Tuesday, July 20

Billboard Wars in Sports

In my hometown, just before Game 6 of the NBA Finals, a 'Go Suns" billboard appeared. That's like the Buffalo Bills having a "Go Bills" billboard in Jacksonville just before Trevor Lawrence's rookie season AFC Championship game. Or if the Packers got a "Go Pack Go" along the Arlington Expressway just before the Superbowl. 

Except the Suns billboard isn't just fantasy. A law firm from Phoenix really did buy a "Go Suns" billboard in my hometown of Milwaukee to have it revealed just before Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Clever? Yes. Acceptable? Not really. I'm not surprised someone from Phoenix needed to erect a sign to pump life into Chris Paul's flaccid Finals performance. However, the company that sells advertising space in my city should have more class. Then again, it's an advertising firm. And the company that bought the billboard? A law firm. Classy and more classy.

Gruber Law in Milwaukee has a One Call; That's All catchphrase. The figurehead lawyer is also a Bucks sponsor. No matter how many calls it takes, Gruber or someone else in Milwaukee needs to find a way to pay Phoenix back for the lack of respect. If nothing else, a "Bucks in six" billboard along the I-10.

I know sometimes Miller sends Milwaukee water to hurricane victims, so maybe send a semi trailer filled with Milwaukee Bucks water bottles and an exterior caption that reads, "Stay Thirsty, Phoenix." For a title and because it's the freakin desert.

I hope someone with deep pockets in Milwaukee gets on the horn and secures some sweet revenge, but the best revenge would be a Game 6 win and a title for a starved city (with plenty of water). And beer.

If you want to learn more about Milwaukee and Wisconsin, check out Real Wisconsin News.

Monday, June 14

Duval Schools Referendum: What it Means to Me

As someone who has not used the local public schools (for my kids) in the past, I didn't have much of an opinion about them. Even when I worked as a teacher in one of the not-so-great schools, the school district didn't matter all that much to me. This is because my kids weren't part of the school district. However, after researching options for local high schools, we decided to transition from a private K-8 school and into a Duval high school, so now funding for the schools DOES matter. Luckily, it mattered enough to other voters in order to pass a referendum in the 2020 election that will allow Jacksonville's schools to (finally) make some upgrades. 

Unfortunately, many of the upgrades will come in the form of tightened security and completing 
deferred maintenance. When a school district is underfunded for many years, that's kind of what happens, I guess. The security upgrades are obviously in response to the national rash of school shootings, and I also understand that expenditure, but it's still unfortunate that a percentage of the money allocated will have to be used for this. 

I also wanted to reiterate my opinion that a well-funded public school system is NOT a problem for private schools, since I'm sure some of those parents voted against the tax increase. If public schools are bad enough (and Duval was close to this tipping point), then families will continue to move to St. Johns or Clay, and your wonderful private school will be located in a less-desirable neighborhood. Your home, too. This is not to say that new or updated facilities will fix all of the problems in Duval schools. As a teacher at two different local middle schools, I can tell you that the behavior of the kids (always dictated by their parents) plays a much bigger role in the success of the schools than new classrooms. 

I am glad to see that new classrooms are a part of the equation. The school my kids will be attending is building (or has built) 32 classrooms. I hope. It's actually a testament to how poor the communication is in the district that parents of a student who will be attending a school that has $24 million to spend is not aware of how that money has been spent. But no one could tell me when volleyball season starts, either, so it's not a huge surprise. Anyhow, I am hopeful that 30-something classrooms will be added so that my kids won't be relegated to temporary portable trailer rooms. Of course, it's hard to believe we ever let that happen in the first place, but I'm hoping the sales tax money helps fix past wrongs so that I can funally benefit from the property taxes I've been paying since we've moved to Jax.

[UPDATE]
As of late June, 2021, no meaningful construction had begun at our kids' new school. That's pretty bad, as it was considered spendable money as soon as the measure passed. And all the schools had plans. I'll assume the construction will be starting any day now, but it's a disappointment that portables are still being used for summer activities rather than being recycled as tiny homes for the homeless.

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Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

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Sunday, June 13

Secret Beach is for Everyone, Just Not Now - Think Garbage Barge

I recently spoke with a former mayor of Atlantic Beach who told me that Secret Beach IS for me. And you. And all taxpayers. But there are some problems. 

Saturday, June 5

Leaving Passengers On Board Plane With Possible 'Device' Makes Sense?

I read that a Delta airlines plane coming into Jacksonville was diverted to a separate runway and then thoroughly searched for a 'device' of some kind. With all the passengers on the plane! I know the public isn't made aware of all the details in a case like this, but doesn't it seem like the opposite of the right way to search the plane?

I guess I'll have to assume someone sent a threat that maybe included the instructions that a bomb would go off if anyone was allowed to leave the plane. That's the only scenario that makes sense. It's like, "Send 50million crypto coins to this account or else I blow the plane. And if anyone tries to leave, I blow the plane."

