• Hiter to Run for Office in Washington County

    Hiter to Run for Office in Washington County

    Aldous Hiter, a long time Washington County resident, will run for a position as a county supervisor in the upcoming election. His hopes are that, despite his name bearing a resemblance to Aldoph Hitler, he will be elected nonetheless, since he plans on running as a Republican. Hiter said, "I Read More
  • Proof of Out of State Protesters in Madison

    Proof of Out of State Protesters in Madison

    Whether it's 2011 or 2015, unions appear to bring protesters from outside of Wisconsin to Madison to attempt to intimidate Scott Walker. Governor Scott Walker has said that out of state protesters now outnumber those from Wisconsin who are protesting the bill that would kill their unions. Real Wisconsin News Read More
  • Canadian Scientists to Clone Jesus

    Canadian Scientists to Clone Jesus

    DNA from Tomb in Jerusalem Raided to Clone Messiah What if God was one of us, and not just an annoying refrain from a Joan Osborne song? What if we could harness the DNA of God, and maybe make our own a little better for the effort? What if we Read More
  • Milwaukee Gun Buyback Program Scrapped; Bullet-proof Vests to be Offered Instead

    Milwaukee Gun Buyback Program Scrapped; Bullet-proof Vests to be Offered Instead

    The Milwaukee Gun Buyback Program has done little to stop violent crimes in the city, so some in the community are suggesting alternatives that may result in a safer city without having to pay people to go and steal guns. The program has paid up to $150 for handguns and Read More
  • Real Wisconsin News Offers Our Thoughts and Prayers

    Real Wisconsin News has made it official policy to extend our thoughts and prayers to you at this difficult time. We know you are suffering, and we realize that a real discussion might help you to cope with how you feel, but we would rather offer thoughts and prayers. The Read More
  • West Allis

    West Allis to Give Up

    The city of West Allis, after years of trying really hard, has decided to give up. The city has been ridiculed by others for some time, and though giving up never seemed to be an option before, it recently read an article about why people give up that made all Read More
  • Wisconsin's Own Ke-Ke Watson Wins Race Card Player of The Decade

    All Other Nominees to Call Their Lawyers Kewaunda “Ke-Ke” Watson of Germantown has Won the Society of Unified Entities’ Race Card Playa of the Decade Award for her “consistent and successful use of the race card in reaching her own personal goals.” Every ten years, thousands of African Americans, mostly Read More
  • Say Hello To Our Little Friend

    Real Wisconsin News is real good, but if you're looking for real news that's not in Wisconsin, not fake, and not actually news, then New Jax Witty is our little friend in Jacksonville, Florida. The news is in the form of researched opinion. And it has nothing to do with Read More
  • I Like the Way Alex Molinaroli Says F-You To The World

    I Like the Way Alex Molinaroli Says F-You To The World

    As an independently wealthy business consultant, I can tell you how good it feels to tell others to go f-themselves. Like if someone doesn’t detail my BMW properly when it gets washed. However, there are some situations when I want to go tell a client to f-off, but I just Read More
  • Lemurs Claim Ryan Braun as One of Their Own

    Lemurs Claim Ryan Braun as One of Their Own

    Quick, name five lemurs who have played professional sports! Stumped? Well you are not alone. Lemurs have a long history in professional sports (Pete Sampras, for example), but many see them as inferior to their more human counterparts. This is why lemurs across the globe are celebrating Ryan Braun as Read More
  • Donald Trump: What We Say Versus What We Mean

    What we say and what we mean about Donald Trump. These words apply to both liberal and conservative, friend and foe. Probably even offspring and wives. What we say: He’s a successful businessman What we mean: He runs companies into the ground yet stays rich. He fails time and again Read More
  • President-Elect Donald Trump Says Most Female Leaders Would Not be His First Choice

    President-Elect Donald Trump Says Most Female Leaders Would Not be His First Choice

    Donald Trump won America over by telling it like it is, and the fact is that most female heads of state are not beautiful women. Trump has been reluctant to give specifics, but based on past criticism of women, it would make sense that only two female leaders would make Read More
  • News Never Covered by Failing, Fake News Media Outlets

    The following is a list of news items not covered by media outlets and brought to our attention by the White House. Bowling Green, May 2011 What happened: In the first major terrorist cover up by the media as directed by terrorist supporter in chief Barack Hussein Obamadan, two Iraqi Read More
  • Top Response to Corey Feldman's Song Performance: I Thought He Was Dead

    Nearly defining irony, the top-rated response to Americans viewing the Corey Feldman song performance in September of 2016 was, "I thought he was dead." Obviously, the second response, and the one that has become the focus of social media, was, "That was weird." While it is possible Corey Feldman died Read More
  • H-V-A-C Not H-VAC

    I had a customer the other day say H-Vac instead of H-V-A-C. What a moron! Those of us in the industry know that it's right to say each individual letter in the word, and it makes a difference. If I was an H-Vac guy, I'd be selling vacuum cleaners, but Read More
  • Christian Blogger is Sexy - That's Why we Care

    Christian Blogger is Sexy - That's Why we Care

    I didn’t read the babe’s blog, but I guess she’s probably decent looking, or else no one would have cared that she was going to stop wearing yoga pants or spandex or whatever. Am I right? If some 300 pounder or some crack addict wanted to find Christ and stop Read More
  • Hillary Clinton Touched Me Inappropriately

