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First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

In case you missed my ramblings on First Coast Connect on WJCT this morning, here’s what’s coming up this weekend and beyond—Around Town!

Thursday, September 19

International Talk Like a Pirate Day, 5 p.m., St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, FREE

A Conversation with Andrew Young —"Race and the South: St. Augustine in Context," 7 p.m., Flagler College, Lewis Auditorium, FREE


Thursday, September 19–Sunday, September 22 

23th annual Home & Patio Show, Prime Osborn Convention Center


Thursday, September 19–October 20

"Weekend Comedy" starring Cindy Williams, Alhambra Theatre & Dining

Friday, September 20

Eddie Money, doors open 7 p.m., Brewster's Roc Bar

Friday, September 20–21

"The Wizard of Oz": An IMAX 3D Experience, 12:15 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., IMAX Theater at World Golf Hall of Fame 

Saturday, September 21

Jacksonville Dragon Boat Festival, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Jacksonville Landing 

Jacksonville Festival of Horror, 2 p.m.–2 a.m. 

First Coast Dancing With the Stars, 7:30 p.m., Boleros Ballroom

Sunday, September 22–29

Amelia Island Women's USTA Championship, Omni Amelia Island Resort, FREE (daily play only)


TEDx Jacksonville is currently accepting applications for "Connecting Currents," a one-day multi-disciplinary conference where dynamic speakers, inspiring performers and engaged participants will converge to explore the city's greatest challenges, innovations and concepts. With only a limited number of applicants invited to attend, the event is expected to sell out. Apply here. Now.

Tickets are still available for the Northeast Florida Beer Cup, hosted by "Jacksonville Magazine," on September 26 at TPC Sawgrass Tailgate Pavilion.

And it's not too early to get your tickets for Folio Weekly's Best of Jax Party, …   More


Success Appeal

For a month, Public Defender Fourth Judicial Circuit Matt Shirk's name has been in the local press almost as many times as Miley Cyrus' (coincidentally, both earned their headlines for making asses of themselves). An investigation conducted by The Florida Times-Union uncovered allegations of questionable hiring and firing practices, inappropriate email exchanges with female employees and the consumption of alcohol in his office, not to mention “Showergate" and "Badge-gate," all of which are currently under investigation by a special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.

But personal and career implications aside, Shirk may have financial woes to contend with were he to lose (or resign from) his position. According to a database using information provided to the Florida Commission on Ethics, Shirk’s net worth is the fourth lowest of the 184 public officials, including judges, city council members, sheriffs and school board members from Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties.

Here are some of the more interesting financial tidbits I found while spending way too much time searching for familiar names...

Public officials with the lowest net worth 

Jesse Davis, Baker County School Board: ($700,000)

Terry Wright, Putnam County School Board: ($63,768)

*Charles Van Zant, Clay County School Board: ($11,480)

Matt Shirk, Public Defender Fourth Circuit: $13,676

*Mark Miner, St. Johns County Commissioner: $14,381

Public officials with the highest net worth 

*W.C. Gentry, Duval County School Board: $32,194,174

Lori Boyer, Jacksonville City Council, $8,837,916  

Fred Lee, Duval County School Board: $7,435,254 

John Thrasher, Florida Senate: $6,820,548 

John "Jay" Morris St. Johns County Commissioner $4,739,754 


48 officials of the 184 in the database are worth more than $1 …   More


The Search for Self

“Google,” the verb, wasn’t added to “Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary” until 2007, but Internet users have been “Googling” for years, looking for dirt on friends, enemies, crushes, exes, bosses, even the creepy guy next door. But how many of us actually Google ourselves? As a Googling addict, I learn things about myself every time I do a search.

Of course, I already know that I live in Jacksonville. I’m a freelance writer and have a blog. And I graduated from Sandalwood High School in 19-mumble, mumble with Virginia Mills and Kevin Porter (yes, the Kevin Porter). There are links to my Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in accounts, evidence of my domination of Jacksonville's 2012 Dancing With the Stars (not really) and oodles of celebrity stalker alerts.

There are also a variety of things I didn't know about myself (or had conveniently forgotten) like, I clearly did not wow attendees with my presentation on "Creative Freelance Writing" at the UNF Writers Conference since I have not been invited back since 2009. I came in 139th place in the 2012 St. Patrick's Day 5K. And I'm ignorant, intolerant and hateful, and my writing is juvenile and insipid. On the bright side, thinks I should "join in a tournament of the greatest blogs on the Internet" and finds some of my articles "so well written [they] look like poetry."