However, in every other scenario under the friendly skies, I would say you get all the people off the damn plane FIRST. If it's a ticking time bomb somewhere on board or a passenger with a remote or something volatile in the cargo area, it seems to make sense to get the people out of there.

Imagine being one of the passengers stuck on a plane that has arrived without a problem, then being told by the pilot that there's a maintenance issue (which could obviously be fixed once everyone is off the plane), then being told the pilot lied and it's something else. You assume someone on board is a killer or drug czar. Or that there's a bomb. The last place you want to be is in your seat for three hours, just waiting to see if one of your fellow travelers finally cracks and takes the little kid in row 19 as a hostage. Or the whole plane blows up.

I'm sure this was all done by the book, but it seems to me the book has to be wrong. Since I don't have a background in law enforcement, I might be missing something. I just remember the time I was on the London Underground and saw an unattended bag sitting in the middle of the walkway for several stops, my anxiety skyrocketing until I (a total introvert) started asking every single passenger if the bag was theirs. I was floored by how others didn't seem to think a bag like this was a concern. I was considering picking the luggage up and throwing it (or myself) out the door at the next stop when someone several seats away grabbed it, but that was the most stressful ten minutes of my life because I was sure that bag was going to explode. That's not a feeling I wish on anyone, but many of the passengers in Jacksonville must have felt similarly. 

Call me a romantic, but I'd rather see everyone safely off an airplane that might explode even if there's a small chance the perp gets away. It's like a police car chase through a densely-populated part of town: I want the bad guy to get caught, but I don't want others to die just so that can happen. 

Anyhow, nothing was found, no one was arrested, and nobody died, so I guess it was "mission accomplished" for federal law enforcement.

Tuesday, May 18

Home Insurance Prices in Florida: What's Next?


I wrote about trying to find new insurance last year when I was dropped. This year, my new insurance guy (who I'd recommend over my last deadbeat and all the vultures I met last year), sent some rate comparisons out, along with an article I'd read about the soaring costs of Florida homeowners insurance. It's pretty bleak, and if you've been dropped, there may not be many options. 

Tuesday, May 11

Shooting, Archery, and Deadly Projectiles in Jacksonville

archery jacksonville florida

I received an email from a reader who had a question about bow shooting in Jacksonville. The reader had probably done research online before contacting me, and my own research led to likely the same conclusions, but I figured it was worth finding out. Here's the email:
"I live in a residential neighborhood in Jacksonville city limits. I found
out my neighbor has been target practicing with a compound bow in his back yard. I found this out when his target was missed and his arrow came thru my fence into my back yard. Is it legal to shoot a compound bow in the city limits?"

Monday, May 10

Dear Jacksonville Landlords: Sell NOW!

sell your jacksonville rental property

Full disclosure: I would rather live next to homeowner's than rental tenants. That's partially why I am writing this article, but it's also sound financial advice for landlords right now. Sell, sell, sell!

Why? I know a lot of Jacksonville Landlords got in to the real estate market after the 2008 fire sale. That was smart. You've made some good money. Now is your time to cash in and wait for your next conquest. In doing so, you will allow homeowners to live in my neighborhood with me rather than renters, which will make me happier.

Saturday, May 8

Florida Sports Seasons

florida sports seasons

As our kids prepare for high school, it's time to consider which sports they might play. Florida has different sports seasons than some other states, including Wisconsin (where I played), so it's important to know which sports are available here for the kids. The offi official Florida site makes you click twice for the following list:



FALL

Bowling
Cross Country
Football
Golf
Swimming & Diving
Volleyball (G)

WINTER

Basketball (B)
Basketball (G)
Competitive Cheerleading
Soccer
Weightlifting (G)
Wrestling

SPRING

Baseball
Flag Football
Lacrosse
Softball
Tennis
Track & Field
Volleyball (B)
Water Polo
Weightlifting (B)

In case you were wondering, I know that Wisconsin had soccer in the fall because I recall watching Cheri R. run around the soccer field after football practice...and my dad always said football teams lost some of our best d-backs to soccer. Some Wisconsin high school baseball teams played in summer rather than spring, mainly because our first games were generally snowed or rained-out. As far as I can tell, there is no official summer high school sport in Florida. Also, I don't really understand why there are two separate weightlifting seasons, unless it has to do with steroids/transgender issues. Flag football was not an option when I was in high school, and I'm not sure if it's a girls only thing or if guys have teams, too. I'm also not sure why the state seems to delineate with a B or G in basketball but not soccer, both in the winter. But mostly I wonder how anyone plays water polo, unless it's just in the shallow end like Marco Polo.


Monday, April 26

Jax Local Ad of the Week: Jamie's Tree Service


Remember to support local businesses, not that anyone hires a national chain to cut down trees, but you get the point.

This week's ad seems pretty normal at first: a manly man up in a tree, holding part of the tree he's been cutting down, giving a thumbs up. He seems to be safely harnessed to the tree and adorned with proper attire to be cutting trees. I'd seen the ad several times before I noticed that it's all wrong. 