    While at a hotel in Philadelphia several weeks ago, I was surprised by Hillary Clinton. She was not the robot I’d come to expect.. As I rode the elevator next to her, I couldn’t help but glance her way. Though she seemed weak from her apparent pneumonia and her face Read More
  • Betsy DeVos Answers 10 Questions from Education Week

    Education Week offered ten questions that it assumed Betsy DeVos, incoming education secretary, would not answer. However, Real Wisconsin News has obtained the following answers from the Trump appointee (in bold). You've been a strong advocate for charters. Nationally, only about 6% of students attend these schools. Leaving aside the Read More
  • Pussy Grabbing Sweeping Nation’s High Schools

    After Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky by getting blow jobs, male students across the country began using The Slick Willie argument with their female classmates, and fellatio became a part of the normal high school rite of passage in the late 90s (to the dismay Read More
  • A Real Wisconsin Parents Guide to Controlling Your Kids

    A Real Wisconsin Parents Guide to Controlling Your Kids

    Parents today are faced with a choice—allow your kids to figure things out for themselves, or control their every move. If parents allow kids to be on their own, this freedom will result in pregnancy, drug addiction, and jail time. While some parents are comfortable with allowing their children to Read More
  • Milwaukee County to House, Reform Juvenile Criminals Downtown

    Milwaukee County currently pays nearly $300 per day for juvenile delinquents housed at the Copper Lake Girls School and the Lincoln Hills School for Boys. The locations present problems for family visits and have been under scrutiny for alleged indiscretions. County Executive Chris Abele has made the decision to move Read More
  • Menomonee Falls High School to Change Mascot from Indians to Indians

    High schools in Wisconsin have been able to retain their Native American mascots under the rule of Scott Walker, but Menomonee Falls has decided to go ahead and change the high school mascot without any nudging from the state. While it might first appear that the school is keeping the Read More
  • Economist Explains School Business Model

    A leading economist has released a synopsis of how public schools need to follow a business model in a new book. Chapter One discusses teachers as managers and students as labor, with Parents functioning as the board of directors, and taxpayers acting as customers, while State/Fed government are upper management. Read More
  • Young Conservative Parents Pay Homage to Trump and Company With Naming Rights

    Conservative Parents have traditionally used traditional names for their children, even as some of them make valiant efforts to be as unique as artsy, liberal parents. While there have been spikes in names like George, Barbara, and Nancy within the past few decades, imaginative conservatives have chosen Reagan as a Read More
  • Romper Article Fully Explains Hillary's Loss

    Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost joked that Tinder's move to make 37 gender identity options available was why Hillary lost the election. A Romper article made the argument, in majestically ivory towerish tones, that it's unfair to blame the results of the election on "a hurting, marginalized community with a Read More
  • More Secure Schools Coming Our Way

    More Secure Schools Coming Our Way

    Plans for new schools will be adopted all over the nation in response to President Trump’s suggestion that they be more secure. The new schools will ensure that students are able to learn without fear of being targeted by fellow students with assault rifles. These schools will be able to Read More
  • Scott Walker’s New College Plan to Halt Wisconsin's Brain Drain

    Scott Walker’s New College Plan to Halt Wisconsin's Brain Drain

    New College Plan To Reflect Walker's Own College Career The new three-year Walker Degree to be offered at state colleges and universities is part of Scott Walker’s plan to bolster Wisconsin’s already elite standing as a top college state. The plan, expected to provide employers with a considerable increase in Read More
  • Government Officials Across US to Follow Samsung Lead, Offer Pizza

    National, state, and local governments are paying close attention to Samsung's handling of its Note 7 debacle, taking notes on how to handle dissatisfied customers and employees. The consumer electronics giant that developed exploding phones has sent pizza to all of the stores in South Korea that have to take Read More
  • Food Stamp Challenge to Stamp Out Debt

    Food Stamp Challenge to Stamp Out Debt

    At first, the idea of the Food Stamp Challenge was for Americans to see what it’s like to live in poverty and spend a mere one dollar per meal, but organizers of the effort are now touting their challenge as a way for Americans spend less on food and pay Read More
  • Did Foxconn Outfox and Outcon Wisconsin’s Scott Walker?

    Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has been excited about the Foxconn deal for Wisconsin, though he did avoid talking about it after the signing. Wisconsin residents are asking whether it's a good deal for the state to add Foxconn to its payroll. In fact, the state will be paying new employees Read More
  • Typical White American Male Response to Melania Trump

    Melania Trump tends to take a backseat to Donald Trump, and it's for good reason. While she is seen as a gorgeous "businesswoman" by most Trump supporters, even then most die-hard Trump Train riders can't help but think she's "kind of retarded" when she speaks. In fact, when Mrs. Trump Read More
  • New Pica Diet Sweeping the Nation

    New Pica Diet Sweeping the Nation

    America is buzzing about the new diet sensation long thought to be only an eating disorder: Pica. The diet allows people to eat anything they want, as long as the food is made up of non-nutritive substances. As an added bonus, the food is inexpensive and commonly found around the Read More
  • Jesus Sues Jagermeister for Logo Infringement

    Mere days after the company that owns Jagermeister liqueur accused the Milwaukee Bucks of using a deer logo too similar in design to its own deer head, Jesus of Nazareth has joined the dispute by claiming Jagermeister 's logo is not without fault. According to Jesus, "I said unto the Read More
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Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Guide to Running a Hurricane Newscast
    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.


