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Want to Sing at a Suns Game?

The Jacksonville Suns are holding auditions for national anthem performers 1-4 p.m. March 16 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Singers will be asked to perform the song "in a traditional fashion and in its entirety," where instrumentalists will be given "more flexibility with their rendition." Vocal groups are also invited to audition.

Lip synchers and crotch-grabbing, spitting Roseanne wannabes need not apply.

So you know what you're up against, here are the six most viewed performances on YouTube.

Sharon Wilbur

Heather Bureau

Blake Dawson

Mark Dorsett

Christy Saunders

AJ Neaher

And a special shout-out to Victoria Zarlenga, whose video has the least...



First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

In case you missed my ramblings on First Coast Connect this morning (or for events I didn't get to because other people were too chatty), here’s what’s coming up this weekend and beyond—Around Town!

August 2

The Green Lion Festival, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Aardwolf Brewery

August 3

An Evening With Mark Brunell, 5:30 p.m., Morocco Shrine Temple

5K Stadium Challenge, 6 p.m., EverBank Field 

Medical Mission Benefit Concert, 6-10 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre

Louderpalooza 2, 8 p.m., Burro Bar 

August 3-4

Repticon, UNF University Center

August 5

Retrorama Pop Culture Show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Ramada Inn Conference Center

Jacksonville Jaguars practice, 3 p.m., EverBank Field 

August 7

Justin Bieber, 7 p.m., Veterans Memorial Arena 

"Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" closes August 3 at Players by the Sea.


The Jacksonville Suns play tonight through Tuesday.

Folio Weekly's Best of Jax poll is now open. And don't be shy, vote for First Coast Connect as Best Local Radio Show and Melissa Ross as Best Local Radio Personality. Too bad there's no category for Kookiest Weekly Radio Guest so you could vote for me.

Oh, wait. You still can: The Specktator as Best Local Blog.

Yours truly rocks the mic on WJCT's First Coast Connect every Thursday around 9:45 a.m. Tune in. Look out.   More


Black Kid-ding Around

Been wondering what Black Kids have been up to lately? I can't speak for all of them, but singer/guitarist Reggie Youngblood has been cross dressing and "talking to Jesus" about Taylor Swift.

Check out the video "Taylor Swift." 

And if that doesn't entice you to watch, maybe this congratulatory Tweet from B.J. "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" Thomas will...

@blackkidsrockLove the song. Go get em!BJ— BJ Thomas (@TheBJThomas) April 28, 2013



Animal Attraction

Some may disagree, but Grumpy Cat (I mean, Grumpy Cat™) is the most famous animal in America — for the remainder of her 15 minutes of fame anyway.

While Jacksonville isn’t home to any critters quite as well-known as GC™ (real name: Tardar Sauce) who has appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Anderson Live," co-starred in a documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has a book deal, we do have our share of famous fauna — just check the photo gallery above.   More


Jax Residents Shine in the National Spotlight

Two Jacksonville residents took center stage this week as contestants on two of the most popular shows on TV. Carlos Garland, 25, a graduate of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and a student at Jacksonville University, performed on "So You Think You Can Dance," while 19-year-old graduate of The Bolles School/University of Florida student David Ferman juggled and did a balancing act on "America's Got Talent." 

The good news is one of them advanced to the next round. The bad news is the other one didn't.

Spoiler alert: Don't click on the links if you don't want to know if:

Garland made it to SYTYCD's top 18 ... 

or Ferman made it to Las Vegas on AGT?







The Specktator

The Joke That Keeps Rolling

You know you've executed the perfect April Fool's Day prank when it's a week later, and people still don't know it's a joke. Case in point: the amusement park proposed for the Shipyards property "reported" by members of the WJCT 89.9 news team. 

Programmer and News Director Karen Feagins said staff members were discussing the launch the station's new website — — when they realized the go-live date was April 1.

"NPR has a tradition of doing [fake] stories on April Fools' Day, so we thought it would be fun to do one of our own," she said. "And it would help get people to our new website."

The team agreed that the story had to be believable and on a topic that local residents would be interested in. The amusement park idea came out of a brainstorming session with Feagins, senior reporter Kevin Meerschaert and First Coast Connect producer/online editor Sean Birch.

In addition to creating a fictional amusement park developer — Houston-based Funtime Inc. — and "CEO Jack Gilliam" (voiced by WJCT Senior Vice President of Content & Operations Anthony Padgett), the cunning crew tweaked the name of the mayor of Natchez, Miss., and also "quoted" him on a similar project in his city (which doesn't exist either).

But it was the participation of the real Florida Sen. Aaron Bean and the real Jacksonviile City Council President Bill Bishop that truly made the story believable, Feagins said.

"We are so grateful they were wiling to play along." 

The online version included a mock-up of the Next Level Roller Coaster (a nod to one of Mayor Alvin Brown's signature phrases) with cars designed to look like the JTA Skyway, complete with a "Funtime Inc." logo on the image (created in Photoshop by Birch).

While Feagins was surprised that the story spread so far (even being pitched in TV newsrooms, I heard), she's said she's happy that folks took it in the spirit in which it was …   More


Papa Tim's? McTebow's? Beefcake Factory?

Seems like just June 19, 2013 that I was congratulating Tim Tebow for signing with the New England Patriots.

