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 was more weathered than I’d remembered, there was a twinkle in her eyes as she said hello to me.

Floor after floor, her perfume wafting towards me, I felt as if she was trying to say something to me, a die-hard Republican. She coughed flirtatiously several times. Just as the elevator stopped on my floor, I thought I saw her checking me out as I held my Wall Street Journal near my loins. Something had caught her eye, and I figured it was my $4000 suit, tailored to fit me perfectly...everywhere. And then, just as we were about to part forever, she said it: “I wish I could convince people I really want to help them.”

She didn’t tell me my suit would look good on the floor next to her bed or that I reminded her of a movie star like oh-so-many women do. Instead, she was responding to an op-ed in my newspaper. And her words touched me inappropriately. She is a Clinton who coined the failed vast right wing conspiracy; now part of the vast left wing conspiracy. Could she really care about people? Even if it was a ruse, could she really care about what I think in order to pretend just for me? I wanted her to stop. I could not bring myself to say no, but she could tell I was uncomfortable. “Make sure you vote,” she said, knowing full-well that she had grabbed me just a bit too roughly. Me, retracing each line on her face as I exited to the hallway, feeling dirty for hearing her and believing her.

Could this woman who I have compared to the devil in multiple Tweets really care about me? Or was I just a prop, used to fulfill some kind of sick fantasy? I know she won’t return my calls, so I don’t bother, but I also will never be the same again. No amount of time will be able to heal my wounds. However, my new BMW Alpina B7 will help me to move on.

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s2smodern

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.
  • Church of God the Mother at UNF
    UNF sent out an email regarding at least one of the churches that shows up on campus to talk to students. I don't attend UNF, so I don't actually know much about the situation. But I went to college, and there were sometimes churches represented near the Union, and there were sometimes heated debates. I never got involved myself, and I was only approached one time, so I'm not taking a stand on Christians on Campus or Socialists or Republicans or White Nationalists. So I'm cool with anyone except Nihilists or The Eagles showing up on campus to discuss whatever with Millennials. I'm just wondering about the name "Church of God the Mother."





    It looks like the Church of God the Mother is somehow related to the World Mission Society Church of God. This is a church out of South Korea that believes the following (Wikipedia):

    The church believes in God the Father and God the Mother,[8] claiming to be restoring the truth and practices of the early Church.[2] The church also believes that co-founder Zang Gil-ja is God the Mother, as taught by the founder Ahn Sahng-hong[9].
    The World Mission Society Church of God believes that all of its teachings are based on the Bible, as explained in the numerous books written by Ahn Sahng-hong.
     The lady in the photo is apparently God the Mother. I don't think she's supposed to be a Korean version of Mary, the Mother of God. She's just the co-founder of the church, but I'm not really sure if she's supposed to be part of the Holy Trinity or what. I looked her up, and it looks like she is considered to be God the Mother because she has fulfilled the prophecies of the Bible. Seems legit. And it makes me wonder more about the Kia Soul.

    From my extensive research, it looks like this church was hanging out at Vanderbilt, also trying to lure young women into their ranks. Some people have accused the church of trafficking women, and I saw a Charlie's Angels episode that was kind of like this, but I don't know if that's true.

    The problem with the local news is that it mixed the current church situation with video it obtained of some dude going nuts about homosexuals on campus. That's just traditional campus soapbox rhetoric. People targeting young women and trying to get them to join a church that might go all Moonie on them is kind of a different scenario. Sure, some people would say all churches are cults, but this one really does operate like something out of a Charlie's Angels episode,, at least based on some of the articles I've seen online. But you can't believe everything you read online. Except this blog, of course.

    So if you are a vulnerable young woman on a college campus (or in a Walmart parking lot--another place the church recruits), just do some research before you start praying to God the Mother. Or that God the Father dude, even if he "friends" you. Also, if you have a story about this church you'd like to share, I'd like to add it to this website, so go ahead and send me a message.
  • Arlington Renewal: Reality Check
    I'm all for reviving and renewing Arlington, as long as it's not going to wake up all cranky on us. I have enough experience in urban planning (as a college student and connoisseur) to be able to predict a few major concerns with renewing Arlington, whether or not some hot-shot Miami developer says it's going to happen. And I don't have millions of dollars or years of experience in the neighborhood. Just sense.





    The Good News
    Arlington is close to perfect as a location, transportation-wise, as is the eyesore of a hotel that's potentially being redeveloped. Where I live in East Arlington is pretty great, too. It's all manageable to downtown and a straight shot to the beach. It doesn't freeze as often on this side of town, which is a bonus, but we're still in-town, pretty much.