    I can't talk about the other channels too much, since Action News JAX is the channel that comes in on my antenna better than any other, but I sure can talk about the Fox 30 / CBS 47 news reporting of a hurricane. This article was compiled over two days, so it might seem as disjointed as the news coverage of Dorian, but it gives you an idea of how I see the business of covering a hurricane. It happens that this particular hurricane did not do a whole lot to Jacksonville, which (you could tell) was a general disappointment to the news media that needed to be explained rather than hailed as extraordinarily good luck.

    Ads and Weather Team

    Mostly, the ads indicate that something bad is, was, or will be happening. Buresh is calm and will help me make it through. It does not mention the reporters, whose job it is to add to the chaos and fear. But that's cool, as long as Buresh is there for us. Also reporting weather will be Garrett, who is seemingly more handsome than any man deserves to be (and is therefore a little suspect), as well as Corey, and Stacey. They will save us from the evil that is nature. God-like, I suppose, though Stacey Garvilla, in her flowing dresses, often seems more like a sea witch--the good kind. Also, I did not see Marithza Ross in the two days that I watched on-and-off, but she also probably has some supernatural qualities. 

    The most important part of the newscast is the weather, so we get a lot of that, but it's changing all the time, so the weather people need others to keep us entertained while we wait for new info-graphics or updated maps. Until the weather team has been on the air for the better part of 24 hours straight, they are pretty spot-on. You can tell that Buresh starts to get tired at some point when he's walking in the wrong direction or peering into the wrong camera, which he never does when he's well-rested. He tries really hard not to seem cranky or embarrassed about the fact that the high winds are about 5 miles offshore rather than battering our coast, but you know that he's trying to convince people it made sense to cancel school for three days for a storm that's equivalent to an afternoon thunderstorm. He also knows that he needs ratings, and that he needs to keep it together enough so that we believe the next hurricane forecast rather than assume it's all about sensationalism. It's not, at least for the weather team.

    Anchors
    More worthless than normal, the anchors are really there to direct traffic. Out to the reporters when the weather team needs to work on their computers. Back to themselves for expert opinions on being good-looking on TV. Then over to the weather team, sometimes with a question that's already been answered 30 times during the past two days of coverage. Lots of thoughts and prayers, along with reminders to be safe. If it was a family, the anchors are Mom and Dad, the meteorologist is your straight-laced-know-it-all, god-like grandpa, and the sports guys are your dopey uncles with beer-holder hats (and luckily not part of the hurricane coverage). And the reporters. They are the tattle-tale cousins and siblings who are always looking to get a better Christmas gift from Grandma if they bust you for riding on the ATV or climbing the silo without permission.

    Reporters
    Russel Colburn is in St. Augustine in his Storm Tracker Jeep, driving up and down the same flood-prone street, and continuously resting on his laurels on how he drove around in the last hurricane when it flooded the town, showing us video of that rerun over and over, like Uncle Rico making awesome throws on VHS. At one point, Russ assures us that his Jeep is made for this kind of stuff, so we don't have to worry about him. He also calls attention to the 360 cam on top of the Jeep, and I start to wonder if he takes it home and washes it every week instead of spending time with his girlfriend. From what I can tell, Russel is driving up and down the same street. Or maybe he is just showing us a loop of a drive he took several hours ago and he's sitting in the Jeep in his driveway. And you know the other reporters are all wondering why Russel gets to drive around like he's the Pope while they all stand in water to get stories. 

    Someone is near the Beach Boulevard Bridge. This is presumably because the bridge will be closed at some point. She's also near some boats, so we get to see them dance around behind her once in a while. Maybe the someone is Megan? Moriarty...you know, she reminds me of my wife a few years back. In fact, why are most of the reporters still in college at Action News Jax? Is this an internship? Maybe Miss Moriarty was by the bridge. Maybe it was Christy "Page" Turner, who says the words "Action News JAX" with a special emphasis on the "s" sounds, possibly as some kind of subliminal message. The good kind. I don't think it was Amber Krycka because she was standing near another bridge by Jekyll Island. Wait, were most of the men on the beach and women next to bridges? I thought Lorena Inclan was also next to a bridge somewhere. Weird.

    Ryan and Jamario are on the beach. Each of them shine flashlights on the dunes and then out to the water, which isn't really all that intense. Businesses are closed, but it's late at night, so that makes sense, anyhow. Both of them also say that they are monitoring something or other. And they both let the water creep up enough to get their shoes wet. It's like when you go to Summerfest on a sweltering day with that girl from school who's all innocent and nice, and then a downpour rolls in, and she goes and stands in the rain, arms reaching up in ecstasy, in her white concert shirt. Except this is Ryan and Jamario instead. 

    Dani Bozzini is somewhere, but I don't even care where she is, since she talks like she just got off work at the steel mill. Or out of prison. She tells me something about the place she's at and all I can hear is this loud, brash girl my sister tried to fix me up with at a bar one time. All the other people at the bar were looking at us, so I didn't hear a word she said because I was all worried about what those other people were thinking. Still, I'd probably hang out with Dani at a bar.

    Ben Becker stands in the water, which probably makes the waves look bigger. His camera operator avoids showing all the families enjoying strolls on the beach as Ben reminds us about how the pier fell down twice before. And that the construction crane (near the people sightseeing on the beach) could fall down at any time, since it's rated at getting through winds of 150mph, and our 40mph winds are somehow somewhere near that. Buresh and his hand puppet Garrett agree that you could maybe add 20mph to the winds up at the top of the crane, not based on any science or reasoning, but on the fact that they want to shut Ben up before he starts making any other outlandish claims. Until next time Becker's number is called, the crane is not in any immediate danger. In between being live, I imagine Ben going over to the crane and trying to rock it back and forth to get the party started.

