Absolutely Fabulous

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According to Jim

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Addams Family, The

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ALF

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Alice

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All in the Family

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Allo 'Allo

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Andy Griffith Show, The

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Archie Bunker's Place

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Arrested Development

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Stories from Jacksonville

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Chicago Bears Bar Jacksonville
    I've met several Bears fans since I've moved to Jacksonville, and I've asked them if they have a bar to call home on game day. I know there were two Packers bars in Jax, now down to one, but fans of Smoking Jay Cutler need a local establishment in which to drown their sorrows. Even though I'm a Packers fan, I'm here to help.

    Here's what you do. Drive your best BMW. The one that still has the Illinois vanity plate that reflects how refined you are. Head on over to Gates Gas Station on Moncrief Road. Be sure to drive like a FISH up Moncrief and never mind the railroad tracks. When you get to Gates Gas Station, pull in to ask for directions to the special Bears bar. Say, "So hey there do yous guys knows where da Bears bar is at?" Keep your doors unlocked because someone might want to get in and help guide you.

    If that's a little too complicated for you, I've heard really good things about the Flight 747 Liquor Store & Lounge Bar up by the airport. Lots of jetsetters along with a tangy local flavor. Just like Chicago. Or maybe Rockford. And there's an adjacent motel, just in case you want to stick around and start over at 11am after yet another painful loss and too many Lovies Lemonades.

    And remember that when your next ex-QB doesn't work out, Tim Tebow lives in Jacksonville. Just saying.

  • Logical Interstate Naming Alternative
    I've lived in three major cities, always near interstates and bypasses. Milwaukee's I-94, Kansas City's I-35, and Jacksonville's I-95. The 894, 235, and 295 circled these cities, making travel faster. However, the directional naming of these roads often left folks from out of town confused. Honestly, even people who live in the locales probably get confused. But there's a simple fix that can apply to all interstate bypasses that go around a city, and it makes so much sense that I'm sure it's been proposed before. I have to wonder why this naming has never been adopted. 

    My initial idea was to identify clockwise or counterclockwise. I think it would work after some time of people imagining themselves looking down on a map from above. For example, the 295 counterclockwise from the airport in Jacksonville would indicate you are going west and then south. These could also be called inside and outside, since clockwise would always be on the inside while counterclockwise would always be on the outside. 50 years ago or even 20 years ago, this naming scheme would have saved countless headaches and probably some lives. But most of us no longer think of a city from a north-up map or clocks with dials, and the time that people might need in order to imagine where they are in relation to being clockwise might prove excessive.

    The key is identifying initial actual direction AND future directions. By adding three directions to the name of the bypass at any given point,  drivers will be able to know precisely where they are AND where they are headed (without thinking too hard).  The same 295 westbound (counterclockwise) near Jacksonville's airport as above would be called 295 wse.  In fact, the current naming calls one direction northbound and the other southbound near the airport (north side of town) and near Orange Park (south end of Jax). But both roads really go south from the airport and north from Orange Park. Circular roads need different naming than straight roads. So from Orange Park, you'd take 295 enw towards the Beaches or wne towards Baldwin. Along the 10 on the west side, you might take 295 nes towards the airport and 295 sen towards Orange Park. But on Atlantic Avenue further east, you'd take 295 nws towards the airport and 295 swn towards Orange Park. If you know generally where you are in relation to the center of the circle, this naming scheme is perfect. You'd still need to see signs for Daytona Beach or Savannah in order to understand which road you'd need to continue on the 95, but for people trying to use the bypass for local navigation the multi-directional system is best. 
    In a perfect world with extra-large signs, I suppose you could combine both of my ideas, so the 295 crossing the Dames Point towards the airport in Jacksonville would be 295 nws out. Taking it even further, you could add 95 intersection with a bold or capitalized letter, so 295 nWs indicates the 95 intersects with the 295 as it heads west. If you were getting on the same road at Main Street, it would be 295 WsE, but getting on at Duval Rd (on the other side of the 95 interchange) would be 295 wsE because the 295 does not intersect with the 95 in this direction until Mandarin. I know, at some point maybe it's TMI, but the directional attributes could really be bolted on to existing signs, at least at decision-making points near ramps.

    Even accidents should be reported more logically with my system. Instead of saying "accident w295 nb near Orange Park," you'd say "accident in295 wnE near Orange Park." That's the inside, clockwise road that heads west and then north but does not intersect the 95 until it heads back east. Knowing this information, a traveler could decide to take 95 north through downtown or go enW on the outside 295 to avoid the accident.
    I'm sure that an idea like mine will probably never be implemented, especially with the prevalence of navigation devices, but I consider it a better system than currently exists, so it's just unfortunate I published the idea a few decades too late. Perhaps it can be used in naming the air roads for the flying cars we're all waiting to purchase.
  • Jacksonville Vehicle Pet Peeves: Overtint
    I understand the need to be ultra cool, as well as the desire to protect the interior and exterior of your vehicle. However, there is a reason for the laws we have (or I hope we have) in Florida that limit the amount and locations of tint on vehicles. There's also common sense and aesthetics. Overtinting or All-Blacking your entire vehicle is annoying and dangerous.

