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First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

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

May 23

Jeans and Jazz: Teddy Washington's Signature Jazz Show

927 Events, 6 p.m.

May 23-May 26

Jacksonville Jazz Festival

May 23

Dylan Fest

Underbelly, 8 p.m.

May 24

"Off Jazz" With Brian McKnight and Avant

Florida Theatre, 7 p.m.

May 24-27

Michelob National Beach Paddle Tennis Tournament

Butler Beach, St. Augustine 

May 25

Moonlight Movies: "Iron Man"

Seawalk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach, 9 p.m. 

May 25

PB&J Pop Up Picnic

Your guess is as good as mine, 6:30 p.m.  

May 25

Jacksonville Dance Theatre

Episcopal School of Jacksonville, 7:30 p.m.

May 25

Jacksonville Breeze vs. Baltimore Charm

Veterans Memorial Arena, 8 p.m. 

May 26

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers Concert with Edie Brickell

St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 7 p.m.

May 28

Shakespeare for Dummies

WJCT Studios, 6 p.m. 

Yours truly rocks the mic on WJCT's First Coast Connect every Thursday around 9:50 a.m. Tune in. Look out.   More


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


Hear Us Roar!

In the last year, Shad Khan has made incredible strides toward building a football team that the fans deserve and one of which Jacksonville can truly be proud. Personnel changes, new coaching staff and bold signings (and cuts) have all set the stage for change, but it wasn’t until the unveiling of the updated logo and uniforms that the city truly began to feel the “new attitude” Khan wants to create. I applaud him on everything he’s done so far, but I believe there’s one crucial element still missing if we are to take the team, in the words of Mayor Alvin Brown, “to the next level”: an official Jaguars anthem.

Fortunately, multi-platinum recording artist/producer — and Jacksonville native — Thrill Da Playa (aka Van Bryant) of the 69 Boyz has “Show Up Show Out” all cued up and ready to go. All he needs is someone in Jaguars HQ to declare it the official anthem. And here's how you can help.

Listen to "Show Up Show Out" and/or sign the petition.

While I await the phone call from Mr. Khan thanking me for bringing this amazing song to his attention and inviting me and Van to join him for lunch on his yacht, I encourage you to check out the other contenders—starting with my personal favorite.

The Lanier Five Duval Jaguars Song


Let's Go Jags

I Rep My City

Rock and Roar

We Are Jaguars

Jag Rag

Jacksonville Jaguars Song

Golden Jaguars

Black and Teal



Sealed With a Hug

National Hug Week is over, and my personal quest to hug it out was a success. I didn't keep an official tally, but I'd say I averaged 10 embraces a day, which, according to the Hug for Health Foundation's daily hug prescription, puts me well on my way toward personal "growth."

In all honesty, it wasn't that difficult for me as I consider myself a "hugger" anyway. That's not to say, however, the holiday was without challenges, like having to hug folks with garlic hummus breath or funky-smelling dreadlocks (which I did). And then there were the people who stayed in the embrace so long it became awkward. Or the guy who said, "That wasn't a real hug!" then came at me full-frontal for a more satisfying one. (Looking on the bright side: If it weren't for these experiences, I might never have realized that "hug" is an anagram for "ugh.")

The fact that National Hug Week coincided with The Players Championship was a major bonus for a stalker such as myself since it gave me a legitimate reason to hug Adam Scott, Luke Donald and Jonas Blixt. Unfortunately, they were out of arms reach — literally — all week, so I had to fill my celebrity creeper quota by hugging other athletes, a country music star and local media personalities (check the photo gallery above).

More than anything, National Hug Week made me more aware of hugging the people I should be hugging every time I see them: my friends. Up until this week, the friends I see the most are the ones I hug the least, probably because I see them all the time. Because of this experience, I'll hug the people who mean the most to me the most.

And I promise my cats, Fonzie Ann Mildred and Puddy Frederick Renaire, that I will do my best to hug them less. As you can see in the photo gallery, they're not big fans.   More


First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

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

May 9-10

San Augustin Sol Festival

May 9

YMCA After Partee With Jo Dee Messina

The Lot at TPC Sawgrass, 6 p.m.


Loretta Swit Stars in Alhambra Theatre & Dining


May 9-10

Golf & Garden Party

Winn-Dixie, Ponte Vedra Beach 

May 10

THE CUT Party Benefiting the Boselli Foundation

The Lot at TPC, 6 p.m. 

May 10-11

Funk Fest

Metropolitan Park 

May 11

Jax Cash Mob

Reddi-Arts, 11 a.m. 

May 11

Fancy Pants Party Benefiting Blessings in a Backpack

The Lot at TPC, 6 p.m. 

May 11

Bark After Dark

Club Continental, 6 p.m. 

May 14-15

American Idiot

Times-Union Center 

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


Follow the Leader … or Not

The Players Championship officially begins May 9, but with nearly 150 players in the field, it’s tough to choose who to follow. While I have every intention of following my boyfriend Adam Scott, it is possible that he might not play (or, more likely, I'm not allowed within 300 yards of him).

That said, I consulted a true expert on the subject, Marc Fagan, founder and president of Edwin Watts Golf Academy, for his advice on who to follow — which he claims should have nothing to do with their looks.

If you want to follow the most likely to win …

Fagan says the Pete Dye-designed course really benefits players with good short games, especially putting. That said, he expects Ian Poulter, Billy Horschel, Luke Donald and Tiger Woods to fare well. (Note: Fagan may think looks are irrelevant, but I would like to point out both Horschel and Donald are on my cutest players list too.)

