With my football knowledge limited to recognizing little more than a touchdown is worth six points and Tim Tebow looks better with his shirt off, I'm certainly not qualified to say whether or not the Jaguars new uniforms will help them play better. And considering my closet is filled with Oscar the Grouch T-shirts and Old Navy flip-flops, I really don't have any business offering my opinion on how the uniforms look either.
But here are my observations anyway about today's unveiling of the 2013 uniforms.
1. The uniforms are black. Again. But this year, the jerseys use a pointy font!
2. Apparently, the designers are fans of Bob Mackie as the uniforms also feature "over-the-shoulder details" and "embellishments down the leg."
3. That said, I have to give credit to Nike Creative Director Todd Van Horne for keeping a straight face while describing the uniforms, especially when using phrases such as "claw-inspired" and "speed stripe." He also described the helmet as the "crown jewel" of the new look without so much as cracking a smile.
4. Clearly the new gloves were designed specifically for Blaine Gabbert. Putting the Jags logo on the palms is a much more subtle way of helping him find a receiver than "Throw the ball here, Blaine!" with a big fat bullseye.
5. According to the new logo identity, we are now the "Jags," which is actually a good thing since half of the people who live here can't pronounce "jaguars" anyway.
6. When asked about his thoughts on the new uniform, Justin Blackmon referred to the new logo identity placed over the heart in homage to the fans: "...the patch right there on the right, over the heart." Uh, Justin, your heart is on your left, not your right, unless, of course, you meant stage right.
But don't let my thoughts influence you. Check out the the entire press conference and photos for yourself (or just forward to 4:42 to hear Blackmon prove …
One Spark kicks off this week. And while people with far more money, intelligence and business savvy than I are looking to the five-day festival for the next big thing, I am most excited about meeting the people who came up with the ideas in the first place.
By "plugging" these creators, I'm not saying their projects are going to save the world or anything (actually, one of them might) — or if they're even financially viable. I do know that they and their projects will certainly make it a much more interesting world to live in.
To learn more about the creators and their projects, as well as where you can find them, click on the links below.
Instant Beard Cream
Why it gets my vote: I've often wondered what I'd look like with a Shad Khan-style mustache. This colored shaving cream can make that happen.
Angel Ayala Torres
Why it gets my vote: I love discovering new music and supporting independent artists. I also love how one song can completely change your mood or perspective. This app does all that.
1've Got Your "One Spark" Right Here-Baby!!!
Why it gets my vote: Gibson, who was born with only seven fingers, created her own unique form of artistic expression called "deformance art" that is clever, educational and inspiring.
Barry Maurice Givens
Why it gets my vote: A mobile robotic mixologist that lets me order and pay for drinks with my iPhone—and not worry about ignored by a bartender? Cheers to that! Bonus points for having two of the three Bee Gees' names in his own.
The Guardian Project: Sexual Assault Victim Therapy Dogs
Why it gets my vote: Being able to give a survivor of a sexual assault any sense of security and confidence truly is priceless. Which is exactly why they need funding...
Why it gets my vote: Forget that Jackson and Shawn Fisher are way talented …
Ask anyone who's ever seen NBC’s “The Biggest Loser" who Jillian Michaels is and chances are they’ll say something like “the really mean trainer.” Some might even describe her as … a “B” word.
What’s funny is that Michaels is actually quite pleasant, warm and easy to talk to. And she doesn’t even think of herself as a personal trainer; she considers herself a life coach, hence her Maximize Your Life Tour, which she brings to the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.
In this “intimate and uniquely personal evening,” Michaels will discuss topics like living in your truth, redefining your self-image and improving confidence, creating a winning attitude, build willpower and, of course, losing weight and getting in the best shape of your life.
“So many people hate their jobs. They dread getting out of bed. They’re barely able to pay their bills. They ask themselves ‘Is this all there is?’” she said in a recent phone interview. “I know this because I’ve been there, and I want to help you to connect with your passion and learn to believe in yourself!”
And here are some things you might be surprised to learn about Michaels.
She’s only 5’2”.
Other than on "The Biggest Loser," you’ll never catch her in spandex at the gym: sweats only.
Her guilty pleasure is chocolate, especially brownies and truffles.
She has 952,074 followers on Twitter: More than twice as many as TBL coach Bob Harper.