Friday, April 23

Where Should Our Tunnels Go, Jacksonville? Part 1 - St. Johns Town Center


I was reading that parts of South Florida are getting excited about Elon Musk's Boring Company and its promises of being able to build cheap tunnels. While I'm not sure I totally buy into the dream, I also wasn't sure about electric cars or sending millionaires to tour outer space, so perhaps Musk will come through and build tunnels on the cheap. Or else he'll promise that and then jack up the prices like the Tesla Roof fiasco. But let's just assume the Boring Company can build cheap tunnels. Where should ours be in Jacksonville?

St. Johns Town Center
As the recipient of New Jax Witty's Worst Design Award, the St. Johns Town Center could use some help, maybe using tunnels. St. Johns Bluff stupidly ends into Town Center Parkway, which stupidly ends into Gate Parkway, which stupidly meanders all around the Southside. In planning classes I took, the technical term is "clusterf***." And tunnels probably won't fix it because it was just so poorly designed. But why not try, right? 

Here's one idea: tunnel St. Johns Bluff into the Dick's Sporting Goods parking lot where it can meet up with Big Island Drive (where it stupidly meanders N/S after starting E/W). Now you have 25% of the traffic diverting right into the heart of the Town Center. Then, tunnel under the JTB and come up where the FBI building is at (big surprise) Gate Parkway. Instead of everyone playing around on Town Center Parkway and Gate Parkway, they just drive underground to get to Nordstrom and Dillard's and whatnot. That's the yellow tunnel in the image above.

If you really want the whole thing to make sense, you then build a road (call it St. Johns Bluff, perhaps) straight down from the tunnel along the high power lines until it hits Baymeadows. Wait, hit reverse for a second. Am I suggesting a North/South road should travel from the St. Johns River all the way down to Baymeadows (maybe even the 295) uninterrupted? Sacrilege! It should dead end or curve into oblivion, based on general rules for Jax right now. But really, building straight roads that go through to other straight roads actually works sometimes. Or all of the time. A double-tunnel could do what planners of the Town Center decided not to do (make sense). 

The next phase of tunneling, since the first one worked so well, would be dedicated exit (from the Town Center) tunnels, maybe along that same area near the Uptown Funk Apartments (which probably would get torn down for the greater good). Direct exits to the 295/9B and the JTB, tunneled under the interchange. So instead of being stuck in traffic for 30 minutes to get to the on ramp after stuffing yourself at Maggiano's, you just hop on over to the JTB East tunnel and head to your beachfront home in Ponte Vedra. Those are the pink and orange tunnels.

Another option is to tunnel from the St. Johns Town Center over to the new neighborhood that is stupidly planned to dead end Kernan (south of the JTB) rather than have it go through to (you guessed it) Gate Parkway where it becomes Baymeadows. I'm not lying, Gate Parkway goes East-Westish until it crosses the 295 and then hits Baymeadows which has turned from a solid East-West road into a solid North-South road for no other reason than to make me angry. Anyhow, if Kernan is not linked to Gatemeadows, someone seriously needs to go to jail. And when I say linked, I mean Kernan continues north-south along the edge of all civilization (yes, all the way to Hwy 1) and Gate comes east to meet it, not that Kernan just meanders over to Gate. Does anyone out there understand the purpose of roads? 

Sorry about the rant. We're talking tunnels here. Back to tunnels to fix bad road decisions. Maybe a tunnel from Town Center Parkway where it ends into Gate Parkway over to Southside Boulevard.  That's the blue tunnel in the photo. 

Just some ideas, folks, but not bad ideas if tunneling does end up being cheaper than building new roads. I'd prefer tunnels with conveyor belts and built-in carwashes. That way, no one breaks down and gets stuck, and your car gets washed. But I bet Elon Musk hasn't even thought of the tunnel carwash yet. 

As an added bonus, let's look at the way the Town Center should have been designed when it comes to (major) roads. The image includes several new main roads that connect to one another, and then there would also be other roads that connect to those roads, kind of like an old downtown, which I'm pretty sure was the idea behind a town center, right? Go ahead and call all four of the East-West roads Gate Parkway if you want. They all would have connected Kernan to St. Johns Bluff to Southside, just like Beach does and Baymeadows should. I know someone out there made this exact design when the Town Center was being considered, but curves and dead-ends somehow won the day.




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Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

Contact Me

Friday, April 16

Should I Drive for Lyft in Jacksonville? Uber?

I know you're not looking for a job until all your unemployment runs out, but just in case you want a gig once that happens, give Lyft a month. $1500 is a good guarantee from Lyft because many of the rides will be crappy $3.19 rides from McDonald's to a seedy apartment complex. So if you focus on crappy, short rides, you'll make maybe $500 or $750 for your first 100 rides. Signing up with the link gives you maybe double your normal pay for your first month, as long as most rides are short.