Then there are those details that are just plain wrong starting with the fact that I'm male. I live in a former gay bar. And, at first glance, I'm dead.

If you want to know more about how to, ahem, Google yourself, check out these websites: 

Google: Manage your online reputation 

Chronicle of Higher Education: How to Google Yourself Effectively and What to Do About it How to Un-Google Yourself 



Visit Jacksonville's Promo Coasters

I was sitting at the bar of a local .. well, bar ... and saw this cardboard coaster produced by Visit Jacksonville. At first glance, I thought it was cute and a fun way to promote the city and random factoids (in this case, the average age of residents is 35.5, the lowest in the state). Then, the guy sitting next me, pointed out something curious about the design: every one of the faces on the coaster is white, white as in, not black or Asian or Native American or Hispanic.

Sure, some of the smiling cartoon people could be of mixed races, but they look pretty Caucasian to me. I find this to be particularly funny since the idea behind the "Only in Jax" campaign is to promote facts that folks might not know about the city.

Obviously, Jacksonville's population is not 100 percent white. I know this, of course, because I can see. But just to be sure, I checked the most recent U.S. Census numbers, and lo and behold, just 55 percent of Jacksonvillians identify themselves as "white only" (i.e., not mixed). Here's the breakdown:

White: 55.1 percent

Black/African-American: 30.7 percent

Hispanic or Latino: 7.7 percent

Asian: 4.3 percent

American Indian or Alaska native: .4 percent

Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: .1 percent

If Visit Jacksonville wanted to represent the city's population accurately, then 12 of the faces should have been white, seven black/African American, two Hispanic or Latino and one Asian. 

I can only assume that excluding non-white races was an oversight. But I still can't figure out what Ben Affleck's and Seth Rogan's mugs are doing on the coasters.

Check to photo gallery above to see which other celebrities you'll see "only in Jax (on a coaster)."   More


First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

In case you missed my ramblings on First Coast Connect on WJCT this morning, here’s what’s coming up this weekend and beyond—Around Town!

Thursday, September 5

• Back to Football Jaguars Pep Rally, 6 p.m., EverBank Field

Friday, September 6

• LoCash Cowboys, doors open 6 p.m., Mavericks

Friday, September 6–Saturday, September 7

• Breaking Boundaries, 7:30 p.m., Jacksonville University Swisher Theater 

Saturday, September 7

• Wounded Warrior Project 8K Run, 8 a.m., Metro Park 

• Up the River Downtown, 9:30 a.m. launch/noon arrival, Riverside Arts Market 

• Strut Your Mutt, 9:30 a.m., Riverside Park

• Community First Saturday, 10 a.m., Northbank Riverwalk

• 448th Anniversary of the Founding of St. Augustine, 10 a.m. 

• Southeast Clown Association Parade, 1–4 p.m., Jacksonville Landing 

Sunday, September 8

• Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m., EverBank Field 

Monday, September 9

• 9/11: We Will (Never) Forget, 8 p.m., Alhambra Theatre & Dining

Wednesday, September 10

• Raise Your Glass for the Fallen, 5 p.m., Whisky River 

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

If you have an event you would like to be considered for inclusion, email pertinent information to   More


Logos a Go-Go ... and a No-No

Clearly, the national media is never, ever, never, ever going to give the Jacksonville Jaguars a break. It’s bad enough the team suffers 24/7 criticism of the coach, players, draft choices, management and fans, but now their uniforms have become the object of national ridicule. recently named the Jags uni the worst—not only in the NFL but also MLB, NBA and NHL.

While I disagree with rankings (the St. Louis Cardinals are the best?), the article did get me thinking about the city’s other sports teams and how their team logos stack up against each other.

That said, I sought out more than 50 people, ranging from graphic designers to lawyers to reality TV junkies who don’t know the difference between a touchdown and a homerun, to participate in a highly unscientific poll ranking the logos of the Axemen, Breeze, Giants, Roller Girls, Sharks and Suns, as well as FSCJ,’s JU’s and UNF’s athletic teams. Which logo was the clear winner and one that participants would be proud to wear and which one begged the question: “Did Stevie Wonder design this?” 

Check the photo gallery above for the winners, losers and comments from the peanut gallery.