In eighth grade, she weighed 175 pounds.
She lives in jeans but has been known to sport designer duds and accessories from Michael Kors, Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Jason Wu.
Her traveling companion is her parrot, mostly because the bird hates everyone but her and can’t be left with the pet sitter.
In 2002, she opened Sky Sport & Spa with fellow trainer cum reality TV star Jackie Warner of …
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 …
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 — news.wjct.org — 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 …
The first printed reference to April showers bringing May flowers dates back to 1860 in a collection songs, ballads and short poems edited by Thomas Wright: “Aprell sylver showers so sweet, Can make May flowers to sprynge.” As it turns out, April showers can bring a host of other benefits besides ushering in the arrival of calla lilies, daffodils, lilacs and peonies.
Higher aquifer levels. The Floridan aquifer provides billions of gallons of water each year to Jacksonville. The water that comes from underground aquifers, however, is limited and must be refreshed by rainfall. Of course aquifer levels could also be helped by obsessive car washers putting down their hoses (note to my neighbor: It doesn’t matter how shiny it is, it’s still a Ford Fiesta.)
Adorable footwear. Typically, the only folks seen walking around in rubber boots are firefighters, janitors and the cast of "Deadliest Catch," but just the slightest sprinkle also gives fashionistas an excuse to slip on splash boots (even the name is adorable!) decorated with polka dots, flowers or lady bugs.
Abundance of mushrooms. Moisture disperses the spread of mushroom spores which makes them sprout and spread, which is great news for fans of the morel, portobella and cremini. Not so much for mycophobics, however.
Crime reduction. A major study conducted by the Daily Record and Standard Mail found that reported crimes decreased by nearly 25 percent on the rainest days. Violent crime, in particular, fell almost 45 percent. The report did not specify the effect of rain on splash boot pilfering.
Better fishing. When the weather is warm, rain affects the temperature on the water surface which tends to bring fish up. Anglers, especially those using top water lures, swear fishing just after a healthy rain fall is one of the best times to drop their bait.
Changes in pollen count. Allergy suffers may experience some relief with increased rain washing pollen …
It's time for another edition of "Tweet Beat." Like a sworn officer of the law, I will patrol the Twitterverse protecting and serving the Tweeters, their followers and the community at large. On today's docket is State Senator Aaron Bean.
• In his Twitter profile (@AaronPBean), he describes himself as: "Senator for Senate District 4, which includes Duval and Nassau Counties. Husband, Father of 3 Sons." Say what you want about him, but Bean is no long-winded politician: He has 41 characters remaining in his profile description.
• Bean currently has 560 Twitter followers, more than twice the number of his District 9 colleague, Senator Audrey Gibson but 17,549,765 fewer than Kim Kardashian.
• He’s following 99 accounts including Gov. Rick Scott, John Thrasher, John Boehner, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove and CNN. His first follow was Florida Senator Rob Bradley.
• According to his Twitter timeline, Bean's first post was May 19, 2011 and referenced his visit to the TIger Academy Charter School.
• Since then, he has posted 164 times, which, according to my calculations, is once every 4.17 days.
• The majority of Bean's Tweets were posted during his senatorial campaign. So basically, his feed is an exhaustive list the annoucements of his supporters including Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Nassau County Tax Collector, Florida Retail Association and "Jaguars legend" (and fast food impresario/St. Vincent's Medical Center pitchman) Tony Boselli.
• Unlike certain other Florida politicians (I'm talking to you, Gov. Rick Scott), Bean's Twitter account is pretty non-controversial—other than the fact that he follows me.
• I do have one piece of advice for the senator, though: With all do respect, change your header photo to include the entire American flag, not just the stripes. Unless, of course, you want people to think you're standing in front of the flag of Malaysia …
During his 10-year stint on "MADtv" (the longest in the show’s history, for the record), Michael McDonald played colorful characters ranging from Stuart, an incorrigible little boy with a bowl cut and heavily-rouged cheeks, to the self-explanatory Depressed Persian Tow Truck Driver. These days McDonald is gaining recognition for his talent behind the camera, as well. In addition to writing, directing and producing “Cougar Town” for several seasons, he’s directed episodes of “2 Broke Girls” and ABC’s new sitcoms “Family Tools” and “How To Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life.” Later this year, he will co-star in “The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. And now, he’s touring the country doing stand-up comedy, or as he refers to it, his “summer job.”