Thursday, April 15

I Earned Wisconsin's Version of Bright Futures: Here's My View of Florida's System and The Fight to Keep it Bright

A quarter-century ago, I was ranked 2nd in my class and 95th percentile in the ACT, so I earned Wisconsin's version of Florida's Bright Futures award. Since Florida is considering changing how Bright Futures is distributed, I thought I'd weigh in based on my own experiences.

Tuesday, April 13

Using Walgreens For Covid Vaccine Semi-Fail

I was recently deemed eligible For a Covid-19 vaccine. Gateway Mall was a good site when my wife went, but I decided I'd save some time driving and choose a local Walgreens. Kind of a mistake, though I am vaccinated.

JAXEX Craig: Loud Sunday in East Arlington Probably New Norm

I know some folks from Holly Oaks contacted me about the noise from JAXEX Craig Airport a while back they had video of planes continuously circling, reminiscent of something I'd see months later over my own neighborhood. Maybe complaints from Holly Oaks moved some of the routes. Maybe airport traffic means everyone in East Arlington must suffer. 

Jax Local Ad of the Week: Those Krazy Kids

First off, support local businesses, whether they use kids, animals, or inanimate objects in advertising. 

Let's take a look at some of the local ads that use kids, who obviously say the darndest things. We'll look at five local Jacksonville ads that use kids as part of their pitches in order to see if it's effective as it is cute. 

The first ad uses a slightly older kid than the rest, and we'll assume it's a daughter (heir) to the Air to Air company. She suggests, "Let's give away a $350 WIFI Thermostat with every Carrier 15 Seer Replacement Heat Pump." Even if this kid was raised in a household of HVAC folk, it's very unlikely she'd make this statement. Most kids would be like, "Buy a new Carrier system from my dad so he can get me a PS5." Maybe, if it's a really altruistic kid, she'd say, "Buy a new Carrier so that our company can donate food to homeless people or something." The latest ad for Air to Air features a teenage girl (not sure if it's the same girl), and she also suggests the same giveaway. Whereas I can almost buy that a little kid wants to give stuff away to customers, I'd think a teenager would be like, "Just buy a Carrier from my dad already so I can get a Jeep Wrangler for my Sweet Sixteen. Or don't. Whatever."


The next ad for Southern Home Additions features Erich, who says, "Don't wait til I take over...CALL NOW!" He's dressed in a tuxedo and seemingly dancing, perhaps at a family wedding. While he looks like he might be saying, "A cha cha, I love Kool Aid!" it's entirely possible that he was just told at the wedding that he would one day take over the family construction business, perhaps because his aunt just married some guy from a rival construction company. Still, I can't imagine he'd have the foresight to suggest people should invest in home additions now rather than in twenty years when he's the boss. He'd probably really say something like, "I love trucks and mac n cheese and puppies!" when asked what he wants to tell potential customers. And, honestly, who doesn't love those things?



The next ad from Elite AC features another cute kid who is looking shyly away from the camera and saying, "Kids like Clean Air, Trust us!" This is an interesting statement, coming from a kid. First off, kids are very self-centered, and it's unlikely this child would say that all kids like clean air if he's really talking about himself. Also, most kids don't use the royal we in a sentence or consider themselves to be part of the company. So a kid, when prodded to do so, MIGHT say, "I like clean air; trust me!" You notice how I also don't capitalize random words and use a semi-colon properly? If this wasn't a speech bubble that's quite obviously coming from a kid, I'd say it was the disembodied voice of the owner of Elite AC saying it, with "us" representing the employees of the company. If you really want to go out there, you could say that the eyes rolled to the side are more creepy and the possessed child is speaking as Legion, but most people wouldn't trust a child who's in need of an exorcism. 



Precision Carpet features a little boy and a pit bull, two of the most destructive entities known to suburbia. The boy has a smudge of dirt on his face and maybe in his hair while wearing overalls (reminiscent of Dennis the Menace). He's not really saying anything or even doing anything, but I suppose he will make a mess, given the chance. However, the irony in this photo is that neither the boy nor the dog are on carpet. The vans are. I have not yet seen a carpeted garage or driveway in Jacksonville, but I guess Precision Carpet will clean em if you got em. 

Side note: I did see a carpeted driveway while walking through Winnipeg (of all places), and I have seen some ratty carpet in enclosed patios here in Jacksonville, though I'm not really sure carpet cleaners can handle engine oil or grease from a grill. 

Credible AC uses a baby with his/her family to sell UV light filtering and duct cleaning. While neither will actually protect anyone from Covid, my wife definitely made me get the ducts cleaned in our house when our first baby was born, so I get it: the billion-year-old dust just sitting in your ducts is better off aging in a vacuum or a landfill in Georgia. Guys, just humor your wives and get the ducts cleaned the one time you have a firstborn. 

There is one other detail that might need some explaining: the extremely appealing model-parents both sport thick and dark hair, while the cute baby seems to be totally blonde or completely bald. I'm sure the kid will look like dad eventually, but that's one father who might be doing the math of his deployment and when his wife scheduled the construction work, carpet cleaning, and AC installation.  I'm kidding. The real question is why the dad's dressed like a lumberjack when the family lives in Florida and has a working HVAC system. 