    The Rest of the News isn't Good
    Sticking something fancy somewhere it doesn't fit is not a good idea. Changing the purpose of one building or one mall won't do it. Forcing businesses to change signage isn't the answer. I think the technical urban planning term is putting lipstick on a pig, even though the landscape architects and planners who want to cash paychecks will keep telling you it's using design to change people and place.

    Options
    Here are some examples from my past that can speak to what Arlington is considering now:

    Capitol Court
    Case in point, when I was an urban planning student at UW-Milwaukee, one of the big projects in town was the rehabilitation of Capitol Court. It was one of the original shopping malls, back when that area of town was vibrant and expanding in the 60s. Sounds familiar, maybe. Anyhow, I grew up going to the mall. I saw ET at the theater there. Then the neighborhood turned pretty bad. People were afraid to go to the mall. It was mostly empty by the mid-90s. Then it became a planning project. Human-scale was big. Landscaping. Open areas. Seating. A Wal-Mart. Mixed use. These planners and architects actually stood in front of my class saying that their designs would be able to change how the people felt about the space, leading those people to appreciate it and behave less like felons while shopping. It probably sounded great to my classmates, but I grew up near Capitol Court, so I knew better.

    It took a little more time, and it probably looked nicer in its demise, but the Midtown Center could not really rise from the ashes of Capitol Court. Lowes, Walmart, Sears, Penneys, etc. Every anchor closed, and just a lot of open and empty space. The jobs, if that was part of the plan, are gone. Facades, archways, parking lot paths, green spaces, and trees, all make it look too good to be true, which is totally accurate. The problem with Capitol Court wasn't the design: it's like the Town Center, but on a smaller scale. The problem was the neighbors. The people who lived there weren't going to go from low-income and high-crime residents to suburban soccer moms just because the local shopping center planted some trees and slapped a new name on the building.

    Marquette
    Marquette University, facing a similar problem to Capitol Court, took a different approach. An approach that was ridiculed by some members of my mentors at UW-Milwaukee, even as it was admittedly somewhat effective. The school needed to keep enrollment up, but real or perceived crime in the surrounding neighborhoods kept students away. What could the college possibly do? Buy the surrounding neighborhoods, that's what. Marquette made no attempt to fix poverty with economic redevelopment, and it wasn't looking to use urban design to change attitudes of poverty-stricken people. No, it just bought up block upon block of buildings and kicked those folks out so that Heather and Ashley could have an apartment in a safer neighborhood next to the school.

    Brewers Hill
    Another way an area in Milwaukee turned itself around to the exclusion of the residents was in Brewers Hill. Basically, young professionals working downtown realized that they could get sweet deals on awesome old houses and fix them up, in a neighborhood just next to downtown that wasn't known for being totally safe. Enough of these people bought the houses that the area started changing, and people who'd lived there for decades weren't even able to afford the newly-assessed property taxes. It's like the reverse of what was often called White Flight or blockbusting in the North. New paint, landscaping, and a Prius in every garage. And a short commute to downtown.

    Arlington
    So what do these cautionary tales tell us about Arlington? First off, it's too big of an area to just buy up the whole thing, so it makes sense to focus on parts, which is what the local government has done. However, from what I've read, it seems that the plan is to force the businesses to make the changes that will trickle down to the surrounding neighborhoods. The problem is that it's all about the people who live and show up at those businesses. If there are payday stores, pawn shops, dollar stores, and internet cafes in an area, I personally am not going to get out and shop. But it doesn't make sense to have a Rolex store next to Section 8 apartments and dilapidated townhouses.

    Renewing Arlington starts with the residents. If we decide as a community that we live in an area that's worth renewing, then we need to treat our own homes and neighbors with respect. And we need to expect it out of our neighbors, which means taking action if there's an apartment complex that contributes to the real or perceived run-down feel. Sometimes, renewal is in the form of low or no-interest loans to resident homeowners for general maintenance, but it might also involve running out the slumlords. It might be about community policing, too. In many respects, however, it comes down to pride. It's easier to just use up your house and then build a new one down in St. Johns County, but that's a lot harder to do if you know and like your neighbors, and appreciate the convenient location.

    My own neighborhood in Milwaukee was terribly overpriced. That's because people wanted to live there, even if they could get a larger house on the northwest side of town, and even if the houses on the near north side had a lot more character. People took pride in their homes, and the neighborhood was safe, so location is what sold the homes. Easy access to the freeway and downtown were added value. Where I lived in Milwaukee has a lot of similarities to Arlington, except that area was never allowed to fall apart. Still, not all hope is lost if the smallish, oldish Arlington homes are seen as being in the best location near downtown and the beaches. 