Happy as I was for the kid, I did wonder what would happen if the Pats didn't keep him on the roster. In fact, I even came up with 10 jobs that he could pursue if the whole football thing didn't work out for him, like spokesperson, president of the International Vest Wearers Association, shirtless rubber bracelet model and Tim Tebow look-alike. 

Now that Coach Bill Bellichick has given him the old heave-Hoseah, Tebow's days in the NFL may be numbered. Fortunately, he's is already a man in motion.

According to a recent article on, Tebow is backing several PDQ restaurants in Jacksonville, which are set to begin construction in the near future. 

Never having been to one of the fast-casual chicken chain restaurants, I can't say for sure what will be on the menu, but I do have some suggestions for what the now-Tebow-financed eateries might offer.

Breakfast: Pro-Life Cereal (no Denver omelets)

Appetizer: Tebowings, served plain—with no sauce whatsoever (no New England clam chowder)

Entrées: eye-blackened chicken, Heismanwiches, Timmychangas in unspicy variety only (no items served New York-style including pizza, pastrami, bagels or cheesecake)

Beverages: cherry pop, Mountain Didn't (generic Mountain Dew), virgin dacquiris and John Boat 3:16 (non-alcoholic version of Intuition Ale Works' Jon Boat)

And if PDQ doesn't succeed, he can always open an In-N-Out-N-In-N-Out-N-In-N-Out Burger.

UPDATE: September 3, 2012, 1:56 p.m.

I think all guests should be seated by Tim who will serve as maître T'bow. They should add bottled holy water to their beverage selection. And Chris Shriver thinks there should be no seats in the restaurant ... only benches.    More


Be a Star

Here's something you won't hear about from Visit Jacksonville: Of the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., Jacksonville is ranked 37th in health and fitness, according to the American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index.

Despite a higher percentage of city parks, public playgrounds and recreation centers than "healthier" cities, Jacksonville has a significant number of "improvement priority areas" including the incidence of obesity, asthma and coronary heart disease, number of smokers and death rate for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The I'm a Star Foundation is one local organization that is not taking this news sitting down-literally or figuratively. In support of its mission to empower young people to become solution-oriented leaders, I'm a Star Foundation hosts Let's Move Jacksonville December 8 at A. Phillip Randolph Heritage Park. In addition to free healthy snacks, exercise tips, workshops and live entertainment, the event features an attempt at the World's Largest Flash Dance record with the "I'm a Star Slide." Participants of all ages can help "slide obsesity out of Duval" by learning the steps and coming to the event. Or just coming to the event.

Check out this video of the "I'm a Star Shuffle," then learn the steps below.






AN UPDATE TO THE UPDATED UPDATE: Gov. Scott's Twitter Faux Pas

It's been four months since I became Florida Governor Rick Scott's self-appointed unofficial Twitter account analyst. Since accepting the position (how could I not when I appointed myself?), I have uncovered the governor's — allegedly inadvertent — following of a number of odd Twitter accounts like Elephantsfarting, i have never voted, I'm a Panda and MTV Teen Mom Farrah Abraham, not to mention multiple colon cleansing businesses ... and a teen porn site.

Since then, I have been contacted by someone in the governor's office informing me that Scott's Twitter account was — unbeknownst to him — set up to automatically follow anyone who followed him. While I certainly don't believe that Scott intentionally followed naked teenagers or a pooting pachyderm, I do question the person(s) overseeing his Twitter for not knowing about "automatic follow" (the fact that he was following more than 25,000 accounts should have been the first clue) and not noticing these embarrassing follows, inadvertent or not.

That said, as the governor's dutiful, self-appointed unofficial Twitter account analyst, I took another look at who Scott is currently following (for the record, the aforementioned accounts have subsequently been unfollowed).

I don't want to ruin any surprises, but one is an escort service.

Check out Gov. Scott's latest "follow faux pas" in the photo gallery above (be warned: photo five contains words describing lady parts that may be considered offensive).   More


U Cant Txt & Drive Anymore

In an effort to "improve roadway safety ... and prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle," the state legislature passed the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving." Despite the law going into effect more than a week ago, many Jacksonville residents are just now hearing about it. One reason is because no one can shut up about the Mathews Bridge or the return of Cinottis' pumpkin donuts long enough to listen (apparently, the federal government shut down too—whatever that means). The lack of knowledge and/or interest regarding the ban might also have something to do with the law's exclusions and limitations, and the fact that it's only a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement can't pull a driver over just for texting.

While I applaud lawmakers for the effort, I'm not sure how much of an impact it will actually have, especially since there are so many other distracting activities done while driving.

Driving while primping: includes but is not limited putting on make-up, shaving, eyebrow plucking, doing your hair, flossing teeth, applying self-tanner and popping zits

Driving while performing: includes but is not limited to singing or lip-synching with or without the use of overly theatrical hand gestures, seat dancing (frequently brought on by Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and anything by Beyoncé), as well as the playing of air guitar, air drums, air keyboard, air bongos, air violin, air banjo, air saxophone, etc. (in addition to endangering the lives of others, you just look stupid)

Driving while listening to talk radio or sports radio: just imagine how many accidents Rush Limbaugh alone has caused by opening his mouth 

Driving while entertaining oneself: even if it's for self-improvement purposes including but not limited to reading newspapers or books (print or tablet versions), doing crossword puzzles or sudoku (especially with a pen), playing Games With Friends (or similar …   More