Monday, December 9

Three Decades and Then No Pet Headstone

I know it kind of seems like news that a man who buried his pet 30 years ago could not find the headstone in a local pet cemetery. It's almost like the news stories about underrepresented minority cemeteries or poorly maintained veteran gravestones. Almost. It's a poodle that dies 30 years ago. If the owner had visited the grave each year for the past three decades, the headstone would not be lost. 

Friday, December 6

Lyft Driver Jax Snap Review

2008 Saab 9-3 Lyft Jax
For reasons beyond my control, my first weekend of driving with Lyft resulted in an hour of work and two rides. From these two rides, I can see the potential for good and bad when it comes to rideshare driving with Lyft or Uber.

Thursday, November 7

Florida Teacher Pass Guide

Several attractions offer free admission to Florida teachers. However, many of requirements are slightly different, so I thought I'd write them down so that I can remember (as a teacher) how to sign up for my free pass.

Keep in mind that your kids (and non-teacher spouse) will still cost you money at all these locations.

Tuesday, October 1

Male Fashion and Lifetstyle: Cute Kids at the Gun Show

cute kid at a gun show
I've always heard that women dig a man with kids. Since I was happily married when I had kids, I guess I wouldn't know. If you happen to be an uncle in search of a special lady, however, I'd recommend babysitting in order to show off the kids at a gun show.

Wednesday, September 4

Guide to Running a Hurricane Newscast

jax news coverage of hurricane dorian
Before I begin this article, I want to state that I am grateful that Hurricane Dorian missed Jacksonville, and I am also very aware that the storm's destruction was catastrophic for some. This article is not about trivializing a hurricane. It's more about trying to fill air time when the hurricane shows up and is just a wind storm in your area.

The only torture worse than waiting for a hurricane to hit is watching hours of news leading up to the event. And then hours of news people trying to make a small, off-shore hurricane seem like something else in order to keep viewers tuned in. The news channels know a lot of people are watching, so the show must go on, and on, and on. The stars are the weather people, but you need the anchors to provide words such as "devastating" to describe storm potential, as well as general assignment reporters stationed at important spots in order to monitor that which needs no actual monitoring.

Tuesday, September 3

New-to-Florida Guide to Pressure Washers

electric pressure washer on driveway dirt
I got the dreaded letter from my HOA that I was in violation of something new. This time, it was the driveway and sidewalks that were deemed dirty, so it was suggested that I pressure wash them. While I'm not a big fan of pressure washing houses or cars, as it can (I assume) create leaks or strip paint, I figured washing concrete was a DIY job I could handle. However, I needed to decide if a rental or a purchase was in order. 

Monday, September 2

Male Fashion and Lifestyle: $100 Shoes

old shoes falling apart
If you've read some of my other blogs about male fashion and lifestyle, you're not impressed right now. $100 shoes! That's way too expensive, and I agree. But I'm not talking ONE pair of shoes, my friends. That's FOUR pairs of shoes. $25 each, on average.

Why a Private School Parent in Jacksonville Supports the DCPS Sales Tax

high school hall
I went from being a public school teacher to a private school parent. I don't always love public schools, but I also don't think private schools are for everyone. However, the existence of strong public schools should be a goal for ALL parents, public and private. 

Tuesday, August 20

Does HOA collect police reports for crimes in my neighborhood?

JSO on my block because of nuisance neighbors
Someone on Nextdoor was asking this question, and I was tempted to respond that the only thing HOAs collect is money. The real responses to the question ranged from, "It depends on your HOA" to "That's not part of what an HOA does." While I can understand that crime is separate from house paint and green lawns, since crime is the #1 factor in property values, HOAs probably need to DO something when it comes to crime.

Sunday, August 18

Jacksonville List of Neighborhoods

Most Duval neighborhoods are not on the oceanI keep seeing all the Jacksonville neighborhoods as backdrops to maps, but I have yet to see them listed for those of us who like lists. So, after using the government websites to find the GIS maps that contain the neighborhoods, I was able to extract the lists of areas in Jax that appear on maps. It could be useful to those of you who also like lists and deal in real estate or something where you'd need the names of all the neighborhoods here.

Wednesday, August 14

Top 4 Spots in Jacksonville's Arlington Neighborhood

top four restaurants in jax arlington
I was on the News4Jax website when I saw an "article" about local restaurants. The article said it was about Arlington restaurants, and I figured it wasn't that big of a deal that my location was being used to show me stories relevant to where I was. However, after reading the short blurbs about the top 4 restaurants in my area, I saw the disclaimer on the bottom of the article:
This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor.