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Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

Contact Me

Monday, March 8

Jax Local Ad of the Week: Pro Glass

Remember to support local businesses. Now to the ad.

Pro Glass is advertising frameless shower doors, but the door itself, along with the rest of this bathroom scene, seem just a little bit off. At first glance, it's a beautiful master bath, but the fun (and the devil) is in the details. Let's take a closer look at that room.
The glass door looks great. But something seemed weird about it swinging in to me. When I looked it up, building code generally says that shower doors CAN swing in but MUST swing out. That's why I've never seen one swung in, and you probably haven't, either. My assumption is that this door swings in AND out, and maybe people tend to like the look of it swung into the shower area. The reason for the code is that a door that only swings in would trap someone in the shower if he or she falls, which is why this one must swing both ways (insert pop icon joke here). So I get that, but why is it swung in or out in the photo? Would anyone leave the shower like this? My wife certainly wouldn't let me leave the shower door open after I was done. Just in case you want to duplicate this look without hiring pros like Pro Glass, be sure to avoid installing a shower door backwards in order to save space.

The bathtub seems to be in the middle of the room, which is fine by me. I assume it makes plumbing a little more difficult, but that's a homeowner's choice. The little end table/stool next to the tub is a bit more questionable. It seems to be leather or some other soft material. On top of the table is a tray with bath oils or whatnot. Also, two towels. One towel is rolled up while the other is draped over the table. Why? I guess it looks fancy, but also, no towel racks. Is that a Florida thing? Because when I bought my house, it only had one towel rack in the shower and one over the tub, neither of which were convenient. I had to add more to the walls, where towel racks go. Or, you could add a door towel rack. But this bathroom has no towel racks at all. Just a window to allow sun-drying, but no rack in the shower or near the tub or on the door. I guess you're supposed to drape your wet towel over your beautiful shower enclosure, but that kind of defeats the purpose of all that beautiful glass.

The last detail that is odd and maybe even a bit frightening is the bird. 
The bird is standing in the way of a door that clearly opens in. Is it a doorstop? Maybe it's a towel rack. But when I searched online for bird doorstops and towel racks, I could not find this bad boy. I did notice that the bird stands out more than anything else in the room, so it must be important. But it's blocking EMTs from getting into the bathroom, just like a shower door that opens in. It also looks like it has sharp edges, like something I'd stick in the garden rather than where naked people walk around. If it's iron, it would probably rust as a towel rack. My wife says it's a crane. Do you want to have a crane, whether it's a towel rack, a doorstop, or a piece of art, staring at you in the shower or tub while blocking your only exit? No, thank you.



Thursday, March 4

1986 Bertone (Fiat) X 1/9 in Jacksonville

1986 Bertone X 1/9

I've been asked by a reader to add some photos of my X. I don't think she'd mind. 

I've seen a few people snap photos of her as I drive around, but I've kind of neglected to take many of my own. Her permanent, legal home is in Wisconsin, where most of the photos were taken. 

Friday, February 26

Section 8 Housing In Jax and St. Johns


section 8 jax

I first heard of Section 8 housing when I saw a news story about St. Johns County. That story said St. Johns had some kind of law against Section 8 housing, which resulted in fewer options to house the homeless contingent in St. Augustine. I never looked up Section 8 at the time, though I did wonder how St. Johns could ban Section 8 while Duval can't. I'm still not all that sure about how or why, but I do know most of us don't want Section 8 in our back yards. In fact, I just discussed something similar to Section 8 with my kids, as we drove past the Dunes Apartments next to Ed Austin Park. I said the apartments looked so bad that it might make sense to pull them down and build some smaller single-family homes, which might result in some of the people who no one really wants hanging out in a park being forced to move away. But then one of my kids asked me where they'd go, and that's what makes it complicated. I'd like to say, "St. Johns County," but I can't. And so that means that those of us in Duval who live too close to Section 8 housing will eventually move to where that type of housing can't exist.

Jax Local Ad of the Week: Beachside Swimwear and Gifts

First and foremost, support local businesses. Now, let's look at the ad. 

At first glance, this week's ad might seem like standard swimwear fare, but (like most ads) there are some strange details as you look closer. But maybe it's just because the business is trying to sell off those old 2020 swimsuits. Or it's just really difficult to make swimsuit models look natural in a tiny print ad.

Tuesday, February 23

Jacksonville's Two Civil War Burnings

Union troops hanging out at Bay and Ocean

At some point, most of us who live in Jacksonville learn about the fire of 1901 that destroyed most of the city. That's why I was surprised to learn of two other fires in the city's past, both during the Civil War. Neither fire was as destructive property-wise, but I think the argument could be made that both of these fires were more destructive to relationships between locals that extended to the rest of the country. These fires were burnings rather than an accidental fire like in 1901.

Saturday, February 20

Polar Blue Skies?