    Windows
    Too many tinted windows are dangerous to both other drivers and pedestrians. I'm pretty much okay with tinted backseat windows even if they still limit visibility, but front windows especially for the driver need to remain clear to the outside. The driver should be able to be seen by other drivers as well as pedestrians. Whether at a four way stop, a pedestrian crosswalk, or while merging in traffic, tinted windows limit this interaction with other drivers and pedestrians. On a single day walking down by the beaches, I had two situations where the driver could not tell me whether to go or not go while in a crosswalk because of tinted windows. I ended up crossing both times, but if either driver had been distracted, I would not have known until it was too late. Making a left turn across from a driver who has tinted windows makes that maneuver much more difficult as well. Even if a vehicle has all other windows tinted, a dark windshield this simply insane. Yet I've seen tint all around. In fact, in a 20-minute drive at rush hour, roughly half of the cars I counted had obscured views of the driver from the side windows, while around 5% of the vehicles obscured the driver at the front windshield, as well. I have good vision, so when I say obscured, I mean a person with good vision cannot make out any discernable features from any distance. Age, sex, race, etc. Sure, tinted windows can eliminate racial profiling along with any kind of profiling or identification of the drivers or passengers. Seat belts? Texting? Who knows?

    Lights
    Clear light housings are annoying because they get cloudy. And they look kind of stupid in the back of the car. And when you buy a slightly different colored bulb, everyone can see your mistake. At the other extreme, we have tinted light housings, or covers, or tint film cut to cover. Whatever you use to darken your lights, it's just plain stupid, or at least dangerous, because it takes lights that have been approved for on-road use and lowers their efficacy. You as the driver might see less with tinted headlights, but just as importantly, others will not be able to see you at night. And during the day, suddenly your turn signals (I realize they are totally optional in Jax) sometimes can't be seen at all. If you must, use a black Sharpie and add a black border, or maybe a little smokey tint around the outside of the functional part of the light. Or add a ridiculous black spoiler and call it a day.

    License Plates
    My wallet has a slot for my license that is made out of some kind of dark mesh. You can't really see the license through the mesh, unlike the clear plastic in some wallets. However, police officers, bouncers, and other gatekeepers have always asked me to take my license out of the wallet, whether it was in clear plastic or dark mesh. The goal is to be able to fully inspect the identification. Tinted license plate covers attempt to obscure a vehicle's single most important identifier. 
    License plates tell other drivers and authorities where you are from and whether the vehicle is being operated legally, as tags indicate a registration and proof of insurance. Police officers and governments have the right to access even more information based on the plates. Since operating a motor vehicle is a privilege rather than a right, and showing proof of that privilege is mandatory, obscuring the proof is illegal. I am surprised that I see several illegally-darkened license plates every day, yet I got pulled over in Florida for not having a light bulb over my plate. I recently saw a tinted plate with two bright bulbs surrounding it, and I couldn't even make out which state the plate was from. My plates were clearly visible during the day and with a little police work (a flashlight) at night. My opinion is that people with tinted plates need to be pulled over and forced to hand the covers over to law enforcement.

    Wheels and Trim
    When folks go all-black, they can't forget to cheapify the wheels and trim. Delete the chrome accents for black plastic, and turn those painted aluminum wheels into GM-spec steel wheels sans wheel covers. I was at a dealership recently when a couple asked about getting the nice- looking showroom vehicle but only if it had black rims. It wasn't even a black car, so they just wanted their new red car to have wheels that look as if they haven't been cleaned in five years. That's their choice, I guess, but it was a $300 upcharge per wheel. In other words, the couple wanted to pay an extra $1,200 for trendy wheels that will probably decrease resale value of the car once the trend wears off. (Like all those poor saps installing ridiculous barn doors in their remodels.) Listen to me people, you might think you want a white Ford Explorer SUV with black wheels now, but after realizing you just bought a police cruiser, you'll probably regret it. Or strap on a luggage rack cross beam to really mess with people. 
    I do have to admit that there's nothing illegal about black rims or trim.  It's annoying to me because I apparently don't understand the aesthetic beauty in the combination of black tires with black wheels. Maybe if tires came in a rainbow of colors...but I digress even further. 
    In the end, as long as your tint and black accents aren't illegal, all I can do is scoff at your lack of refinement. And even if your tinted add-ons ARE illegal, I can't do much about that, either, except write an article on this website and hope you click on one of the ads for tinted whatever so I can make fifty cents.