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


First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

In case you missed my ramblings on First Coast Connect on WJCT this morning, here’s what’s coming up this weekend and beyond—Around Town!

Thursday, August 29

Fantasia, 8 p.m., Florida Theatre

Thursday, August 29

A Decade With Donna, 6 p.m., Alhambra Theatre and Dining

Thursday, August 29-Saturday, August 31

Charlie Murphy, Comedy Zone

Thursday, August 29-Saturday, August 31 and Thursday, September 5-Saturday, August 7

"As You Like it," Theatre Jacksonville

Friday, August 30

Duval Mic Skillz Freestyle Battle, 9 p.m., Burro Bar 

Saturday, August 31

Red, White and Brew Tasting, 4 p.m., W90+, Jacksonville Beach

Saturday, August 31

Big Country, 7 p.m., Brewster's Roc Bar

Sunday, September 1

Rounds at the Grounds, 5 p.m., Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville

Wednesday, September 4

World Premiere of One Spark Documentary, 7:45 p.m., Hemming Plaza 


Eat Up Downtown has been extended through Sunday, September 1 offering $15, $25 and $35 menus at 13 Downtown restaurants. 

And it's the final week to vote in the ASPCA Rachael Ray 100K Challenge. Forty-nine shelters, including the Jacksonville Humane Society, are participating. To vote, visit the 100K Challenge Facebook page.

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


Spelling Counts

Watching the little ones return to school this month, I can’t help but think back to when I was in grade school. I loved almost everything about school with the exception of math, mainly because I am terrible with numbers. 

My best (and favorite) subject was spelling, which is pretty convenient given my career choice—but also incredibly frustrating when I repeatedly see words misspelled around town. Here, then, are the 10 most important people, places and things every Northeast Florida resident should know how to spell.

• Mathews Bridge: The bridge which connects Arlington and Downtown was named for John E. Mathews, a Florida legislator 1956-1970. He spelled his name with one "t," and that's the way you should spell the name of the bridge. And he doesn't own it either, so leave the apostrophe out.

• Philips Highway: It's not totally your fault if you spell it with two "L's" since some street signs and maps are still spelled wrong due to an error made decades ago on a post office zone map. The family of Duval County Judge Henry Bethune Philips for whom the road was named have been fighting to get signs corrected for years, but some "double L" versions remain, which only confuses residents further.

• Prime Osborn Convention Center: Built in 1919 as a railroad station, the building was converted into a 265,000-square-foot convention center in the mid 1980s. It was named for Prime F. Osborn (no "E," thank you very much) III, former chairman of CSX.

• St. Johns River: The river does not belong to St. John, therefore, it does not need an apostrophe. Likewise, don't put one in St. Johns County, St. Johns Bluff, St. Johns River City Band or St. Johns Town Center.

• Lynyrd Skynyrd: There's really no logical explanation as to the spelling other than it's a bastardization of the name of some band members' high school gym teacher, Leonard Skinner, who gave long-haired male students a hard time. In other news, The …   More


First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

In case you missed my ramblings on First Coast Connect on WJCT this morning, here’s what’s coming up this weekend and beyond—Around Town!

Thursday, August 22–Saturday, August 24

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Amelia Community Theatre

Thursday, August 22–Sunday, August 25

Circus Spectacular, Morocco Shrine Auditorium 

Friday, August 23–Saturday, August 24

Great Southern Tailgate Cookoff, Amelia Island, Main Beach

**CORRECTION: On this morning's program, it was incorrectly stated that the entertainment headliner would be the Little River Band. The headliner is actually Fran Cosmo, former lead singer of Boston. We regret the error.

Saturday, August 24

RAM-icon, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Riverside Arts Market

Saturday, August 24

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 7:30 p.m., EverBank Field 

Sunday, August 25

Mick Foley, 8 p.m., Comedy Zone 

Monday, August 26

Backstreet Boys, 7 p.m., Veterans Memorial Arena 


Tomorrow, Friday, August 23, is the final day to vote for Folio Weekly's Best of Jax 2013. I know for a fact that Melissa Ross would not be upset if you voted for her for Best Radio Personality and First Coast Connect for Best Radio Show. Nor would I if you voted for The Specktator for Best Blog. 

And it's the final two weeks to vote in the ASPCA Rachael Ray 100K Challenge. Forty-nine shelters, including the Jacksonville Humane Society, are participating. To vote, visit the 100K Challenge Facebook page.

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