If you want to be amazed …

Seeing Bubba Watson crush the ball in person is even more incredible than on TV, Fagan says. And, of course, practically everything Woods does is amazing.

If you want personal interaction …

Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler and Angel Cabrera are friendly with the gallery, and Phil Mickelson is especially chatty with fans.

If you want to learn something …

According to Fagan, Woods, Scott and Justin Rose have the best swings on the tour. That said, avert your eyes whenever Jim Furyk tees off.

If you want to support the dark horse …

Fagan says, “Watch out for Boo Weekley.”

If you’re not afraid of being trampled …

Woods or Watson.




Golf Schmolf

I assume you're "supposed" to go to The Players Championship to witness the best golfers in the world do what they do best (which, as far as I can tell, is knock a small ball into a hole using metal stick). While I'm not going to dispute the athletic ability required to accomplish such a task (especially considering I was +13 the last time I played miniature golf), I am going to suggest that there are other less obvious motives for making the drive to TPC Sawgrass.

1) Tasty grub. Not that burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches wrapped in foil and served out of a backyard shed don't have their place in the culinary world, but this year's tournament is stepping it up with offerings from some of the area's most popular restaurants. The Taste of Jax pavilion includes Thai and Southeast Asian-inspired dishes from Indochine, good old fashioned comfort food from Metro Diner and award-winning Neapolitan pizza from Pele's Wood Fire.

2) Party atmosphere. It may not be the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party," but The Players Championship comes pretty darned close. Besides the golf course itself serving as a grass-covered pub crawl, the post-play shindigs are way above par, which—in this case—is a good thing. My recommendations? The Cut Party (Friday, May 10, 6-11 p.m.), benefiting the Boselli Foundation with barbecue, libations and a live performance by country star Darryl Worley; and the Fancy Pants Party (Saturday, May 11, 6-11 p.m.), benefiting Blessings in a Backpack, featuring wings, full bar, raffles and a live performance from the awesome '80s band, Yacht Rock Review.

3) Cute guys. Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but I think we can all agree the grass should burst into flames beneath Adam Scott’s feet. You may not agree with my other picks in the photo gallery above, nor can I  guarantee that all of them will actually play in the tournament. But I can assure you that …   More


Tebow May Be Out of Work ...

By now, you probably know (whether you want to or not) Tim Tebow is unemployed. As the sports pundits continue to speculate if he'll get picked up, move to the AFL or work the register at PDQ, a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in chicken sandwiches that he plans to invest in, I, for one, am not worried about Tebow following in the footsteps of his idol and Heisman Trophy winner turned NFL flop Danny Wuerffel. 

If nothing else, he has a promising career in YouTube video cameos to wit "Basketball Diva," the adorable Jason Yee's tribute to Washington Wizards center Jason Collins for revealing he is gay. Tebow's shirtless photo appears around 49 seconds during the lyric: "Be proud of who you are, even if you're a famous sports star, live ur luv out loud, cuz we only have now."

Interpret away, pundits...



First Coast Connect: Around Town Events

In case you missed my ramblings on First Coast Connect this morning (or you're still trying to grasp that Tim Tebow is unemployed), here’s what’s coming up this  …here’s what’s coming up this week — and beyond — Around Town:

May 2

Celtic Woman

Times-Union Center, 7:30 p.m. 

May 2

Jacksonville Magazine Model Fashion Show

Casa Marina, Jacksonville Beach, 6:30 p.m. 

May 3

Jacksonville's Dancing With the Stars

Times-Union Center, 8 p.m. 

May 3

Folio Weekly's Margarita Fest

Morocco Shrine Auditorium, 7-10 p..m. 

May 3

Tee Off Downtown

4-10:30 p.m. 

May 4

Kentucky Derby Party

St. Johns Town Center, 5-9 p.m.

May 4

Chris Botti with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra

Times-Union, 8 p.m.

May 4

Movies in the Park: "Brave"

Wyndham Jacksonville Riverfront Lawn, 8 p.m.

May 5

5 Points Springfest

5 Points, 2-10 p.m. 

Through May 4

"Tea and Sympathy"

Theatre Jacksonville 

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


Embrace National Hug Week

Wouldn’t it be great if you could reduce anxiety and stress, lower your blood pressure and risk of heart disease, and help build your immune system without medication, exercise or even visiting the doctor?

According to researchers, you can, and it’s easy as opening your arms and giving someone a hug.

Sponsored by the Hugs for Health Foundation (HHF), National Hug Week, May 6-12, was created to “increase hug abundance on the planet.”

In celebration of this heartwarming holiday, I aim to fill my “daily hug prescription,” as suggested by HHF (four for survival, eight for maintenance and 12 for growth), every day next week.

And I encourage you to do the same, keeping in mind, of course, HHF's Proper Hug Etiquette (aka The Rules to Safe Hugging):

Always respect another's space.

Ask permission before hugging.

A hug is a compassionate gesture, hug accordingly.

A hug is a gentle embrace, not the Heimlich Maneuver.

Be "in" the hug; don't simply go through the motion.

Even if you can't embrace in person, you can hug others virtually via email, text or social media using one of these seven hug emoticons.

I'll be sharing my Hug Week experiences right here—pictures and all—so stay tuned. In the mean time, let's take a moment, shall we, to review HHF's Hugger's Creed: 

We believe HUGS nurture the human spirit, promote a more positive outlook  and enhance the quality of one's life.