    New business development does play a role in fixing Arlington, as does the maintaining of current business. However, putting a few bushes outside the adult entertainment club or store, while ironic, isn't going to fix the problem of having businesses that cater to the people who live here. You're not going to see any pawn shops in Ponte Vedra because they'd go out of business or be run out of town. And that's not because rich people never need to pawn stuff to pay for their mansions; it's because their mansions aren't worth as much if there's a pawn shop down the road.

    Planning Points

    Jobs
    My old neighborhood in Lenexa was just outside of Kansas City, not even as close as Arlington is to Jacksonville. It saw the opportunity along the 435 and 35 for being a great place for national headquarters and distribution centers. That worked well for the town, and it's frankly more sightly than used tire and rent-a-rim shops. Doing that, however, is all about infrastructure, making sure trucks can get in and out easily. By contrast, the 295 corridor in Arlington seems to have been established as new single-family homes, along with typical urban-sprawl big-box retailers nearby. Sure, that works as long as everyone who lives there works downtown, but Arlington should also push for more than retail chains alongside vast subdivisions.

    We get excited about the new Wawa or Starbucks, but I'd get a lot more excited about a legitimate business park. Honestly, many businesses can operate outside of the main downtown areas, and once St. Johns County realizes this, we'll see more and more CEOs pushing for their commutes to be shorter. All of Jacksonville's inner-ring suburbs should be trying to establish working-wage jobs in the area before those jobs leave the county altogether. Where was Arlington's proposal for the new JEA headquarters? Does Arlington even propose anything on its own, or is it all just part of some trickle-down development system that favors downtown and sprawl rather than redevelopment?

    Crime
    I looked at a crime map of Arlington, and one trend was clear: one of the most concentrated area of assaults and robberies stems from right around University and Merrill. Even though JU is right down the road from us, I have not even considered it for my kids, and that's why. If that's not a simple concept for the highly-educated staff at JU, then I feel bad for them. UNF, almost no crime, so that's the direction I'll be leaning when my kids ask me which local college is best. JU certainly has a stake in cleaning its neighborhood up, just like Marquette did in Milwaukee.

    Another trend that is impossible to miss is that crime is centered around apartment complexes that, when you view them on Google Streetview, look like apartment complexes where crime would take place. I know, it's sad that people maybe moved to Arlington to escape crime in another part of town, but if the crime kind of follows those people, then it's our problem now. If I was an alderman for part or all of Arlington, I'd look at the crime near these apartments, but I'd also look to see where the victims and perpetrators live. Forcing the rental company to fix some leaks won't make the crime go away, and neither will extra police presence near the crimes (we've been mapping crime for decades, so there's already more presence there). What makes it go away is lack of access, meaning the places where the victims and criminals live no longer exist in Arlington. Someone out there is crying that these people need to live somewhere, but Arlington would be better off raising a sales tax to help build these new apartments in some other part of Jacksonville. Or even a property tax surcharge. I'm serious, if people who live here knew all the stats, many of them would jump on board. Even if some of the crime is committed by someone who crosses a bridge to get to Arlington, it's generally to visit someone who lives here before going on the crime spree.

    Home Ownership
    Arlington suffers from a rental problem, and not just in the apartments. I understand that the military personnel are going to rent, and they're good tenants, from what I understand. I know some renters in my neighborhood who do a good job taking care of their places. However, nothing makes someone care about property values more than actual home ownership. Some kind of Own Arlington initiative could play a large role in turning the community around. Again, it might take low-interest loans or a unique rent-to-own arrangement, but if we can get a larger percentage of our residents to own their properties, then they will care more about the signs at the local mini-mall and the crime near the local apartment complex.

    Infrastructure
    The Arlington Expressway seems to be a 70s solution to road widening, and I have to wonder if it's considered best practices in planning today (or ever really was). The insane on and off-ramps, one way and sometimes two-way frontage roads, and obvious disrepair along it all mean that a redevelopment of an old hotel into an apartment complex will result in another money pit waiting to happen. Someone, somewhere must have come up with a better way to handle this stretch of road by now.

    Since the 295 is up for road work and toll-installation, it's a good time to consider elements that can help in creating the proper infrastructure for Arlington's future. For example, there's a lot of underutilized commercial land along St. Johns Bluff near the airport that has easy access to the 295 and the small airport. More forest along Monument, as well. These areas need to be looked at as real business opportunities rather than more retail malls or apartment complexes. Places that might pay wages that will allow people to purchase homes in the area.