Tuesday, August 13

My Messy Office

kinda messy classroom
My messy classroom, home office, and garage all indicate the same thing to people: I must be careless, cranky, and uncaring. That's according to a study that showed two different work spaces to participants. A messy workspace left people with a negative perception of the unknown worker who occupied the space.

There Was a Time When St. Augustine Stole The Biltmore Ads

there was a time st augustine biltmore
There was a time when I saw an ad for St. Augustine, Florida. It was a simpler time, when none of the other ads were about politicians of ill repute. But it seemed to be a time when St. Augustine had decided to infringe upon the terminology associated with Biltmore. It was last year on local TV.

What is the most popular city in Florida?

jacksonville popular for bridges
This is an interesting question that pops up on Google when you search for information about Jacksonville. I believe people want to know the most populous or populated city in Florida, unless they are total tourists who are just interested in popularity. As far as being popular, I suppose Miami is tops, then Orlando and Tampa. Population is always a bit more complicated.

Monday, August 12

Deep Forest Airport, Please

land your jet in jax
I've complained a little about the local JAXEX Craig airport, and while I am hoping it stays at a manageable size, I wanted to take this opportunity to redirect some of you to an airport I never knew existed. I am hoping some of the rich and famous who fly over my house will choose to hit up another rich and famous local resident to use his private runway instead. Please, all you robber barons, carpetbaggers, venture capitalists, elite socialites, property developers, and ponzi schemers, give your buddy George a call and use the Deep Forest Airport instead of JAXEX.

Sunday, August 11

Male Fashion and Lifestyle: Matching Hats

cousins in matching nike hats
If you want to be really cool as a group, get you some matching hats. Most of us don't think about it ahead of time, and we often make the mistake of matching t-shirts or NASCAR jackets, but matching hats are really the way to go for guys. Let's take a look at how to decide on those hats so that you can look your best.

Male Fashion and Lifestyle: Sunny Boy Hair

sunny boy and big mike apple picking at elegant farmer
I originally got the "Sunny Boy" wig when I was an extra in an independent film that was never finished. I had to wear a Polo shirt, a sweater over my shoulders, and the Sunny Boy blonde wig. I was the bad guy, and my Mercedes 300SD also fit the bill. We only finished one day of filming, at Lake Park Golf Course in Milwaukee. I was probably revealing my devious plans to co-conspirators while golfing. I don't recall. However, Sunny Boy stayed with me, and I put it to some use over the years.

Saturday, August 10

Check Your Google Adsense, Fellow Jacksonville Bloggers

prevent severe impact on revenue
I'm not going to keep this one to myself, since someone not on my site isn't clicking my ads, anyway. If you have a blog or even a big ol' company website that has some Adsense ads on it (the Google ads), then you need to add a custom ads.txt file to your website. I did not receive an email about it. I just showed up to check earnings, which I don't really bother to do very often, and there it was: a dozen websites without the right code. 

I-Selling in Jax: OpenDoor and Zillow

floors and paint sell homes, not dirtZillow is going to join open door in Jacksonville as companies that will buy your house fast. I assume we've also had the We Buy Ugly Homes folks in Jax for a while, too. Flippers, and those types. But Zillow and Opendoor are supposed to be more mainstream, and I assume the business model is just to buy low and sell high.

Thursday, August 8

Northeast Florida Churches, Schools, Non-Profits and Businesses - FREE Tech Tools

Free technology tools for churches, schools, businesses in Jax
Local Jacksonville churches, schools, and businesses, you are in luck. If you're looking for some FREE advice on how to use FREE marketing tools, then I've got the presentation for you. I'm linking out to my Passive Ninja website where you can see the presentation embedded better. I used the presentation while speaking to a group of church leaders in Orlando, and I can speak to your church, too. However, the tools mentioned can be used with other types of organizations, and I have a lot of advice on HOW to implement the tools.

Is Jacksonville in the Panhandle?

florida panhandle in green
Jacksonville is not in the Panhandle. Florida's Panhandle extends east-west from about Tallahassee to the western-most edge of the state near Pensacola. While the I-10 does go straight across the top of the state to Jacksonville, the Panhandle ends where the Gulf of Mexico ends as a southern border and becomes the western border.

Wednesday, August 7

The Worst Real Estate Client Ever

home inspection jacksonville
The title of this article was from a query I got from Help a Writer Out. The author wanted stories from realtors. I figured that since I couldn't send in my story because I'm not a licensed agent, I'd write about that worst client ever here. Me.

