No sooner than the winners of Folio Weekly's Best of Jax 2013 are declared, then the grousing starts.
"Their food sucks." "That place is lame." "She's an idiot." No doubt, readers all over Northeast Florida are bitching that their favorite restaurant/bar/wacko didn't win (and what do you want to bet 75 percent of those doing the complaining didn't even vote?).
I, for one, don't agree with all of the winners (if you can call being named "Best Wacko" winning), which is why I've created my own Best of Jax awards. Realizing that we are entitled to our opinions, I'm not disagreeing with voters, per se. Instead, I have taken the existing categories and put my own twist on them, allowing me to recognize my own favorites—without insulting other readers.
Local Hero ... Who Not Only Isn't a Billionaire but Doesn't Even Get Paid for His Valiant Efforts to Make Jacksonville a Better Place
Mike Field, co-founder of Jax Truckies (winner of Best Local Trend and Best Facebook page in the Best of Jax 2013 poll) and Jax Cash Mob
Local Zero ... Excitement
Local Wacko(s) ... on Twitter
NAME(S) REDACTED (um, hello ... they're wackos ... do you think I'm actually going to name them?)
Best TV Morning Show ...That Aired the Night Before But I Record It and Don’t Watch Until the Next Morning So It’s Technically a “TV Morning Show” to Me
Best B&B in Jacksonville ... and by “B&B” I Mean “Bread and Butter”
Best Bartender ... Who Shares My Last Name
Billy Speckman at European Street Cafe, Riverside
Best DJ ... Who Actually Plays My Song Requests
DJ Chill Will
Best Bookstore ... for People Too Lazy to Drive to a Bookstore and/or Who Like to Shop at 4 a.m.
Best Facebook Page ... for Posts About Real Life That Will Make You LOLOLOLOL
Tie: Amy Lee and …
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.
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 …
Lynyrd Skynyrd and Limp Bizkit formed in Jacksonville—albeit decades apart—and became extremely successful in their own genres including appearances on RIAA's top 100 albums. On April 27 and 28, the iconic bands will return to their hometown to perform as part of Welcome to Rockville at Metropolitan Park. But that, dear readers, is not where the comparisons between the long-haired, good ol’ boys who introduced the world to Southern rock and the angry young men with tattoos who pioneered nü metal end.
In addition to the run-ins with the law, reports of drug and alcohol abuse, and breakup/reunion/breakups that go hand in hand with the business rock and roll, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Limp Bizkit have more than a few not so obvious similarities.
1. Both have been referenced in "Weird Al" Yankovic songs: Limp Bizkit in "Angry White Boy Polka" and Lynyrd Skynyrd in "Trapped in the Drive-Thru."
2. Each had a member involved in a public sex scandal. I'll let you Google those stories for yourselves. I don't need that kind of stuff showing up on my search history.
3. They've recorded songs that are long enough for a DJ to make a bathroom run and squeeze in a catnap—assuming, of course, radio stations still employed actual DJs who actually selected and played actual songs anymore. The original recording of "Freebird" clocked in at 9 minutes, 22 seconds, though, with live versions nearing 15 minutes; Limp Bizkit's "Everything" is even longer: 16 minutes, 26 seconds.
4. Both were part of tragic accidents during their heyday. A teenager was crushed to death at a Limp Bizkit concert in Australia in 2002. In 1977, a plane crash in a wooded area in Mississippi killed Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick. Other band members and crew suffered serious injuries.
5. If name meanings are to be believed, Fred Durst and the late Ronnie Van Zant were destined to be lead …
At a recent Duval County School Board meeting, the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition presented 1,600 surveys of which 92 percent of the individuals surveyed were in favor of changing the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. I do not disagree with the idea, considering Forrest's unspeakable war crimes during the Civil War, including the execution of surrendered soldiers, and his post-war co-founding of the Ku Klux Klan. However, I would like to bring to your attention that Forrest High School isn't the only place in Jacksonville with a name that might be perceived as offensive.
bb's: The popular Southbank restaurant—with the drool-inducing dessert case—shares its initials with innocuous abbreviations like "bearded bro," "best buddy" and "bulletin board." But others found on Urban Dictionary ... are far less savory.
Burro Bar: “Burro” is a synonym for “ass," so Burro Bar = Ass Bar.
Broad Street: While I personally don’t have a problem with it, the word “broad” is considered by some to be degrading to women. Some less offensive replacements might be: Lady Street, Gentlewoman Street or Female Street (that's "Femella," as you may have learned in Latin class, preferably not in a school named for a war criminal).
Felch Avenue: If you really want to know why "Felch" is a horrible name for a street, check out its definition on Urban Dictionary. Consider yourself warned. Seriously.
Jaxx Sports Sports Bar: Besides the fact that adding a second “X” to "Jax" serves no real purpose, Tristan Jaxx is the name of a gay porn star. He has an, ahem, lengthy filmography with titles including “Fleet Week,” "Best Men," “Endless Crush” and others not appropriate to repeat here.
Nero's: Nero was a Roman emperor. He also seduced married women and young boys, killed innocent people for no reason, castrated slaves ... oh, and murdered his mother. He's also …
Having watched "The Bachelor" since its debut in 2002 (feel free to judge—unless you watch "Dance Moms" or "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"), I think the latest season was the most boring ever. The tedium did serve a purpose, though, since it gave me time to re-imagine the show with local personalities handing out the roses.
From a musician to a chef, an NFL player to a news anchor, the eight bachelors* in the above photo gallery are my local candidates for "The Bachelor" season 18. As you will see, not every one of them was selected based on their looks (how many of them would you like to see in the show's frequent "shirtless bachelor working out or running down the beach" scenes?) or accomplishments (one of them isn't even old enough to have a driver license ... guess his dates' parents would have to drive the convertible Ferrari). But each has a certain something that would make it a show worth watching.
* Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge, each of these gentleman is a true bachelor (i.e., not legally married), a "fact" that I researched on the Internet and/or by texting friends of friends of people who might know them. In the event that any of them is married, I apologize profusely to the gentleman in question, his wife, his family and potential bachelorettes.
I’m pissed. And it’s not like it’s one thing that has me miffed.
As much as I love Jacksonville, there are so many things that irritate me about the city—and my fellow residents, such as...
1. City streets that change names. My personal favorite is in San Marco where Gulf Life Drive becomes Riverplace Boulevard, changes back to Gulf Life for a block or two, reverts to Riverplace, before turning into Hendricks Avenue which becomes San Jose Boulevard.
2. The misprounciation of "jaguar." The preferred pronunciation, assuming you trust Merriam-Webster.com, is "ja-ˌgwär." For those of you not up on diacritical marks, you can listen to the audio pronunciation on their website. Granted, there are other "acceptable" pronunciations—"jag-gyə-ˌwär" and "jag-gwər," but "jag-wire" and "jag-u-wire" are not two of them.
3. Not knowing how to merge into traffic. I know this isn't specific to Jacksonville, but it's such a common—not to mention, dangerous—aspect of driving in this city that it bears mentioning. (I would, however, like to give a special shout out to the 1-95 North and South/Fuller Warren Bridge area for being a complete nightmare for merging ... and changing lanes ... and not accidentally ending up at the airport.) Instead of griping any further, I will simply encourage you to watch the video "How to Merge Into Traffic."
4. Adding an "s" to names and places where it doesn't belong. Case in point: Lanes Avenue, Wonderwoods Drive, Scott Mills Road or Dunns Avenue; MOJOS, TacoLus or Tavernas. And while we're on the subject, for the love of sibilance, stop with Walmarts, Kmarts, Barnes & Nobles and Victoria's Secrets. Sssssssso annoying.
5. The nickname "Bold New City of the South." Jacksonville gained its new moniker in 1968 when the city and county governments were consolidated. For starters, it wasn't really a "bold" decision considering …
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!
Craig Morgan, 7 p.m., Mavericks at the Landing
Fusebox Funk, 9 p.m., 1904 Music Hall
Jacksonville Suns, Baseball Grounds
Check out some of the Suns' kooky upcoming promo events.
JumpingFish benefit concert with Tom McDermott, 8 p.m., Church of the Good Shepherd
Drew Carey, Comedy Zone
July 12-August 3
"Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," Players by the Sea
Just announced: Backstreet Boys at the Veterans Memorial Arena, August 26. Tickets go on sale July 12. That's tomorrow, ladies!
Happy 47th birthday to Tonca, the Museum of Science and History's alligator snapping turtle. MOSH hosts a birthday party 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Yours truly rocks the mic on WJCT's First Coast Connect every Thursday around 9:45 a.m. Tune in. Look out.
Here's an interesting Fakt: Oktoberfest — the real one, in Munich, Bavaria, Germany — actually starts in September and runs until the first weekend in October.
So for all intents and purposes the multi-week event takes place almost equally in September as it does in October.
That's probably why the Germans don't even call it "Oktoberfest." Rather, they refer to it as "die Wiesn," a colloquialism for "Theresienwiese," the fairgrounds at which it's held.
But we Americans have no problem changing a centuries-old tradition to better suit our own needs, which explains these local Oktoberfest events, which all take place in the month of October.
Oktoberfest at Art Walk
October 2, 5–11 p.m. (extended hours), Downtown, admission: free
nearly 50 venues, artists, street performers, etc. spread over 15 blocks
biergarten block party in Hemming Plaza
German, seasonal and local brews
16+ live music venues including performances by EPCOT's Dan Witucki and Mein Heimatland Musikanten Band
Oktoberfest at European Street Cafe
October 5, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., European Street Cafe (Jacksonville Beach), admission: free
beer from Germany-and around the world
authentic German food including giagantic Bavarian pretzel
live music from The Five Hungry (1–5 p.m.)
photo opps with the Monster German Wiener
** First 100 guests receive a free one-liter glass boot (to drink from, not to wear)
** Wear traditional lederhosen or dirndl and get a free beer.
Intuition Ale's Third Annual Oktoberfest Celebration
October 6, 1–8 p.m., Memorial Park, $20 in advance, $25 at the door, kids under 12 free, VIP sold out
live music from The Swinging Bavarians oompah band with Traditional Oktoberfest songs and yodeling
slap-dancing and the chicken dance
Intuition's famous beer and special Oktoberfest …
Ten years ago, 30 Australian friends decided to do something to raise awareness and funding for men's health issues, including testicular cancer, prostate cancer and mental illness. Their bright idea was to start November clean shaven and grow (or attempt to) a moustache (or reasonable fascimile thereof) for 30 days. Serving as walking billboards to promote the cause, they would also raise money in the process.
Today, Movember has more than 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, their female supporters, around the world, including a local chapter (movemberjax.com). To help promote the cause locally, as well as recognize some of the city's most famous moustaches, I am officially announcing the Jacksonville Moustache Hall of Fame. From athletes and attorneys to politicians and a pussy cat, they wear their lip sweaters proudly—and most likely, without even realizing it—supporting the Movember cause year-round, while encouraging others to do the same.
To see the inaugural class of the Jacksonville Moustache Hall of Fame, click on the photo gallery above. And if I missed anyone, let me know if the comments section below.
As for me, I would love to support the Movember cause by growing a moustache of my own but am unable to do so (thanks to the invention of electrolysis). Instead, I have decided not to shave my legs for the entire month of November. I don't think my cats will mind.