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Hot Enough for Ya?

It’s August, but I don’t need a calendar to know this.

I can tell simply by the number of complaints I hear—every single day—about the humidity. Oh, and the fact that I, too, live in Jacksonville and know what it’s like to leak sweat out of every pore of my body within five seconds of walking outside.

We all know that there are downsides to humidity: increased allergens, potential for dehydration and difficulties for individuals with asthma, not to mention the dreaded hair frizz, boob sweat and make-up sliding off one’s face. But guess what? There are actual benefits (health and otherwise) that come with humidity too:

1. Reduced susceptibility to colds and respiratory illness 

2. Fewer flare-ups of eczema or other skin conditions because of body moisture 

3. Protection for hardwood floors, carpet and woodworking

4. Healthier joints and muscles

5. Less static electricity 

6. Reduced bacteria and germs indoors

7. Increased efficiency for runners

If those aren't enough reasons for you to quit your whining about the humidity, you can always move to Alaska or Iceland and to contend with up to 23 hours of daylight in the summer months.

Or you could head down under to enjoy a friendly mouse plague. 

Oh, and one more thing, August isn't even the hottest month of the year in Jacksonville. July is.   More


I Smell Bacon

Based on the theory of six degrees of separation, which suggests that any two people on the planet can be linked by six acquaintances or fewer, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is an entertainment trivia version that attempts to connect the prolific actor to others through movies they've appeared in (who remembers Bacon from "Animal House" or "Friday the 13th"?).

Being the celebrity stalker that I am, I wondered if there are any locals who could be connected to Bacon in only six steps. Turns out, there are a number of people right here in River City who could pick up a phone, call someone, who could call someone, who could call someone, who could call someone, who could possibly get the Baconator on the phone. Some, like actor Ashley Greene of "Twilight" fame, are no brainers, but others, including a politician, "sandwich king," radio show host and college president, are just as connected.

As of yet, I haven't figured out a way to link myself and Bacon, but the whole premise does give me hope that Edward Norton, Alex O'Loughlin and Jimmy Fallon are mere phone calls away.

To see which local folks are Six Degrees of Separation From Kevin Bacon, check out the photo gallery above.   More


Golden Child of Jax Music Scene Has Gone Platinum

Today was a typical Monday for J. Dash (or, as I like to refer to him "future Grammy winner J. Dash"). He was driving to his job as a computer engineer at a large Jacksonville company (sorry, can't tell you where lest more groupies find out ... no, really, they already show up there) and got a phone call from Ken Underwood. 

"How does it feel to be a platinum [recording] artist?" Underwood said. (J., for those of you who have been living under a very large rock, like, a freaking boulder, is also a Jacksonville-based recording artist best known for his single "WOP" and is part of local band Fusebox Funk.) 

J. says he couldn't breathe. 

"It's crazy. When the song went gold, I thought it could happen, but I always had this fear in the back of my head that it would sell 999,999 and then people would stop buying it," he says on the phone. "But then the day comes ... I realized this is the day my life is going to change, and it's incredible."

Since its original release several years ago, "WOP" has become nothing short of a phenomenon. Without the support of a major record label, it has been on the Billboard Hot 100 list for 10 weeks, where it's currently #76 (just above Jay-Z and Tim McGraw, FYI). Videos shot by fans all over the world doing the "WOP" have received more than 100 million views on YouTube, and it has become a common trending topic on Instagram and Vine. The song has been featured on NBC's "Today Show," "The Teen Choice Awards" (where audience members set the Guinness World Record for twerking) and in the now infamous Miley Cyrus video.

Underwood, founder and CEO of J.'s record label StereoFame Records, says the accomplishment is especially impressive since StereoFame, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, is an independent label, though, lately, he says, "the majors" have been banging down his door.

"We are currently entertaining proposals from several major labels who are eager to become partners in J. Dash's success," Underwood says. "In …   More


Jax Pop Up Video: 'Jacksonville Theme Song'

Since making its debut in 1996, "Pop Up Video" has been one of my favorite shows on VH-1. Combined with my love of Jacksonville and You Tube, I decided I would combine the three to create my own version.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my debut Jax Pop Up Video for "Jacksonville Theme Song."

The original "Jacksonville Theme Song," performed by Jon and Chris, was posted on You Tube by Lizzy Sitter in 2008. In retrospect, I realize Jon and Chris could very well be singing about Jacksonville, Oregon or Jacksonville, Illinois or Jacksonville, Arkansas or Jacksonville, North Carolina. No matter. As the song says, "We're all 'pioneers of the future.'"   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 8

Clark Howard, 7 p.m., Books-A-Million, 9400 Atlantic Blvd.

Thursday, August 8–Sunday, August 11

Coco, the Colossal Colon, Hyatt Regency Riverfront 

Friday, August 9–Saturday, August 10

Tour de Pain, various locations 

Friday, August 9

Alabama in Concert, 7 p.m., St. Augustine Amphitheatre 

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins, 7:30 p.m., EverBank Field

Saturday, August 10

Painting of the Pawprints, 8–11 a.m., Shipyards, parking lot X

Save the Ferry Bike Ride, 9 a.m., Mellow Mushroom, Jacksonville Beach

Clean Water Music Fest, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1–11 p.m.

3 Divas and a Guy Named Darryl, 7 p.m.,  Aurora Performance Hall

Sunday, August 11

China Cat Sunflower Festival, 4:20-8 p.m., Karpeles Manuscript Museum 

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



I’m not abandoning the Jaguars.