Monday, August 5

Is My Back Yard Pond a Lake?

Jacksonville pond not lake
I read somewhere that there are more lakes in Florida than in Minnesota (Land of 10,000 named Lakes) or Wisconsin (15,000) COMBINED. 30,000 lakes! All the water, if nothing else, reminds me of Wisconsin. When we moved to Kansas for a year, it was very different that way. I think I counted five lakes in the state, with two of them man-made. But it also got me to wondering if some of the 30,000 lakes in Florida are also man-made or even subdivision-made. Basically, what makes a lake, and is that a pond or a lake in your back yard?

Male Fashion and Lifestyle: The $12 Perfect Suit

$12 perfect suit jax
I am not a suit kind of guy, but I learned after one of my only failed interviews that suits are expected. (I was told later that I won the job on three of five categories, but wearing a casual outfit lost the position. That was two decades ago.) It might seem ironic that a teacher, who will not wear a suit again for the next 20 or 30 years, needs to don the traditional male formal attire just to get that job. But I'm OK with irony, since I teach English. Besides, a perfect suit doesn't have to be expensive. This "perfect" Dillard's suit cost me $12.

Jacksonville's 630 City Online Guide - Now MyJAX

630city jacksonville services
I wrote an article about using JAx 630City before, and it worked for me. A year later, my neighbor still has a broken recycling bin, and I am tempted to just fill out the form for him, but I'd rather teach local Jacksonville neighbors to fish than hand them a fish. In the spirit of trying to get you to do your own part in requesting services for which you pay (and help keep the city looking nice), here's a quick guide to what services you can ask for from the city of Jacksonville.

Sunday, August 4

Facebook Interests, Pages, and Hassles

Using facebook for Jax businessesWhen I searched for New Jax Witty recently, I noticed a Facebook Interest page for what we do. No one was really interested, so it's kind of odd, but there it was. I liked it, anyhow. Then I decided that after two years of getting lots of hits, maybe I needed an official Facebook page for the site. I was hoping I could just take the public interest page and convert it to the other page, but I instead apparently created a new New Jax Witty page that I don't really want to have to update.  But that's not all, when it comes to social media.

News Makes Wrong Connection In Firefighter Deaths

jacksonville beach fire truck
The local news reported that a study was released that looked at firefighter deaths. The purpose of the study was to find out what caused those deaths in order to see what can be done in order to protect firefighters. The news then added an angle to the story, talking about how our local firefighters are getting equipment to clean themselves off after calls in order to prevent cancer. However, the two stories are unrelated, even if they should be connected.

Blogger Template Success

reading new jax witty on mobile
As a web designer, I'd rather use the tools I build with for others, like Wordpress or Joomla, but I set this website up with Blogger so that I could write several articles per week without much trouble. But there are limitations with Blogger, and no real support. When I was encouraged by a local SEO guru to make sure this website checks all the boxes, I realized that, even with limited tech, Blogger can accomplish more than expected sometimes. This first article with the new template is an example.

Saturday, August 3

$1.8 Million Bill Only Worth $1.80, Oh Well

10,000,000 Turkish Lira jax
I was excited for the local Jacksonville man who believed his 10,000,000 Turkish Lira bill would be worth about $1.8 million. That would be awesome to find a single bill worth that much in a photo album, just waiting for you to cash it in. Especially for a millennial. But it did seem odd to me that someone would have stuck such a large sum of money in a photo album. I guess the answer is in: it was a small bill based on an older Lira, and it's basically worth 1/1,000,000 of what a new Lira would be worth.

Dude, Where's My Church?

jacksonville church website design
As a web designer, I know that it's a problem when you lose your website. I'm not talking about getting hacked. What I mean is when search engines can't find your site. It's kind of weird when it happens, since you'd think Google and other searches would be able to adjust to all kinds of changes online, but there are times when your site just isn't found. I'm going to discuss two scenarios like this that I've been part of in the past year, and maybe it will help you not lose your church or small business website.

Top Tier Gas and Better Prices in Florida

top tier shell gas station jax
I used to get my gas at Gate because of a (fairly minimal) AAA discount, but when I read an article on the AAA website that Top Tier gas is better than the stuff offered by Gate, I wrote to my auto club to see if maybe our discount could be for the recommended fuel. Without a formal response, AAA did change fuel rewards programs, so I'd call it a win. With AAA, you get $.05 off a gallon at Shell, which uses the Top Tier gasoline. On top of that, you can add some more rewards to your Fuel Rewards Program with the use of the app. Here are some of my initial thoughts on the program.