    Elizabeth Pace is standing in water in a neighborhood. She interviews a guy who seems annoyed by her because he has somewhere to be walking to, and she says  the word "again" like she's either Canadian or from East-Coast old money. She tells me about the jackasses making a wake in the street water, and the only one that I've seen doing this is Russel (The Love Mussel?), who actually got yelled at by the fuzz live on the air for making a wake in his beloved Storm Tracker Jeep. Pace rhymes with face, and Elizabeth has a pretty face, but she just needs to say her "Action News JAX" sign-off in some kind of special way (like C. Turner) so that I can pick her out of a lineup of reporters, which would include Amber K and several other young blondes who seem to work part time while attending UNF.

    Bridget Matter is standing in, and then walking in, a St. Augustine street, which is filled with 6" of water. She could be walking on the dry sidewalk 30 feet away, but it makes more sense to get in the way of traffic in order to show the audience what 6" of water looks like in a street that she admits floods quite often. Probably right after Mom and Dad in the studio reminded us to stay out of flood waters because of snakes, bacteria, and debris.

    For all the constant warnings to residents to stay out of the water, it seems that the first instinct of every reporter is to go stand in some water. I'm sure that's in the Hurricane Reporting Handbook by Jim Cantore. I also found it ironic that the news reporters kept pressing local sheriffs about whether or not people who got IN the water to surf or whatnot would get arrested, almost as if they were tattling. No police officer wants to have to arrest some gnarly righteous dude who's just trying to catch a monster wave. He'd probably rather arrest Ben Becker for standing waist-deep in the ocean near the pier for no good reason, other than to keep people going for a nice walk on the beach out of the frame.

    Final Thoughts
    Hurricane news coverage is all about manipulation of the audience. The news channels will say again and again that they are not sensationalizing the coverage, but the reporters are all stationed in places that they are hoping will provide something sensational. We are shown pictures of past destruction, either from the storm upon us or from previous storms, and that's certainly meant to frighten viewers. Sure, the weather team is calm and scientific, but everyone else is part of a circus set up to attract the most viewers. If the city or the news wants to use the sensational to get people to evacuate, that's one thing, but once the coverage of the event starts, I'm not so sure it's what I want to see as I ignore evacuation orders in my home--I'd rather know if there's water or wind coming my way. That said, I totally understand why it's done, since I'd change the channel pretty quickly if I had to watch Bachman stumble over simple words for hours on end. Mostly, I'd just tell reporters to stop standing in the water so much, since it makes the practice seem like the cool thing to do. It's not like I need to go stand in my pond every time it rains just to confirm it's wet outside.

    Search New Jax Witty

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  • New-to-Florida Guide to Pressure Washers
    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. 

    I first thought rental. That would have cost me $75, assuming I would have gotten the pressure washer for a day. Since I have some issues with my hands, and it seems that there's lots of squeezing of triggers, I'd assume I would have wanted it for the full day. There's also the hassle of having to reserve it for the weekend, or else get the item after work and hope the sun doesn't set too fast. I had two weeks to comply with my HOA demands, so there was probably time, but I also decided to see which pressure washers I could buy for a reasonable amount of money. 

    The Home Depot rental would have been a professional gas unit, but I wanted to see what I could get in electric. Obviously, the average homeowner does not need an industrial-strength pressure washer sitting around, especially a gas one that requires maintenance. There are all kinds of websites that claim to rate pressure washers, but I get the feeling that they are all just AI-created sites that take Amazon ratings and put them into paragraphs. The good thing is that those sites at least eliminate some of the cheap Chinese knockoff units. Granted, all the units are probably Chinese, but some that are sold seem to inflate numbers and use inferior fittings and pumps. In fact, I'd stick only with brands that seem to be real and that offer a 1 or 2-year warranty. These include AR, Sun Joe, Greenworks, Karcher, and Stanley. 

    When you search on Amazon, there will be a lot of "Sponsored Links" to units that look quite a bit like the units named above, more impressive numbers, and about 20 5-star reviews. That's a clear sign that those are knockoffs. They might be made in the same factory in China, but I'd be careful with those. 

    I had decided on either an ARor Karcherpressure washer at first, though the Karcher seemed too pricey for the numbers it put out. The Sun Joe I liked had more lower-star reviews. Then I read some more, and I talked myself out of and into several upgraded or downgraded versions. Here's the basics that I was looking for: around 2,000 PSI and around 1.5 gpm. If those two numbers are about that (and not inflated), the reviews seemed to indicate the unit would work to kill dirt on my driveway. 

    After going back and forth on Amazon, I ended up finding a Stanley on Walmart (also on Amazon) that met my criteria and could be at my house in one day, which was important at this point, since the HOA letter was now about a week old. The two mega-companies are selling the unit for the same price, so it's more about which billionaire you want to support. The numbers on mine: 
    2,150 PSI
    1.4 GPM
    25 Foot Soft Flexible Hose
    35 Foot Power Cord
    0°, 15°, 25° & 40° Nozzles
    2-year warranty 
    When I got the box, I could tell parts (pump, at least) were made by AR. That probably explains the better warranty. But would this electric pressure washer work on my Florida driveway and sidewalk? 

    Yes and kind of. 

    I tested the unit out with the 0° nozzle, and I could tell that it was powerful enough to take dirt off the sidewalk.I could also tell that this laser beam-type nozzle would take hours and hours of frustrating work to finish a driveway and sidewalk. It kind of made a bunch of squiggly lines of clean surrounded by lots of dirt. 