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my hometown team. It’s just that I’ve never had much of a personal connection to football. I didn’t watch it growing up. In high school, I went to exactly one football game. And Jacksonville University didn’t even have a team when I went to school there. Honestly, I haven’t even watched the Super Bowl since 2005—no, not even for the commercials.

Accordingly, I have decided to make it official and announce my retirement as a partially-semi-barely football fan to become a pro soccer (or “football,” as the rest of the world calls it) fan, specifically a fan of the Fulham Football Club (or "soccer" as we refer to it). And here's why:

1. Shad Khan. I. Love. This. Man. Everything he says, thinks, does and spends his millions on. Love.

2. Less complicated rules. Or so says this article on And my British expatriate friend. 

3. Shorter games. There's a pretty good chance I could make it through an entire soccer game without switching the channel more than three times (90 minutes plus 15-minute half vs. three hours-ish of football). 

4. Recognizability. Football players wear all that padding and those giant helmets that obscure their faces: It's difficult to know who's who if they aren't wearing a jersey with their name in giant letters on the back (subliminal message: soccer players show more skin, which brings me to...)

5. Better bodies. Seriously, how many people fantasize about seeing a 400-pound man naked? In related news, Fullham goalie David Stockdale and I are now dating (unbeknownst to him ... and his wife).

6. Foreign accents. I'm a sucker for them, and Fulham has players from Austria, England, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Mali, Switzerland and Venezuela. Jaguars guard Austin Pasztor is from Canada.

7. …   More


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


40 Is the New 40

Before I go any further, I want to get one thing clear: I am not an ageist. I have nothing but respect for babies. I hold millennials, generation X-ers and baby boomers in high regard. And I’ve got nothing but love for septuagenarians, supercentenarians and all the -arians in between.

That said, I do have a bone to pick with two local publications.

For more than a decade, the Jacksonville Business Journal has been honoring up-and-coming professionals with “40 Under 40.” Two years ago, BUZZ Magazine started recognizing “successful future leaders” with “Jacksonville's Top 30 Under 30.” Well, guess what, young whippersnappers: 40-somethings do pretty amazing things, too.

Hank Aaron was 40 when he hit his 715th home run. Ingrid Bergman, Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon won Academy Awards in their 40s. Benjamin Franklin was in his mid-40s when he conducted his electric experiments with a key and a kite. Mother Teresa was 42 when she founded her Missions of Charity. Presidents Obama, Clinton, Kennedy and Grant were all in their 40s when they took office.

Which brings me to a special announcement: Nominations for The Specktator's inaugural “49 Between 40 and 49" are officially open. Unlike previously mentioned contests, there are no "qualifications" for being nominated (I mean, what exactly does "professional" mean? And isn't "success" relative?) — other than the nominee must be between the ages of 40 and 49 and live in Northeast Florida. It would be great if the person does something beneficial for the community, excels in her job, possesses a special talent or maybe he just looks good in a Speedo. Whatever criteria you choose to use in your nomination is up to you. 

Email me at with your name, the name and age of your nominee, and reason(s) for your nomination—in ≤49 words, please. You may nominate as many people as you'd like, including …   More


Obama Put Me in My Place in 2012

Today, President Barack Obama will be at the Jacksonville Port Authority to present his vision for the economy. Jacksonville has experienced continued economic growth directly as a result of Jaxport, a trend that city leaders would certainly like to build upon.

I am so excited that I have the opportunity to be on the Tarmac (I've always wanted an excuse to use the word "Tarmac"), watch Air Force 1 land and see the leader of the free world, surrounded by scary Secret Service agents who could kill me with a pinky, descend the red carpeted airstairs on to a red carpet. 

This isn't my first experience seeing the president, though...

Originally posted July 20, 2012 on

Ever wonder where you fit in the Jacksonville socio-political scene? Up until yesterday, I never did, but after attending President Barack Obama's "grassroots rally" at the Prime Osborn Convention, I know exactly where I stand, rather, sit.

Judging by seat placement, I fall somewhere between City Councilman John Crescembeni and Edward Waters College President (and former sheriff) Nat Glover, who were four and six rows behind me, respectively, and Rhiannon Owens renowned drag queen and host of Hambingo at Hamburger Mary's, who had a primo spot standing in the barricaded section directly in front of the podium.

One of the real mover and shakers, however, turned out to be Dave McDonald (aka Jax Food Critic), who appeared to have the best seat in the house.

Check the photo gallery above for photographic evidence.

And, of course, Lee High School choir director and chairman of the music department AJ Neaher, who sang the national anthem...




My View on 'The View'

Elisabeth Hasselbeck barely had time to take the Mitt Romney posters (and Kathy Griffin dartboard) off her dressing room walls and remove her egg whites and energy bars out of the "The View" lunchroom before Jenny McCarthy started moving in.

With a Bankers Box full of anti-vaccine brochures, Razzie Awards and Gas-X, McCarthy is already making herself at home, which is great for maintaining the show's momentum. But I am slightly disappointed that no local women were even considered for the gig. Northeast Florida is full of sassy, opinionated women, many of whom have experience on TV and public speaking.

Take, for example, Grandma Lee: how entertaining would it be to watch the foul-mouthed, chain-smoking 79-year-old comic try and make it to the first commercial break without suffering nicotine withdrawals or dropping an "F" bomb—or 10? 

Check out all of my picks in the photo gallery above.   More