoln we own. I am sure that other manufacturers screwed up just as much, but I don't own those brands right now.

Even though the NHTSA website gave my car a pass (Ford did not), this is the recall info on the NHTSA website for my car:


January 11, 2018 NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 18V046000
Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode
An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

January 10, 2017 NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 17V024000Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture
An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

May 31, 2016 NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 16V384000Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture
An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

[UPDATE]

I'm going to start documenting all the instances that this airbag situation is affecting my family's life, since I've decided to at least not ride with front passengers in the MKZ.

4-24-18
I did not offer to go with my wife to Ulta. Ulta is not my favorite place by any means, but I normally would have gone.

6-4-18
I avoided using the car about a half dozen times, but it's a nicer car than my Saab, so I guess I chose shrapnel over safety some days. Got a recall notice that offers a loaner at $45 a day. We'll see if anyone is really willing to do this, since automakers have been fighting the idea since it was floated. Text message with chat buddy lady with local Lincoln dealership was worthless. Maybe by forcing the issue and actually asking for a loaner, I'll get on the top of the parts list.

A few hours later, and I already realize that I've been put on top of the marketing list, complete with another form letter email for my collection. But I won't relent on this one. Ford has decided to off $45 a day for me to not be able to sue the company for millions, so I will comply. I just hope I don't have to drive around in a Chrysler 200 or something awful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Local Jax News Reporters Not To Go Bra-less to Support Protesting Teen

While it was never discussed in the news, I thought it might be interesting if local news reporters decided to not wear bras to support (pun intended) a local teen who was sent home from high school for doing the same thing. While the teenager's school dress code did not specifically bar bra-free females, she was told it was distracting. And it was.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MABL Turns 35+ in Jacksonville

Leg meets dry Jax grass
Hey Jacksonville weekend warriors, it might be time to un-retire the cleats one more time. The local MABL is trying to get a 35+ team going this year, and it will hopefully expand after that. Maybe even a league of our own, like Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell. Anyhow, if you're interested, you can find out more on the MABL page.

$1 To Walk on Jax Beach Pier?


My wife's uncle thought it was a scam. A hand-written sign near the entrance to the pier at Jacksonville Beach, charging $1 to walk on the pier. $3 to fish. We paid the money because they are from Wisconsin and don't get a chance to walk on an ocean pier very often. But I still wonder what the deal is, really. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

So This is What Oversized Means in a Home?

I got an update from Zillow and decided to check out a house in my neighborhood. It was the same house as ours, but something seemed different. Exact layout and room sizes, it seemed, but it just felt like a different house somehow (in the photos). Let's see if you can tell (it took my daughter about a half hour).

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Paintballin JAX Style

I saw a report of a paintball fight in Jacksonville that resulted in damaged property and some arrests. One person interviewed claimed it was a new way of avoiding real gun violence. It's about as silly as Sunday Funday down in St. Johns County. But is it bad or wrong or illegal?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jacksonville Law Families

Over many years in Milwaukee, it was Gillick, Murphy, Wicht & Prachthauser. 
And Murphy, Gillick, Wicht & Prachthauser
Maybe Gillick, Murphy, Gillick, Wicht, & Practhauser
Or just Murphy, Gillick & Wicht
Then Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf
And Murphy & Prachthauser
But was it ever Gillick, Murphy, Gillick, Wicht, Graf & Prachthauser?
Or Habush, Habush & Davis
Before Habush, Habush, Davis & Rottier
Then Habush, Habush & Rottier 
Changing every couple of years. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Family Pass To State Parks With An Impossible Passport

OK, I'm not going to research this one entirely, but what was said on the news was so stupid that I needed to write it down. Supposedly, there's a new Passport program for Florida state parks, which sounds cool. You get a stamp for each state park you enter. OK so far. When you visit every one of the 164 state parks, then you get a family annual pass. Say what?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Jax Meth Lab Next To Police Headquarters


I wrote this story called "Deviant" with a main character (a social deviant) who moves in next door to the police headquarters in West Allis, WI. He taps into their router to view whatever he wants online, and he spies on what they're spying on (a hot girl in an apartment nearby). The story was supposed to have some irony. Just like the fact that the latest meth lab in town was right next door to Jacksonville police headquarters. But it doesn't really mean bad policing, though it could.

Annoying Neighbor - The Mighty Muffler

It's 7:45am on a Saturday, and I'm reminded of one type of annoying neighbor: the one who has a loud muffler. I'm already awake, so this isn't about me being woken up, but it's still a neighborhood nuisance. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dude, I Got This Sweet Idea To Get Rich!

Action News Jax finally did something beyond reporting what already happened. That's good news for residents of Jacksonville and very, very bad news for our mayor and everyone else looking to get rich off the sale of JEA. Keep in mind, I'm still cool with selling the utility, as long as we invest the money well. But that's not happening now, since there were too many little hands in the cookie jar.

If I Get Distracted By A Street Panhandler In A Law Firm Shirt, Who Do I Sue?

I understand the marketing. A law firm hands a homeless guy a t-shirt. Probably write it off as a donation. Probably feel good because they're providing clothing to someone, along with free advertising. Telling those of us who are oppressed or downtrodden that a lawyer in a white Maserati has our back. But this is a planted representative of the law firm, given a t-shirt specifically for advertising. OK, not exactly, but I bet some law firms have sued for whatever might distract a driver.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How To Lose At Lowes

Lowe's has been relatively disappointing as a home improvement destination for me, at least when it comes to sales. I know neither Lowe's nor Home Depot ever have sales anywhere near as good as Menard's did, but Lowe's seems to try a little more than HD with sales, which I appreciate. Scoring the sale items has been more hassle than it should be at the Jacksonville Lowe's stores.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Impressions of Magnolia Grove at Kernan and McCormick

I took the kids over to the new subdivision in the area in order to see the trends in new homes and neighborhoods. The basic takeaway is that we're happy to be in Kernan Forest, and this short review might help those of you considering the location.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sumo Easter Celebration at East Pointe Church

I was driving with my family on Kernan on Easter Sunday after a walk in the park when I saw a police cruiser near the East Pointe Church. I figured the church was having some kind of afternoon Easter service and the cops were there for traffic control. The police force is used for church and school egress basically every day along Kernan, so it wasn't a surprise. However, a man wearing what appeared to be a sumo Mawashi was lying face down on a walkway near the church, so it didn't appear to be a normal Easter service. 

Cradle Creek Preserve, Eagles, and an iPhone


If you're looking for a quick hike through wild Florida close to Jacksonville, there are actually plenty of options. Cradle Creek Preserve is one opportunity you might want to try. It's similar to Castaway Island Preserve on the other side of the Intracoastal, just smaller.