    I then used the 15° nozzle, and it worked pretty well. Still, I could tell it would take several hours of work to get the job done, but at least this nozzle was more like a paintbrush than an erratic pen. 

    I also tried the 25°, but it required me to get very close to work, which basically made it the 15° nozzle with me bent over more. 

    Several hours later, I was done. I've read that the concrete scrubber attachments for these electric models don't work all that well, but I cannot confirm or deny that. What I can say is that for $150, or double the amount to rent a machine, I was able to buy a power washer that had enough pressure to do the job, eventually. 

    If I find other projects around the house before the next driveway and sidewalk cleaning, that's a bonus, but I figure I'll clean the concrete once a year and make the purchase worthwhile before the warranty is up. This pressure washer, like many others, has a foam cannon for cars, so I might have to try that out, too. But mostly, I'm satisfied that it did the job it was supposed to do. 

    One note, however, is that there is no lock on the handle, which means my hands got very tired until I wrapped a wire around it like I have for my old lawnmower. This is obviously not recommended by the manufacturer and could be dangerous, so I'm not telling YOU to do it, but if you have to squeeze a trigger for two hours, it will probably annoy you. 

    This is probably the best unit I could get for a few reasons: 
    It has a 2-year warranty, and even the ARs only have 1-year.
    It uses the standard quick-connect attachments as opposed to proprietary, and I might get an attachment to take care of the sewer main line. 
    It has enough power to get the job I wanted done without the need for gas power. 
    It's electric, so no maintenance. And quieter than gas.
    It's small enough to fit in the yard shed with my lawn mower. 


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    Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
    Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
    McNewsy - Creative Writing
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  • Male Fashion and Lifestyle: $100 Shoes
    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.

    I got a new job, and my old shoes were looking a little rough, as you can see in the photo. I had wondered why I was sliding around while going in for my interview in my $12 suit. Anyhow, I had a few days before the job was to begin, so I figured I'd splurge on some new shoes. My daily cross-walkers were in bad shape, too, so I decided two pairs of dressier shoes and two pairs of walking/standing shoes would be nice. But the way I shop for shoes, it's kind of a gamble. 

    I sometimes get shoes when the kids get theirs if there's some kind of BOGO deal or something. Or I get the really cheapo Academy Sports house brand, but I'd checked those out recently, the style was a little too young for me. That's ironic, since $30 shoes at the local sporting goods store must be targeted at cheap oldish guys like me, not millennials with cash to burn. Anyhow, with the brick and mortar stores not doing it for me, I spent about 30 minutes on 6pm.com. I'd gotten shoes there before, and I was fairly happy with the results. You just have to remember that these are going to be total clearance aisle deals, which means last chance before they head off on a plane for Uganda or somewhere, which means some of the shoes are really stupid looking. 

    I've been the same size since middle school, so that's not much of a problem. You can search for just your size. I was prepared to up or down a haf size, but I didn't have to in the end, since my daughter liked the black dress shoe in my normal size. Unfortunately, that was the only shoe that came which felt a little too big, but still manageable. I think it's free returns or whatever, but for $25, I told my daughter I'd just donate any pair that didn't work out. 

    Two pairs of Avia cross trainers or whatever the sporty shoes that you don't really play sports in are called. Avias used to be a decent brand, and these are pretty nice for $25. Better than some of the $40 shoes I've gotten in the past few years, anyhow. I also got some black dress shoes that have kind of a casual look to them, since I'm not trying to impress too much. And a pair of brown shoes for those days when brown shoes work best. Three or four times a month, from past experience. The dress shoes, even though they are not real leather, should last me a few years. The Avias should last at least as long as most shoes like them that I buy, maybe a year or so, even though my wife says I should replace them more often. 

    The bottom line is that I have new shoes that will look good enough for some time, and I didn't have to take out a loan to get them. If you make all kinds of money, then these Clarks are Amazon best sellers at $50 or so, and they look a lot like what I got. If you want to impress yourself and about one other person at work, then these Gordon Rush shoes, which also look similar to my $25 shoes, can be had for $225. You can then join the ranks of guys who talk like this: 
    Well, I always considered myself an a. edmonds guy. But this oxfords immediately caught my attention while perusing at bloomie.
    But just in case you don't hang out at Bloomie's too often, you might want to try your luck at 6pm. 

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

    You can bury your head in the sand and your money in the pockets of the private schools, but Jacksonville needs a strong public school system for your private school to matter. It's tempting to just write the public schools off, invite friends and family to your private school, and figure the whole problem is solved. The problem is that Jacksonville still has a very large public school system, even if your kids aren't in it. That means your kids might have friends, neighbors, competitors, and even rivals who attend the local public schools. You should want those children to do well in school, and you should want them to be good human beings. Addressing facilities concerns is always part of running a school, and private schools have to rely on tuition and donations, while public schools have to rely on referendums. While there's a lot of bureaucracy in a large public school, there are also checks and balances, and the powers that be are not going to build something extraordinarily ridiculous just to spend more of your money. They will build and maintain school buildings. 

    As a private school parent, you also want to kick the charter schools out of the equation, if at all possible. Charter schools are in the business of stealing. These schools steal the best public school students, but they also steal a fair share of private school students, taking some of your kids away. They operate without all the restrictions of public schools, yet receive public money. These schools are often run by groups from other countries who live in mansions and hire only family members. Or they are run by Americans who pad the pockets of local politicians for favors and drive swanky cars. Yes, they are also sometimes run by people who want kids to get a great education, but even those charter schools steal students away from your private school. These schools should not benefit disproportionately in a sales tax for Duval Public Schools. In fact, I'd argue they should not benefit at all, and you probably should, too. 