    Arlington First
    Do you think the folks over in Avondale consider Arlington when they want something done in their area? Does downtown worry about us? St. Johns? Of course not. People in Avondale live in wonderfully overpriced homes because they've maintained a nice neighborhood near downtown. In fact, most of us in Arlington are just as close to downtown (time-wise). But those folks need to spend twice as long on the road to get to the beaches. The people down in St. Johns need nice, wide expressways to get to downtown in a hurry, but that should not concern us in Arlington. In fact, if we could ensure our roads stay fast and safe, people might decide that 45 minutes from Nocatee to downtown is too much executive time in the German touring sedan, opting to return to Arlington. This has happened in the Milwaukee area with a suburb named Wauwatosa. It's become fashionable to move back to Tosa from the outer-ring suburbs because people realized they could have a small-town feel in a house with character, decent schools, and a real downtown within five miles of the lakefront and downtown Milwaukee. Wauwatosa didn't worry about how Milwaukee or West Allis or Brookfield or Wales felt about drawing young professionals to its thriving downtown.

    Arlington was once the place to go. You could move out of the older Jacksonville homes elsewhere, closer to the beaches, with open spaces all around, and a nifty new mall. Now it's mostly developed and partially decaying, but it's not hopeless by any means. Arlington is just a hard sell to get someone to buy a 1,500 square foot cinder block home in the heart of an area where crime stats are peppered with batteries and property crime. People see Clay and St. Johns with less crime and higher property value. Plus, those areas don't have a dead mall and sketchy retail stores. Mainly, Arlington hasn't made a play to stay relevant as a place people want to embrace as a long-term home. There isn't a discernible downtown or riverwalk, and there aren't people riding their bikes on miles of off-street trails. No farmers market or free concerts. Still, we have a good base of quality housing in a great location, so it can still happen. When it does, we will have the advantage over the new sprawl going in too far from the city. The investment has to come from the people who want to live here, however, and that does not seem to be a trendy way of planning development in Northeast Florida.  
  • Grammar Police Issue Warrant for Pablo Creek Library
    I don't expect a whole lot out of the general public when it comes to grammar. I kind of think that the English language is generally a stupid language. We could do so much better, but we're not going to change to Esperanto in the near future, so we just have to deal with it. Like I said, I can understand when someone at the local gas station calls it the Ladie's Room or Lady's Room or Mens' Room. I can look past it when someone in marketing says, "A winner must claim there prize immediately." Errors, all of them, but those are just normal, everyday people. I'm an English teacher, so I see all the mistakes; I just don't tend to give them much thought. However, when I see some questionable grammar at the local public library, that's when it's time to put on the old badge.


    Technically, I'm not even the best with identifying the rules for all of the grammatical mistakes I encounter. I just know they're wrong, and the heading for the Pablo Creek Library Valentine's Day display is wrong in so many ways. Let's count.

    BOOKS ARE LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOUR'E GOING TO GET 



    1. IT'S IN ALL CAPS.
    Not a big deal, really, but it feels a little harsh for a holiday about love.

    2. It's comparing more than one book (books) to one box of chocolates.
    I might go with, "A book is like a box of chocolates," or "Books are like boxes of chocolates." Or maybe even say that a library full of books is like a box of chocolates. Also, the point of the display is that the books are about love, and those books also have descriptions on the back cover. Also, most boxes of chocolates tell you what you'll be eating, so you only don't know what you're going to get if you don't real the label.

    3. It lacks punctuation.
    I'd go with a colon or a dash after "chocolates." A colon tells the reader, "and that is." Without punctuation (and foreknowledge of the Forrest Gump quote), the sentence reads as, "Books are like a box of chocolates you never know." That's a perfectly legitimate sentence, and it makes sense if you don't read the books on the rack. Some people would be tempted to use a semi-colon, but that would be wrong, as would a comma (it creates a comma splice). I guess you could use parentheses around the definition. Oh, there should also be a period at the end, I suppose.
    BOOKS ARE LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES: YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOUR'E GOING TO GET.

    4. It's a misquote. Maybe the most misquoted misquote of our time. Besides "Play it again, Sam."
    Since the sentence is from a movie, and most of us know that, I'd probably go with the more colloquial "gonna" instead of "going to." Technically, Forrest also says that his momma always said life was like a box of chocolates, but this part of the expression has been misquoted for years, since we want to change it to the present tense. I suppose that's because we think it's a valuable lesson somehow (which it isn't).

    5. There's a misplaced apostrophe.
    It's "you're," as in you are. Not "your'e," as in your he? Which isn't even correct, either, and it's not a contraction we use. Or it ain't one.  It's just wrong.