What are polar blue skies? 

I saw the term used on the First Coast News Weather Channel. When I asked Google, she said she didn't know how to help with that, so I just searched the term "polar blue skies" myself on Google. The top results were from old First Coast News posts about the weather. So is it a Jax thing or a local meteorologist thing? Or a real thing that most weather people ignore?

Friday, February 12

Jax Local Ad of the Week: Milano's for Valentine's Day


Local ads can be fun because they are not always as polished as national ad campaigns. This is the first in a series that will take a look at some local ads from mailer magazines.

Support local businesses, even if their ads weird you out a little.

My wife enjoys Milano's, and we have used the restaurant's promotions in the past. And if it wasn't for a pandemic, we might have done the Valentine's Day Special, even with it being presented in this somewhat odd ad.

Wednesday, February 10

Culver's Arlington Location (UN)Explained

culver's jacksonville

Evan Clagnaz is a lot like me. He's from Wisconsin. He wants a Culver's in the Arlington area of Jacksonville. He trusts other people. He has a few million dollars to invest in a restaurant. Etc. 

OK, fine, at 36 I didn't quite have $4+ million to invest. Or at 46. Maybe at 56 (fingers crossed), but by then, all the Culver's restaurants will have been built in Jax, and I'll have missed my chance to own one. Except for maybe one that fails because it’s been built in the wrong location.

Tuesday, February 9

The Best Gyros in Jacksonville

I wish this article was about the best gyros in Jacksonville. My family loves us some gyros, having learned about the awesomeness from Milwaukee staples like Oakland Gyros and Golden Gyros. We tried gyros when we lived in Kansas City, but almost every restaurant there mixed beef and lamb (at best) and fell a bit short. In Jacksonville, we've tried a few places, but we have yet to really find the best gyros in Jacksonville, so if your restaurant wants me to find out if you qualify, then contact me. We're good for several visits per year once we find you, but I'd suggest a discount or coupon to entice me from the start.

Thursday, February 4

Siteground Officially Not Best Hosting Provider

Let's say you have an idea to build a website, or maybe you want to build a website farm in order to funnel people to your pyramid or ponzi scheme. It used to be that if you wanted to use Joomla to build the websites involved in your business venture, you'd choose Siteground. It was a level above the other hosts for both services offered and customer service. Plus, it offered special tools dedicated to helping those who preferred Joomla to Wordpress. 

Monday, February 1

Open Season on White People?

Here's the start of a post from NextDoor that was a little frightening: 

I just had a man attempt to run me over

Wednesday, January 27

Jacksonville Community Services Directory on Gloo

I was working on adding some functionality to a church website I built when I looked into the company that sent the code I was using. One of the options for church websites is to embed a community services map. I was going to embed an iframe of that map here, but it seems that it's more difficult than other iframes to generate. However, I'll provide a link so that you can check to see if your church or non-profit is listed with the directory

I am sure there are other websites out there that actually provide links to your organization, but if a lot of churches use this Gloo program, it's worth adding your listing, as well. I think it's supposed to function as a way for church members to find places to volunteer and maybe volunteer organizations to find churches that are engaged in the community, so it makes sense to claim your listing, since it seems to be free.

What's nice is the ability to search based on type of organization and then type of services offered. For example, you could search for "Church" and "Online Sermons" in order to get these results, albeit without links to the online sermons. It's very similar to a system I set up for my church about a decade ago for its 100 or so ministries so that people could search based on interest, except that was for a single church rather than a map of an entire country. And I had more categories, which would be nice on the map...it only includes very basic church services. Like my own creation, I assume this resource is underutilized. However, now your church or organization doesn't have the excuse that you didn't know it existed. 

Yes, you can pay $8,000 (PER YEAR!) for an online marketing firm to show you pretty presentations, create a ho-hum app, and sell you free online tools (Wordpress/Google Analytics/Email Newsletters) for a steep cost, or you can list your organization in ways like this, use Google and other free tools, and have a good freelance web designer make a website to which YOU add real content that brings in real traffic looking for a real church. 

This website has about 500 posts and averages 9,000 REAL reads a month, but it's all because of those 500 articles. I don't have an app, unless someone wants to add this site to their home screen (feel free). I don't email anyone. I don't market because I write. Some of my best articles don't even show up on Google anymore because they are no longer deemed relevant, while other articles get Top 10 rock star status. If your church offers addiction counseling, an article about your service might not get any hits because of all the other counseling services, but if you also write articles about how you deliver groceries to members and recycle batteries and make masks for frontline workers, one of those articles might inspire someone to watch a service or visit your church. And if you can link related articles to each other, that also helps. Even if it only inspires people to get involved at another church, your article got hits and results. Most people who find your church are not going to immediately download your app and sign up for newsletters. 