    I assume that the goal for those in politics who want to stop any kind of DCPS sales tax (or make it as much about charter schools as public schools) are looking to kill the public school system in Jacksonville. The argument would be that a network of charter schools could provide the same services at a lower cost, with the added benefit of eliminating one of the largest unions in the state. If you're a private school parent, that probably seems enticing. However, a public school system is a stabilizing force in a city. I don't think most of us have the imaginations to even consider the ramifications of opening up Duval to nothing but charter schools. Every two-bit educational consultant in the country would flock in to get a piece of the action. There'd be winners and losers, with losers shuttering schools after years or maybe months. Yes, we can create a free market system for schools in the city, but it's scary to think about how that might look. And if it's really bad, like worse than DCPS now, then your kids and their accomplishments will look weak because there's no real competition. 

    Whether Duval's public schools get smacked down by investment in charter schools or non-investment in facilities, a poor public school system will continue to send more and more families to St. Johns County. Sure, you can still live here and send your kids to the local private school, but the other families who just want a decent public school will leave Duval for another county, leaving you to live in neighborhoods with retirees, childless millennials, and others who may not share your values. 

    Lastly, we need decent public schools in Duval because we might need to use them at some point. You might lose that hotshot job you now have. My own kids will graduate from the k-8 school they are at. You might even realize that there are some benefits to sending your kids into a good public school so that they can learn about people who aren't just like their parents. If you're stuck in Duval and the public schools are lacking, then your kids will be stuck in something you'd rather they not have. But that does not have to be the case. 

    Private school parents pay just as much for Duval County Public Schools as public school parents and charter school parents. Usually more, based on property taxes. Even though my kids go to a private school, my say counts as much as those other parents, and I say that Duval County Public Schools needs to have facilities that are on-par with other large public schools in the state. I also say that charter schools do not deserve ANY of the money, but if they do get some, then I say private schools should be able to get some, too (why not?). I say that I want Duval's students to be able to compete with, challenge, and push my kids, whether they are currently at the same school, will be for high school, or even if they don't meet until college. Mostly, I say that Jacksonville only stays relevant as a city if it can make its public schools desirable to all those people moving to the Sunshine State.  

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  • Does HOA collect police reports for crimes in my neighborhood?
    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.

    I read that in a town in the Southwest, an HOA was being sued because a house that had been deemed a nuisance was not foreclosed on, resulting in a child being killed in a drive-by shooting meant for the residents of the nuisance house. I agree with the people bringing the lawsuit. If the HOA's sole purpose is to maintain property values, then people who bring crime to the neighborhood should be forced out, just like someone who might never mow the grass or  pay HOA dues. 

    When one of our neighbors brought two violent incidents to our block, I wrote to my HOA and to the owner of the rented house. I mentioned the lawsuit above to the HOA, and I told both entities that other neighbors had confirmed to me that the police showed up at the house several times before we'd moved in. I myself had seen a member of the household arrested a couple months before the violence. So three incidents in about four months, and I decided it was time for the family to move on. I never really received much of a response, but the family DID move out within a couple of weeks. Maybe the family realized it was time for a fresh start, but I'd like to think that getting involved helped to push them. However, I also believe the HOA and rental company would have either not known about it or ignored the problem without my letters. 


    Crime, however, is often a result of people from outside of the neighborhood. That crime itself may not be the responsibility of the HOA, but installing a trail camera on a cell phone plan with a solar power battery pack might do the trick to capture trespassers. Any kind of camera, really. See if the police will install one. Even a fake camera might deter one crime. I'd let a wifi camera on my street use my guest wifi, as well, and I assume some of my other neighbors would, too.

    The HOA could go semi-all-out and install an automatic gate without a code, along with a powered camera that stores video. If there's no code, anyone can get into the neighborhood, but it slows people down and ensures everyone entering knows they are on camera. The good news is that the roads are still public and part of the city.  

    Maybe HOA bylaws need to include more about crime and nuisance homes, especially in an area like Jacksonville. Crime is spread out in this town. Maybe back when my HOA was formed in 2004, there was no crime in East Arlington, but that's not the case today. Homeowners need to expect more out of their HOAs, as property value is more about crime than a nice pool and paint color of the houses. 






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  • Jacksonville List of Neighborhoods
    I 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.


    The lists are in alphabetical order by region. Jacksonville is big, so it's divided into six planning zones: A (Arlington and Beaches), N (North), NW (Northwest), SE (Southeast), SW (Southwest), and U (Urban Core). I wanted to make a visual grid map using a table, but it's just so big. Also, I do understand alphabetical, but it would be nice on a map if the letter-number combinations were adjacent, but that's just an opinion, and we're pretty much stuck with alpha order now. I think a couple of names were cut off because of length, but this is a fairly comprehensive neighborhood list for Jacksonville/Duval.

    It's also interesting to note that if Jacksonville ever made the move to un-consolidate, the six zones would be the most likely separate cities.