Kerry Speckman: With your success as an actor, director, producer and writer, what would possess you to try your hand at stand-up?
Michael McDonald: You have total creative freedom. You can say any word or talk about any subject. There’s no network or studio or producer telling you what you can do or say. The only people who matter are the audience. If you make them laugh, then you did it. If a joke doesn’t work, you can change it right away. The immediacy and creativity — it’s really intoxicating.
K.S.: You’ve been doing stand-up for less than five years. Is treading into uncharted territory something new for you?
M.M.: [Before getting into acting,] I worked as a loan officer at bank. I majored in business and had no interest in show business. Then, I went to a Groundlings [improv/sketch] show and thought, “Oh, I’d much rather be doing this.” After that, I worked as a waiter and, on several occasions, had to wait on people who I had turned down for loans. It’s not like I yelled at them and said, “Ha ha! …
Earlier this month, nearly 60 people, including two veteran Jacksonville police officers, were arrested after a two-year investigation by the FDLE into a $300-million-dollar gambling scheme. I, for one, am shocked, not just at the operation itself or even its alleged participants but even more so, the number of people who are actually upset that the “Internet cafes” were shut down! Though I’ve never actually been inside one, I can’t imagine the allure of sitting in an old Quincy’s Steakhouse with blacked-out windows (that I highly doubt still smells like steak, baked potatoes and big, fat yeast rolls) when there are plenty of other legal ways to parlay a dollar into a million.
Florida Lottery: With 13,000 retail locations around the state, becoming a multimillionaire (or $2-aire in my case) is as close as your favorite supermarket, gas station or convenience store. The good news: You can become richer than your wildest dreams for only a dollar. Plus, you can scratch off your tickets in the privacy of your own home: You don’t even have to wear pants. The bad news: “Florida law mandates that the Florida Lottery provide the winner's name, city of residence, game won, date won and amount won to any third party who requests the information.”
Greyhound Racing: The best bet Orange Park offers live greyhound racing (that’s dogs, not buses) Monday and Wednesday–Saturday evenings, matinees Wednesday and Saturday–Sunday. The good news: It only takes a buck to play, and pools can get up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. And admission is free to the lower level. The bad news: Your friends who are PETA members will never set foot in the place.
Simulcast Betting: Both locations of Best Bet—Jacksonville and Orange Park—allow bettors to waste wager on thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing and jai alai from round the country. The good/bad news: See “Greyhound Racing” above. …
UPDATED: June 21, 2013
Earlier this year, Best Chefs America announced its “ultimate chef’s guide to chefs.” Nominations were made by fellow chefs, other culinary professionals and food enthusiasts; 19 Jacksonville-area chefs made the cut.
Granted, I didn’t go to culinary school (unless you count the six-week Basics of Culinary course I took at Publix Apron’s Cooking School ... which was awesome, by the way). I’ve never worked in a restaurant (unless you count the two weeks I worked as a banquet server at Harbormaster’s ... did I just date myself with that reference?). I’m not a food critic (despite my inserting myself into any food judging opportunity in town ... Barbecue? Check. Gumbo? Check. Food trucks? Check.) I do, however, consider myself a food enthusiastic (have you seen the size of my butt?) and, therefore, feel qualified to add five names to the list that were not acknowledged.
Chef Andrew Ferenc, On the Fly Food Truck
Best grilled cheese in town. Best chicken tacos in town. Best crab cake sliders in town. Best tomato shrimp bisque in town. And award-winning peanut butter pretzel bars that belong in a category of awesomeness all their own. I have never had anything at OTF that was not A+. Cooking since the age of 15 (and it shows), Andrew has worked at First Street Grill, Aqua Grill and Homestead. In addition to winning the inaugural and second annual Jax Truckies Competition as the judges’ overall champion and the people’s choice, OTF won Best Food Truck in Folio’s Best of Jax issue. Special shout out to Phyllis and Chef Eric.
Aurathai Sellas, Taste of Thai
“Aura” as she’s known to her devoted customers single-handedly changed my opinion of Thai food. Prior to visiting TOT, I was not a fan of the cuisine. But one bite into a crispy spring roll, and I was hooked. Matter of fact, when asked to choose my “last meal,” I'd pick …