Based on church websites I've built, this website generates about 10 times the traffic of a typical church website that doesn't publish new content. Those churches would benefit from listing with Gloo, but they would benefit more from posting articles. They might be able to fake it a little with SEO and targeted marketing, but the long-term results may not be useful if there's never any new content. Apps don't create content. Neither do great keywords. If you want people to discover the community services at your church, write about them, even if it's a single article about care packs for immigrants from 2015. That said, I'm sure most churches will continue to send email blasts and run tired capital campaigns with no website evidence as to why someone would want to join or give. 


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Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

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Friday, January 22

Fellows and Residents Searching for Rental Properties

mcw mke rental house

If you have a fellowship or residency, you're going to be looking for a home in a new city, probably in a new state. You can rely on the rental or home websites or hire a realtor, but it also helps to have some insight from someone who has lived in the area for a long time. I qualify as that person in the Milwaukee and Jacksonville areas, so if you have a placement at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Mayo Florida, or UF, you might want to contact me. Especially for MCW and Mayo. 


Wednesday, January 13

If You're Going to Get Guy Food, Be Ready For Anything

A local woman was emotional and upset during a news interview after a man pointed a gun at her in a Hardee's drive thru down on Baymeadows. Personally, I don't like guns, but I do have to admit that if you're going to get your food at a guy restaurant in Jacksonville, you should be ready for anything and nothing should surprise you.

Neighborly or Not: Dealing With Conflict in Jacksonville

Relationships are important, especially when those relationships involve your neighbors. I can write an article on this or other websites that gets hits from all around the country, and I'm just some anonymous guy writing about a topic of interest. But when you post on your Facebook neighborhood group or on Nextdoor, you're making the choice for your neighbors to see the content. Even benign posts with the intent of being diplomatic can be taken the wrong way. A recent situation in my neighborhood is a great example of how conflicts might escalate on social media, even if the intent was basically the exact opposite.


To begin with, I should have learned my lesson about trusting others when we first moved to Jacksonville. My car was hit from behind at a stop light by a college kid who begged me to let him pay for the damage rather than report another claim to his insurance. I trusted him and basically lost out on $1,000. Welcome to Jacksonville. But I didn't really know him, and I haven't seen him since, so I am mostly over it. Except there was a lesson to be learned that I apparently have yet to figure out. I had several options at my disposal when the latest incident happened, yet I still apparently got it all wrong, and this article represents my effort to clarify and attempt to rectify the situation. I once again relied on trust that another person would do what was right.


This is what happened and is not disputed: a neighbor’s dog got out of his garage/family room and attacked our dog. Our dog was on a leash and on the sidewalk. The neighbor broke it up quickly and apologized, saying his dog had never done that before. I swore a lot; like a sailor, or maybe even like a sailor from Boston.


Now for the disputed parts. 

  1. I say it was a Pit Bull, as it was a total Pit Bull attack (and the dog looked like one to me), while the neighbor (or at least his kid) said it was not a Pit Bull. 

  2. While there were no visible signs of injury to our dog immediately, we found a wound the next day that she was licking. 


To be clear, we never had any problems with this neighbor before. In fact, our interactions had always been pleasant. Plus, I like the fact that he doesn't tend to park his two cars OVER the sidewalk like so many other neighbors, even if he doesn't park them IN the garage where cars belong (my minority opinion). But those cars being in the driveway did allow his dog to surprise us as it charged out of the open garage/family room.


After the dog attack, we had to decide what to do next. We kicked around all of the ideas, but settled with the (I assume) typical Florida reaction of doing nothing. These are what we believed to be our options. 


  1. Do nothing, hoping my own swearing tirade and the fear of what could have happened would be enough to persuade the owner to keep his dog on a leash.

  2. Go the legal route. Report the incident to Animal Control, the police, and the HOA. File a small claims lawsuit and hope for Judge Judy. However, COJ says you need an affidavit signed by two unrelated people or a video of the incident, which is pretty difficult to pull off (unless the neighbor has surveillance video he'd like to share or wants to sign an affidavit against himself). It also has to be notarized. Really. The HOA option, however, might have led somewhere, though I have had at least two email complaints ignored by our HOA. Your HOA results may vary. And small claims lawsuits are kind of small: I could waste both our time, win a hundred dollars, and just end up with an angry neighbor. It's not like you call JSO for a dog bite, right? Someone suggested putting the vet bills in his mailbox, maybe with a lawyer-ish letter, or even knocking on his door to talk, but I wasn't sure about another in-person confrontation. When our neighbor kid destroyed a Christmas lawn ornament, I also balked at the confrontation, even though I had video evidence. It's just not fun, and those neighbors liked us until the day they moved away, whereas I don't know what would have happened if I called their son a liar.