    6. The context is odd.
    This one's debatable, but Forrest does say the following: "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is." The problem is that love, to Forrest, is basically unrequited and fairly unhealthy by our standards. He's more like a loyal puppy dog than a hero of a typical love story. And based on his own childhood, I wonder how he could know what love is. But the actual quote of life being like a box of chocolates is a lot like saying we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Kind of dumb and naive, like our English language.
  • Gunshots, Babies Crying, and Screaming - Jacksonville
    It's my first mayoral race here in Jacksonville, but I assume it will be a fun one. Two candidates who don't like one another. Anna Brosche's attack ad seems to be a metaphor for her distaste for Lenny Curry, but a lot of people also called the ad itself distasteful. If it was for a local ice cream shop, I'd totally agree, but when we're talking politics, then you can use the gunshots, crying babies, and screaming without crossing the line. Fear is the top emotion for local news, home security sales, and political ads.


    Imagine a news teaser like this: "Next at 11, a local teen is accused of meeting people online in order to help clean up the lawn for the elderly couple next door." Or, "Police officers pulled a man over and issued him a warning for speeding." We might say that's the kind of news we want, but we also wouldn't watch the news if there wasn't video footage of cars running into parked buildings or disturbing police body camera footage just before someone was gunned down. Or gangs. Fear and anger are always top stories, with maybe a few :15 community interest stories thrown in. And we eat it up.

    When we moved in, a home security guy showed up and asked whether I preferred to save a few dollars a month or put my family in danger. That was our welcome wagon to Jacksonville, besides some coupons the home improvement stores sent through the post office. He seemed surprised when I said I'd prefer to put my family in danger because I live life on the edge. Sure, he was expecting me to say I'd think about it, that I absolutely must sign an immediate contract for free installation, or that we just didn't have the money right now. A lot of the Youtube channels for security systems have feel-good ads, but the ones they run on TV tend to be more like the ones in the embedded video, stoking fear.



    So Anna Brosche used fear when attacking Lenny Curry. I looked back at Lenny's ads from the last election (that were available on Youtube), and it seems as if he didn't use attack ads. I really have no way of knowing if that's accurate, since I didn't live here. Maybe people were moved by the whole "keeping our streets safe" positive message.
    Anna wants to attack the platform for Curry's #1 Priority in the last election. Based on statistics, the "streets" aren't safer. Actually, it could be an excellent scientific study here, as our city has hired more police officers AND had a booming economy WITHOUT the streets getting safer. Those are always the arguments--from the right: we need more cops; from the left: we need more jobs. So what gives? I am sure it's frustrating for Curry. The formula is supposed to work.

    Of course, scare tactics or not, Brosche probably does not have a better formula than more police officers and more jobs. I know she opposed the sale of JEA, the money from UAE, and Confederate monuments, but I just can't find a plan for fixing the crime issue. In fact, if I was running, I don't know if I'd challenge someone on crime who has tried so hard to fix it. There's a chance she might win, and then she'll have the same #1 Priority.

    If I was Anna, I'd focus on the seemingly shady JEA deal. And being the first female mayor at a time when women are winning elections. Really, anything other than crime, since that's not something that just stops when you take office.

    An interesting side note is that one of our past mayors was named J.E.T. before jets were invented. And another mayor "transitioned" while in office (he began as a Democrat and left as a Republican). Oh, and racism: for a few years, the city charter was changed so that Jacksonville's own citizens couldn't elect the mayor because they'd elected a Republican. Instead, the city council (members appointed by the governor) elected the mayor. Could you imagine not having a direct say in your mayor, let alone your city council? But we do have a say, which is why Anna Brosche wants to scare up some support.
  • An "Interesting" Résumé Means Good Luck
    I got one of those weeding-out phone interviews recently. (I'm kind of looking for a job.) The interview was a lot like the ones I got right after I got laid off as a teacher of twelve years back in Wisconsin. Even though I've had an added several years of experience (not teaching) in addition to my years as a teacher, I still apparently have an "interesting" résumé. I know this means I won't be likely to get a call for a real, in-person interview, since the only people who appreciate interesting résumés are those who don't work in HR. If you also have an interesting résumé, I feel for you, and I'd hire you if I could.


    People with interesting résumés are often the ones running the companies, which is why they are not working in HR. These people could potentially do any number of jobs in the business as well as those who have been educated to do a single task. They are creative dreamers who don't want to be constrained by titles and mundane tasks. However, a company may not need several people with these kinds of résumés at any given time, since other people can fit into the right positions once created. It might even get a little hectic if everyone working for a company was actually interesting.