    A01 Alderman Park
    A02 Arlington
    A03 Arlington Hills
    A04 Arlington Manor
    A05 Arlingtonwood
    A06 Atlantic Blvd. Estate
    A07 Atantic Highlands
    A08 Beachwood
    A09 Beacon Hills & Harbour
    A10 Charter Point
    A11 Clifton
    A12 Cobblestone
    A13 Colony Cove
    A14 East Arlington
    A15 Empire Point
    A16 Fara Ways Forrest
    A17 Fort Caroline Shores
    A18 Gilmore
    A19 Girvin
    A20 Glynea/Grove Park
    A21 Golden Glades/The Woods
    A22 Hidden Hills
    A23 Hogan
    A24 Holiday Harbors
    A25 Holiday Hill/Century
    A26 Holly Oaks
    A27 Lake Lucina
    A28 Love Grove/Riviera Ma
    A29 Mayport
    A30 Monterey
    A31 North Beach
    A32 Oak Haven
    A33 Park Ridge
    A34 Regency
    A35 St. Johns Bluff
    A36 St. Nicholas
    A37 Sandlewood
    A38 Southside Estates
    A39 Spring Glen
    A40 University Park
    A41 Woodland Acrea
    A42 Woodmere
    Atlantic Beach
    Baldwin
    Jacksonville Beach
    N01 Biscayne
    N02 Biscayne Terrace
    N03 Black Hammock Island
    N04 Blount Island
    N05 Brown Island
    N06 College Park
    N07 Copper Hill
    N08 Dinsmore
    N09 Duval
    N10 Eagle Bend
    N11 East Point
    N12 Forrest Trails
    N13 Fort George Island
    N14 Garden City
    N15 Highlands
    N16 Hollyford
    N17 Imeson Park
    N18 Jax. North Estates
    N19 Jamestown
    N20 Little Marsh Hill
    N21 New Berlin
    N22 North New Berlin
    N23 North Lake
    N24 Oceanway
    N25 Pecan
    N26 Pumpkin Hill
    N27 San Mateo
    N28 The Cape
    N29 Turtle Creek
    Neptune Beach
    NW01 Allendale
    NW02 Biltmore
    NW03 Bulls Bay
    NW04 Carver Manor
    NW05 Cisco Gardens
    NW06 College Gardens
    NW07 Commonwealth
    NW08 Crystal Springs
    NW09 Edgewood
    NW10 Edgewood Manor
    NW11 Grand Park
    NW12 Harborview
    NW13 Lackawanna
    NW14 Lake Forrest
    NW15 Lake Forrest Hills
    NW16 Lincoln Hills
    NW17 Magnolia Gardens
    NW18 Marrietta
    NW19 Mixon Town
    NW20 Murray Hill
    NW21 New Town
    NW22 Normandy
    NW23 Normandy Estates
    NW24 Normandy Village
    NW25 Osceola Forrest
    NW26 Panama Park
    NW27 Paxton
    NW28 Picketville
    NW29 Ribault
    NW30 Riverside
    NW31 Riverview
    NW32 Robinsons Addition
    NW33 Rolling Hills
    NW34 Royal Terrace
    NW35 Sherwood Forrest
    NW36 Tallulah/ North Shore
    NW37 Whitehouse
    NW38 Woodstock
    NW39 45th & Moncrief
    SE01 Arrowhead
    SE02 Avenues
    SE03 Bayard
    SE04 Baymeadows
    SE05 Baymeadows Center
    SE06 Beach Haven
    SE07 Beauclec
    SE08 Bowden
    SE09 Brackridge
    SE10 Briarwood
    SE11 Craven
    SE12 Deercreek
    SE13 Deerwood
    SE14 Deerwood Center
    SE15 Del Rio
    SE16 Englewood
    SE17 Goodbys Creek
    SE18 Greenfield Monor
    SE19 Greenland
    SE20 Isle of Palms
    SE21 Julington Creek
    SE22 Kilarney Shores
    SE23 Lakewood
    SE24 Loretto
    SE25 Mandarin
    SE26 Mandarin Station
    SE27 Miramer
    SE28 Monclair
    SE29 Pickwick Park
    SE30 Pine Forrest
    SE31 Royal Lakes
    SE32 San Jose
    SE33 San Jose Forrest
    SE34 San Marco
    SE35 Sans Pareil
    SE36 Sans Souci
    SE37 Secret Cove
    SE38 South Riverside
    SE39 South Point
    SE40 Southwood
    SE41 Spring Park
    SE42 Sunbeam
    SE43 Tiger Hole/ Secret Wo
    SE44 Windy Hill
    SW01 Argyle Forrest
    SW02 Avondale
    SW03 Cedar Hills
    SW04 Cedar Hills Estates
    SW05 Chimmey Lakes
    SW06 Confederate Point
    SW07 Duclay
    SW08 Duclay Forest
    SW09 Fairfax
    SW10 Herlong
    SW11 Hillcrest
    SW12 Hyde park
    SW13 Jacksonville Farms/Te
    SW14 Jacksonville Heights
    SW16 Jax Heights West
    SW17 Jax Naval Air Station
    SW18 Lakeshore
    SW19 Maxville
    SW20 McGirts Creek
    SW21 Normandy Manor
    SW22 Oak Hill
    SW23 Ortega
    SW24 Ortega Farms
    SW25 Ortega Forest
    SW26 Ortega Hills
    SW27 Otis
    SW28 Settlers Landing
    SW29 Sweetwater
    SW30 Venetia
    SW31 Wesconnett
    SW32 Yukon
    U01 Brentwood
    U02 Brooklyn
    U03 Downtown Jacksonville
    U04 East Jacksonville
    U05 Fairfield
    U06 Hogans Creek
    U07 LaVilla
    U08 Longbranch
    U09 Midtown
    U10 Mid Westside
    U11 Moncrief
    U12 Phoenix
    U13 Springfield
    U14 Southside
    U15 Tallyrand
    U16 29th & Chase

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  • Top 4 Spots in Jacksonville's Arlington Neighborhood
    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.
    So, I was not only reading an article that accessed my location in order to serve the right content, but the content itself was provided by the businesses being reviewed. Sure, the star-ratings were from Yelp, which is semi-reliable, but there is no real indication that these four restaurants were the top-rated restaurants on Yelp. I assume that they were the four Arlington restaurants that paid to be part of an advertising article promoting them.