  3. Social Media Shame. I did NOT do this, though the neighbor seems to believe I did because I referenced the attack in a closed Facebook group post about two other Pit Bulls roaming around the neighborhood. If I wanted to Facebook shame my neighbor, I would have included his name, address, photos of an obvious Pit Bull from his own Facebook posts, his occupation and how it might relate to not wanting to admit what kind of dog he owns, the receipts for our expenses, and photos of the injury. I could have added a photo of the house to warn others to stay away, and I could have further tormented the neighbor with a recap of his court and financial history. And rather than posting it to a closed Facebook group, I certainly would have posted it to all of Facebook and Twitter, along with an article here and on several other websites. And I would have sent links to the local news, the HOA, local politicians, and the neighbor's homeowner's insurance or mortgage company. I collected all of the information I would have needed to be able to do this, but all I did was mention the attack in passing in a post: "I don't want to start a big debate, but our leashed dog was attacked by a pit bull in our neighborhood on the sidewalk a few weeks back (with the owner letting it run loose). I refrained from reporting the owner and suing for vet bills because I did not want to stir up trouble. But now I have this video of two different pit bulls wandering around at 4am. If you like dogs, cats, or small children, this video should worry you. I know some of you love these dogs, so I will not say more. My daughter witnessed the attack and is now worried all over again. Please, keep all of your pets inside, fenced in, and on a leash."


Apparently, my neighbor whose dog attacked ours saw this post and became angry. Even though our family has mostly stopped walking past his house, I decided to take the dog that direction one morning. As I walked past his house, he walked from his side yard towards the oft-open garage and started laughing loudly. After the restraint I had shown (in my mind) by not suing, issuing complaints, or publicly deriding this man, I assumed the most I would hear out of his mouth would be a half-hearted apology with me accepting and reminding him to keep the dog on a leash. Instead, I heard cynical laughter that continued as I passed his house on the street (avoiding the sidewalk where it happened). Eventually, I said, "What?!"

The neighbor, who you might realize I am still not naming, went through his list of grievances after saying he saw what I posted on Facebook: “I apologized.” “The dog had never done that before.” “You’re not going to sue.” “Your dog wasn’t even bitten.” “Your daughter only cried because of all your swearing.” I think he also initially asked me what my problem was, or something like that. The point is that he took my passing reference to his negligence and took it to be me attacking him personally, so he decided to come after me personally. Since I was kind of surprised, I didn't say anything. Besides, this neighbor already had two of the 3Ps of Jacksonville (Pit Bull and Pickup), so I assumed he owned the third (Pistol).

I have tried to see this situation from my neighbor's perspective. I did swear a lot. Our dog didn't yelp. We didn't contact him to see about rabies after the bite. I guess I can see why he thought it was all behind us, but instead of allowing a fairly innocuous Facebook post to go by, he decided to call me a liar, as if I would create that lie and then not try to hit him up for cash? As if I'd create the lie to deride him and then not identify him? 

So, lessons learned, everyone. It seemed that the only time the offending party in Jacksonville has been happy with me is the time I never told my neighbor his kid destroyed a lawn ornament. That means people want you to forgive, forget, move on, and never mention it. The problem is that I expect the opposite from others if I'm at fault. If my kids destroy something at a neighbor's house, if my dog bites a neighbor's cat, or if I sideswipe a neighbor's car, I want to own that it happened and what I can do to fix the situation. Integrity and honesty, especially when it comes to my kids seeing it. We all make mistakes, but those of us who admit our mistakes instead of trying to pretend they never happened are much better off. I already apologized to my wife and daughter about my swearing incident (and they know it's not who I am). I hope my neighbor can move past the people who might have wronged him in the past and realize that I am not those people. Maybe he also needs to reflect on the man he really is, too, especially if blaming others for his failings is typical. 

I wish I could offer more concrete advice. I saw one 60s sitcom where the wives got together and figured it all out for their husbands. But I saw another more recent one when the wives got together and made a feud worse. Plus, sitcoms are not real life. Maybe our kids will be friends in high school. My plan is to move on and start walking past the house again. I am hoping I don't have to keep my phone recording the whole time, but since it's Jacksonville, that's probably the best idea.

Monday, January 4

Save Money on Gas

I was excited when AAA changed its partnership to Shell and offered $.05 / gallon discount to members. Then, T-Mobile bought Sprint and gave me another weekly discount at Shell. Now, I also started using the Getupside app for another discount on fill ups, and you should, too.

While my Shell rewards doesn't allow me to fully stack the rewards, I do get "cash" back from Getupside that can be used for Amazon or Walmart gift cards. Instead of the normal $.12 per gallon, I get $.085 per gallon while saving $.05 at the pump, for a total of 13.5 pennies back per gallon. When gas is as low as $2.00 a gallon, that's a decent 6.75% off. I'm also not limited to Shell with Getupside, so I can just take the $.12 per gallon at a cheaper gas station that also offers my preference of top tier gasoline, though I have yet to research which local ones would be my best bet.

Male Fashion and Lifestyle: 3 Things Every Man Needs



Since I started wearing my Christmas present a bit early, I was asked about my watch by someone. It's a hybrid watch, which means it looks and acts like an old-fashioned watch but adds some smart watch features. I'd kind of missed having a watch since the Kansas movers stole my last one on our way to Jacksonville. Anyhow, the topic is watches, and this guy tells me there are three things every man should have: a tie, a watch, and a cologne collection. 

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