Tuesday, July 30

One Giant Leap for Local Teachers

hello moon
Florida teachers should be riding the 50th Anniversary of the space program fervor. Space travel is pretty cool, whether it happened a half-century ago or last week. Kids are interested in us going back to the moon and even to Mars. Good teachers use interest and enthusiasm to help teach kids, so take that giant leap, whether you're teaching elementary school, middle school, or high school.

Monday, July 29

Get Your Equifax Cash

equifax data breach website
I knew my wife had been part of the Equifax data breach because she left me in charge of trying to shore up her accounts. And she changed all her passwords to combinations that could not be remembered by human brains. So I knew we'd be filing a claim with Equifax online. I just didn't realize I'd be filing two, so that might be something most of us need to consider.

Sunday, July 28

Keeping My Sprint Kickstart After T-Mobile Merger

I know I'm not the only one out there with a legacy (year-old) Sprint Kickstart plan. I get two accounts of "unlimited" data and Sprint's blah network for $38 a month total. I think it was $15 per line plus taxes and fees. That's not a lot of money for two mostly reliable phones that can use as much (throttled) data as I want, so I want to keep it.

Friday, July 26

Opendoor Self-Tour Insanity

opendoor self tour insanity
I just drove past a new construction or fully-flipped home with a sign that said you can just walk right on in and tour the house. In Jacksonville! That's why I had to call it Self-Tour Insanity rather than instantly.


Fine, maybe in Charlotte or Indianapolis, you can just tell folks to download the app, use the (digital?) key, and tour the beautiful home in a civilized manner. But in Florida in general and Jacksonville in particular, self-touring of homes might require a little more security.

Florida's Lost City of Travertine

I was perusing old Florida newspapers when I came across a 1927 article that mentioned Jacksonville. In the article, it was implied that "travertin" could be found only in Italy and Florida. However, I can't find any modern evidence that this stone was ever found in Florida at all.

Thursday, July 25

Jacksonville 1901 Fire Highlights Poor Mattress Material Choice, Rich History of Property Theft



spanish moss mattress material
I saw an article about the great fire of 1901 in Jacksonville, and I was surprised by two primary takeaways: the highly flammable material that caught fire was being used for mattresses and Jacksonville residents used the opportunity to steal from one another.

Request a Quote Option for Jacksonville Businesses

Passive Ninja Web Design JacksonvilleHere's an interesting one, especially since I'm a web designer. Google My Business now allows businesses to turn on messaging, which allows customers to click on a "Request a Quote" button without ever going to the website. It's "Get a Quote" in mobile. For some local Jacksonville businesses (I've seen your websites), this might be an awesome alternative to hiring a professional like me. But it's kind of odd for me to use it, right?

Wednesday, July 24

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice as a Play Will Have Flaws

pride and prejudice jax
Before my wife and I watched the Northeast Florida Conservatory's version of Pride and Prejudice, I knew it would have to be a bit of a disappointment. We'd just discussed how the Keira Knightly (Joe Wright-directed) version was a slight disappointment, even if it was the most beautifully-filmed version of the story ever. Even the 1995 BBC version had it's problems...think Mr. Darcy and aquatics. The point is that nothing will ever match the original novel, and we were prepared for that. However, it's still important to note in a review of a play why the disappointment happens.

29% of Americans Will Be Millionaires?

millionaires everywhere
I thought it was a bit of a reach for 29% of Americans surveyed to say they were going to become millionaires, but I saw some stats that seem to almost back it up. I am a firm believer that some people can attain the American Dream, even if I don't have a huge amount of faith it will happen to me. Here are some numbers that might keep your own hope alive:

Record Your Kids Being Excellent

new neighbor welcome packs
I recall being in a fast food restaurant recently when a kid was being a real nuisance. To be honest, I don't remember exactly what he was doing, but it was loud and stupid. Therefore, his parents grabbed their phones and began recording the shinanigans, and I was thinking the only thing that could be worse would be for them the share that video with the world. Of course, that's exactly what they did. To recap, instead of disciplining the kid, the parents encouraged inappropriate behavior because it made good video. That's dangerous. People wanting instant fame through their own or their kids' idiotic actions is an unfortunate side effect of America today, and it really can be dangerous, sometimes.

Tuesday, July 23

Northeast Florida Real Estate Agents: What You're Missing

east arlington jacksonvilleWhile there are a few local real estate agents / realtors who blog about areas they like to sell in Northeast Florida, it seems that there may not be time or desire to create the evergreen content necessary to become established in one area. Now, I totally believe any person who can write 150 positive words about an outdated property she's trying to sell could easily write about the nice-ities of living in Nocatee, but it's not necessarily part of the job description, so you don't do it. But you really, really should.