    You can see from the address bar that the article title was "Check Out The Top 4 Spots in Jacksonville's Arlington Neighborhood." While I'm sure the four listed restaurants are just fine, it's disturbing that this content was served to me on a NEWS website as NEWS. It's clearly blatant advertising, paid placement, and not a real review or opinion by a human being. 

    What's next? Top four crimes this week articles that pull information from JSO's Crime Map? I know, there's no ad money in that, so probably not. The point is that if pretend articles are being pulled from content on paid-service websites and placed on news websites, then we're in trouble. As readers and as writers. Even the images are from Yelp, which means user-submitted. No one did any work on the article in question, and more than likely, the "editor" is in India, curating and augmenting hundreds of pretend articles every day, never having eaten barbeque ribs in her life. 

    With so much data out there, it's nice to get a quick guide to some decent local restaurants to try, so there's a value to articles like the one that I thought I was reading. I might even like the listed places. It might even be accurate. But it's also wrong. 


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  • My Messy Office
    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.


    That's kind of sad, since my mess is part of my creativity. Actually, I have to have a mess somewhere in order to function properly. I used to have a junk drawer when I first got married because my wife is pretty much the opposite of a messy person. She allowed me one junk drawer on the main level, and about half of the three basements we had. And most of the garage. And the tool shed. Those were my messy places.

    In Florida, we don't have the built-ins with drawers or a basement, so I have to be better at hiding my messes. It's frustrating, to say the least. The whole point of having a mess is that what I need is right there for me when I need it. I don't want to venture into the garage attic to find what I need. I don't want to have to page through file folders for tax documents when they are all stuffed on my desk where I need them. There should be a pen sitting out and within reach from any location in any room.

    The most frustrating, however, is the fact that I can't always find my writing notes. I'll take notes while out at a bar or while at church. Observations for later. And those notes need to be out in the open to remind me of what I need to be writing, like Christmas tree ornaments in my office space, or else I won't ever write those ideas. Then they just get stuffed in a box, which is suffocating for ideas.

    I also have to wonder if my bosses over the years have assumed something negative about me because my school desk was always messy. I tried to keep it way in the corner, but it was very, very messy. But that was because I was usually working on planning new lessons, revising old lessons, grading papers, writing, thinking, researching, and contacting people. Sometimes, I'd be testing out video production equipment, hooking various electronic devices into my computer to see what they could do, and generally figuring out if I could improve as a teacher. But it looked like I was somehow careless to outsiders.

    All in all, I'm lucky to have a wife who forces me to clean once in a while. If we were both like me, the house would be a disaster all the time, and people would be afraid to come over. And they'd probably think that both of us are careless, cranky, and uncaring.



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


    I saw the St. Augustine ad twice on network television (late 2017, I believe), and it was an obvious lifting of the Biltmore ads I'd seen all the time. You know the ad, wherein we are made privy to this fanciful world where ladies and gentlemen seem to exist and behave a certain way that seems sadly gone most of the time. Yet, it does still exist if you stay in a certain hotel. Maybe one with a hot tub time machine.

    The St. Augustine ad seemed to be a send-up of the Biltmore ad. I don't think the idea was to steal it as much as acknowledge we've all seen the other ad around here. But, of course, it was stealing. Brazenly. So the St. Augustine ad was taken off the air very quickly. As in, some lawyers spent last night at the Biltmore and now it's gone. 

    I was watching a PBS documentary that said back when Flagler built his St. Augustine hotels and pushed for the railroad to come through Jacksonville rather than terminate there, it ruined tourism in Jacksonville. I'm sure the Biltmore is always watching out for other fancy destinations to pull some kind of stunt that might steal guests away, and if one of those places is going to rip off the exact wording from an ad, then it's pretty obvious. 


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  • What is the most popular city in Florida?
    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.

    By metro area, here are Florida's most populous (highest population) along with 2018 US rank:

    #7 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA 
    #18 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA 
    #22 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSA 
    #40 Jacksonville, FL MSA 
    #72 North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL MSA 
    #76 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL MSA
    #81 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL MSA
    #87 Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL MSA
    #95 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL MSA

    That's top 100 and over 500,000 population, anyhow. 

    Here are the cities (not metro areas) in Florida, ranked by most populous within the city limits:

    #12 Jacksonville
    #40 Miami
    #49 Tampa
    #71 Orlando
    #79 St. Petersburg
    #95 Hialeah

    Keep in mind that Jacksonville's area is 20 times that of Miami. So, Jacksonville is the largest city by area, and largest city by population within its city limits in Florida. 

    Side note: Rhode Island, with a population just over one million, is only about 40% larger than the CITY of Jacksonville in area. That's crazy. And a good reminder why there's no city of Jacksonville walking tour map. 

    While Golden Girls reruns keep Miami popular, and Mickey Mouse makes Orlando shine, Jacksonville is also popular. We might have to work a little harder to figure out what that is, exactly, but it also presents an opportunity. Let's not make it murder or something negative. I watched a PBS documentary about our bridges, and those are nice. Nature. Other stuff.........
    San Dimas High School Football rules!

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