    Here's an example from a few years back: I interviewed with an HR guy at a web development firm in MKE. The company was expanding, and they needed salesmen, PHP writers, Javascript scripters, UX designers, programmers, graphic artists, marketers, social media something-or-others, and several others. All of these people would work together to create wonderful websites at $20,000 a pop. Sometimes $50,000 for a really nice website. Instead, I did all this stuff myself (without any titles), so I tried to explain how I could still help their company, maybe by taking on smaller jobs or helping with the education sector. The problem was that they didn't see themselves working with smaller jobs or getting into the education sector. I was told that I could probably get a gig as a junior developer once I learned Javascript, even though I'd already done enough to show I could be useful; even though I had one of the highest scores ever on their stupid logic test.; and even though one of my best friends worked there.

    Generally, that's how it's gone for me in interviews. No, I don't know the specific software you use and I don't have a degree in pencil-pushing. The HR folks like to see me as a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, but I'm really more of a sledghammer who's ready to make a brand new opening. Like the boss, in a way. Years ago, anyway, before there was a PDP for the BPM leading to BPI or BPR, reported to the board of directors and investors in a TPS report.

    My latest interview that didn't make it past the phone phase was similar to the others because I was told the old résumé was interesting (and it's gotten more interesting as the years have gone by). I can now add actual books that I've published, presentations I've made, a house that I rent, lessons from teaching that I sell, and others that I've helped to become successful. Video tutorials and customer service, all on my own. Even websites like this one. It's all part of this interesting résumé that begs the question: "What's your real passion?"

    I know, the answer is supposed to be something in the list of requirements for the job at hand. Perhaps, "Sitting in an office and answering phone calls." I realize that the real passion of many American workers is to try to find ways to get by with doing the minimum required while responding to social media posts or text messages, but those people took 15 college credits in marketing, and they can tell someone their passion lies in communicating the usefulness of a product or making money for a company. Yes, passion lies.

    I know one guy who has an uninteresting résumé. He lacks creativity, but he's personable and handsome, with a business degree from a good college. He's gotten jobs at all kinds of high-profile firms, always losing those jobs in a couple years, but still claiming on his résumé that he was a big part of some kind of sales initiative. It's a good résumé. I've read it. He looks like a person who knows what he's doing. I can remember him telling me at one point that his job at a certain company was so easy because the product basically sold itself. That company went bankrupt the next year, but it's a memorable company name for his résumé, and no one can prove that he had anything to do with poor sales.

    Those of us who freelance, create, work hard, and even fail, trying to establish ourselves as something on our own, will continue to have interesting résumés that don't get us in to see the boss, who might actually understand our passions. We could probably be trained to do just about anything in the company, or figure those tasks out on the fly, but since we don't have one critical skill that we've practiced over and over again, we're not seen as a good risk.

    People with interesting résumés are like those draft picks in sports with all the "up side" potential. HR departments don't roll the dice on a Giannis Antetokounmpo when there are several Anthony Bennetts or Nerlens Noels out there, checking all the boxes. The challenge of having an interesting résumé is to convince the gatekeepers that you're the next Giannis for their company, even if their company has never had a Giannis and don't know how to play someone like that. Good luck.

  • Adverstising on Zillow For Free?
    I was looking up the highest crime area of Arlington when I came across a strange phenomenon on many of the homes near the high-crime apartments. Someone had claimed the homes on Bert Rd. and added the following:
    This property is never For sale or rent sun and Jerome Harrison Wilson and Emma kim-tashis Harrison Landlord Owner contact me at 904....
    These people are not the owners of the properties, but they are using the Zillow database of homes as a way to get free advertising near some apartment complexes. The problem with the Harrison/Wilson clan is that I can't find that they own any actual properties.

    Another property, also on Bert, had this extended version of Jerome's name: "mrs&mr sunok and Jerome Elijah Michael Lamar pony Harrison Wilson."

    If you do an image search, you can see several of the Zillow listings associated with this couple, too. In all kinds of neighborhoods across the city. I have to wonder if they are the only ones to do this or if it's a well-loved advertising technique for "landlords." Some of the homes are even in pretty fancy neighborhoods:





    Then this story gets even stranger. Apparently, Emma was arrested for trying to buy a car with a bad check back in 2009. She claimed Jesus Christ was her husband, and she actually had checks with "Mr. and Mrs. Jesus and Emma Christ" printed on them. At the time, she claimed to have a "traveling website" that received money from people. Maybe it's a service wherein people pay a landlord for rent and then never get an apartment?

    Imagine if your landlord was also your Lord and Savior.