Jeff Glauser's New Website

Consultant. Writer. Trainer. Branding Expert. Virtual COO.
Jeff Glauser is a local consultant, writer, trainer, branding expert, and virtual COO. I met him at a local business group, and we hit it off because we have some similar interests and abilities. At first, you might think that another freelancer with similar abilities would be intimidating, but we both saw it as an opportunity to employ each other's talents in a meaningful way. He'd never totally built his own website, and I'd never been paid much for all my consulting, writing, and training that I'd done as part of my website building. Plus, I wanted to learn more about what it takes to be a branding expert and virtual COO.

Friday, July 19

If You Have to Ask How Much Fortress Garage Suites Cost...

fortress garage suite
That's right, you can't afford one. If you have to ask, I mean. But they do (or will) exist in Jacksonville. 13 of 30 are sold at the location I saw near Beach and I-295.

If you don't have to ask, they start at about $170,000. People who are in the market for a garage suite more than likely own a home valued at 10x the garage price, as well as cars valued at more than my home's value. But they are real people, too, and they are totally normal once you get to know them.

Quick, Now is Our Chance to Kill Public Schools

duval public schools getting old
Jacksonville entered into one of the most liberal educational experiments of any city when the city basically became the county. While I am not sure forced busing was ever associated with the move, it's still fairly unique as an attempt to bring all the awesomeness of the suburban schools into the city schools. Problem is that the suburbs are now, basically, in other counties (St. Johns and Clay), and that's where all the Duval educational hope has run to. What if, instead of throwing $2 billion into Duval Public Schools, we step back and see how we can do it all different once again? I'm wondering what our unique version of public schools might be today.

Tuesday, July 16

Duval or DuVal or du Val?

Duval County Florida
I was just on an insurance website that listed DuVal as the county we're in. Some people go by DuWhatever, while others use DuSomething. Still others are du Frenchplace. So, I wonder what the deal is with Duval.

Saturday, July 13

Recyclable Plastic Bags as Beds

plastic bag homeless beds
Plastic bags CAN be recycled, probably even in Georgia. That's where a Girl Scout troop decided to save recyclable plastic bags from the landfill in order to build homeless beds. I'm wondering whether it's a good activity or not. I want it to be, really, but I have my reservations. My wife says it's me being cynical, but I just like to make sure the feel-good stories really make me feel good.

Wednesday, July 10

Orange Park Wants to Limit Cars in Driveways?

car in orange park driveway
When I was driving around Jacksonville to find a place to live, I always crossed off the neighborhoods with several cars parked in the front lawn. In my mind, front lawns are not made for parking cars in a civilized society. But Orange Park, at least according to the news, wants to pass a law that kicks cars out of front lawns AND driveways. That would be going a bit too far, especially around here. That said, there should be some accepted rules about parking cars that should help property values, though I don't see much hope in enforcing most of the rules, even in hoods with an HOA.

Wednesday, July 3

Vacation to Asheville - Watch For Gas Gouging

We were visiting the Biltmore in Asheville when I ended up at a gas station that seemed impossible. At first, I felt lucky that a Shell was right there, since our AAA gas discount has been giving me $.15 a gallon recently. But after I ended up putting $20 into the car, I realized I'd been totally scammed, right in the open.

Monday, July 1

The Hidden Cost of a Hidden Hills Upgrade



ahh, hidden hills
I took my daughter to a party in Hidden Hills. Nice neighborhood and homes, along with a security guard. So what does the convenience of being in a fancy hood near the Beaches and downtown cost? And what are the hidden costs of Hidden Hills? Just in case we decide to move on up, I decided to do some research.

Thursday, June 13

Only Way to Avoid The Reverse Mortgage Disaster

reverse mortgage
I've seen several news articles about the pitfalls of reverse mortgages. I also saw that we've set up a fund to help people when they get stuck with a reverse mortgage here in Florida. But the simple answer that most older people don't want to hear is that there's only one way to avoid disaster with a reverse mortgage: don't get one.

Wednesday, June 12

Rental Bikes Aren't Exactly For The Homeless

rental bikes
Local news was down in St. Augustine covering the newly-proposed use of some kind of bike-share rental system. Since it's standard operating procedure, a homeless man was interviewed about the program. He said something to the effect that it would be good to have options for someone like him who can't afford a bike. FYI local news and homeless people: bike rental programs are not really created for the homeless.

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