    Anyhow, this could all be on the up-and-up. I don't know if Emma and Jesus were ever convicted of anything, and it's been a long time, so it's totally possible that this couple is renting places. That said, it's still not the intent of the Zillow website to allow people to add their ads to each and every house that doesn't have an owner who claims it. Then again, I suppose it's just a website designed to get money from people, so if that's working, the company might not care who hijacks the database.
  • The $5,000 St. Augustine Trash Bin
    St. Augustine wants to replace garbage cans with garbage/recycling cans. In theory, I like the idea, since I did the same thing in my kitchen. I know that my $60 kitchen garbage can isn't commercial-grade, and it's probably a bit smaller than what's needed, but for $5,000 a pop, I'm hoping some local artisans are building 16th century vintage trash cans. Wait, there were no garbage cans when St. Augustine was founded. So we can do whatever we want.





    If St. Augustine wants to make the town feel like it did back in 1600, then we'd just toss the trash in the streets. The panhandlers could be paid to sweep it up each week, similar to how English rakers would remove the waste from London's streets once a week (to be dumped in the Thames).

    It wasn't until 1757 that Ben Franklin started a street cleaning service and told people to make some garbage pits. I bet it doesn't cost $5,000 to dig a bunch of garbage pits around St. Augustine. Use some wrought iron bars to make them safe for the kids, and dump away.

    Do you realize that as humans, we didn't have garbage cans and a collection service until 1875? And that was in England, so it took some time to catch on in America. I know, it's better not to have disease and whatnot, so garbage cans are a necessity in the modern world. What I'm saying is that since these receptacles didn't exist back in the day, they don't really have to be designed to match the decor in America's oldest city. It would be like making everyone ride horses instead of drive  automobiles while in town.

    But what if we eliminated the trash can idea without littering the streets, and provided jobs for those who would otherwise be asking for handouts?

    Sure, you could go with the classic Oscar the Grouch design. But I like the idea of pirates or Conquistadors carrying trash and recycling bags, possibly made of linen or wool if you want to keep it real. Then another guy in peasant clothing could roll a cart down the street and yell, "Bring out your trash!" Imagine how much people would eat that up if the cart rolled down the street once an hour. Where else are there photo ops with the local garbage?




  • Giveaway! Florida Drug and Alcohol Course & Permit Exam
    This contest is currently OPEN until 2-28-2019

    If you are a parent of a soon-to-be driver or a kid who's looking to get a license, I've got a giveaway that's perfect for you. I have been authorized to offer Aceable's (Florida-valid) combined Drug and Alcohol Course & Permit Exam (valued at $48 online; on sale for less right now) as a giveaway for New Jax Witty readers.


    Since my own kids aren't old enough to drive yet, I have not done much research on Drivers Education in Florida. However, when Aceable extended this offer to me, I decided to make sure it made sense for those of us in the Sunshine State. These are approved classes that work here in this state. It looks like you can do a lot more with Aceable if you're in other states, but this blog is generally for Florida residents. Also, read the DMV page listed for more information. It looks like some people who take 3rd party tests are randomly re-tested. That seems a little unfair, but it also means that you shouldn't wait a long time after passing any 3rd party test to show up at the tax collector's office.

    (Aceable also offers a Florida Basic Driver Improvement Course for people in Miami-Dade ONLY, but I think we should focus on those of us in Jacksonville rather than your cousin down in Miami who needs a safety course.)

    I'm kind of hoping all cars will be self-driving and super safe before my kids learn to drive. I also hope that whether you take the courses online or in a classroom that you pay attention. And always wear a seatbelt--I've been in two major crashes, and the seatbelts made a difference.

    Aceable said I could make the rules, but I'm not looking to exclude all kinds of people, so I'll keep it simple:
    1. You are a Florida resident (or at least that's where the license will be issued)

    2. You MUST read one of my articles on safe driving/traffic concerns in Jacksonville and say something about your take on the issue raised. Not an essay, but also not just copying and pasting my words. Like a couple of sentences. Choose one article to read:
    Note to Jax Drivers: Turn Signals Serve a Purpose 
    Make Sure You Have a Working License Plate Light
    What's With The Fog Lights, Jacksonville?
    Helping Hands on Kernan And Why Some People Stop
    Giant Pickup Trucks in Jacksonville
    Smart ASSet ASSessment of Florida Drivers is Half-ASS
    What is Your Quest? Crossing Jax Bridges
    Can We Build Our Way Out Of Traffic Congestion in Jacksonville?
    Kernan and McCormick Intersection Options


    3. Send your response to me, say it's for the contest. 

    4. One entry per person, please. Since I'm reading these, I'll be able to tell if you sent me 30 entries.

    That's it. I'll choose a winner from the entries, based on the short response to an article that you write (and maybe some randomness if it's a tie). I won't save your emails to bother you or send them to any driving school for some company to bother you. If you don't hear back from me, I just went with someone else, but I still like you. When the contest is no longer OPEN,  please don't send me more entries.

    Just imagine all the car air fresheners you can buy with the extra $36-$48 you'll have if you win.
  • What Can You Get For $5 and Some Potato Chips in Jax?
    Sometimes, police officers must have a hard time believing the stories they hear, even if the admission is so ridiculous that it must be true. This is one of those stories. A woman was shot at a gas station by a man who fled on foot. Those are both fairly typical events in greater Jacksonville. The assumption would be that she'd been mugged. Or targeted for some reason. Uh, not exactly. Actually, the woman had been paid $5 and some Pringles to provide a service for the man. He then shot her and took the $5 back. No word on the chips.


    There are so many aspects to this story that are so wrong. I'm all for bartering, but even the big containers of Pringles cost less than $5, so that means she was providing the service for like $8. The fact that she told the police means that she admitted to what I assume is a crime. I guess that's honest and all, but it just seems like that's a fairly low asking price. I'd probably say it was $50 in case they catch the guy. Then again, I'm not sure she'd be entitled to get her money back based on how she earned it.

    And the man. You just have to wonder what someone's thinking when he demands his money back with a gun after services have been rendered. I mean, it was only $5, man. I can't help but imagine the haggling that took place. Did he have to go in to get the chips, or was it the can of Pringles in his hands that brought about the exchange? And what flavor? Most of us can't really make a meal out of potato chips, so it's surprising there wasn't a slice of pizza or a hot dog mentioned. Oh, I guess there was.




    So the crimes here include:
    Inappropriate and illegal selling of services
    Illegal buying of services
    Indecent public exposure
    Breaking a verbal contract
    Robbery
    Attempted murder
    Probably illegal possession of a firearm
    Making Jacksonville look really, really bad, if that's a crime.

    With tax season coming up, it's a good reminder for those of you who work in cash-only fields that you have to report all your cash income. But not as Florida state income tax. You're good there. Just federal income. However, I believe if you barter for chips, you don't actually owe taxes. Consult your tax expert for a more in-depth analysis. 
  • Free Offer to Federal Employees
    I was trying to come up with what I could do to help local government employees to manage not having a paycheck right now. I made it my business goal to help others so that they might want to help me someday. While that hasn't worked out all that well for me, I'm still going to give it another try. I've seen all the suggestions that include selling items or starting a side business, and that got me to thinking how I could help those of you who need it right now.


    Amazon
    If you have something to sell on Amazon, I can help. And I don't mean help, as in I take a cut. I'll just give you the methods I've used. I sell e-books, but I've also sold items with a friend that he produces, so either kind of business works. I can even provide you with UPC codes for free. At least one or two, not enough codes for every item in your house. Basically, if you have an Amazon account, you can become a seller or author. Even if it's all your relatives buying an overpriced memoir you wrote over the past month, it's still you earning money. Well, Amazon earns money, too, but so would GoFundMe.

    Business Website
    If you have a service you want to advertise, I can fast-track a new website for you. I'll get the domain name and set it all up with a new CMS that will at least have your contact information and a professional look, unlike that Facebook page you might have thrown together last week.

    I will also be working without pay for the time being, but I'll help you get something established. When you get your paycheck again, I'll just charge what the website is worth at that point. I'm willing to just charge for the domain name for a year and go away if you don't want the side gig anymore. But if you're worried this shutdown is going to last a while or that there will be another one soon, just pay me after you cover your backlog of bills. My websites are under $1,000 and $100 a year for hosting. You don't want to have to deal with creating all this on your own, and this is a chance to get a business loan of sorts to get your business going.

    I'd love to just give the websites away for keeps, but I'm already self-employed (like you'll be trying to do with the website), so I know I have to eventually get something from the effort, even if it's just paying back the domain name registration fee. I guess unless you get a website from me and then tell the local news about it (and my business gets mentioned on TV). Then I'll just let you keep the website free and charge $100 for hosting at the end of the year.

    Any Teaching Experience?
    If you are a former teacher who works in the federal government, I'm willing to take a look at your original teaching lessons in order to buy them. I'll put them on TeachersPayTeachers, which you could do yourself, as well. You might start out slow on your own, but once you get some lessons up there, it's something.

    That's about all I have to offer, except the advice I have from the pitfalls associated with running my own business. But you may not have time to worry about those concerns right now. Contact me if you think there's a way I can help out, and I wish you the best.

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