Anne Balentine was a fan-favorite back in the 1990s on Milwaukee's Channel Four. Nothing seemed out-of-the-ordinary with her, and I blissfully watched the news until one day my friend told me she had a prosthetic arm.

 

I couldn't help but watch the arm after that day. We should all be bigger than that, but I wondered things like: How far up did it go? Did she take it off at night? If Mike Gousha made an unwanted pass at her and she slapped him with it, could she knock him out?

Anne was a pleasant newscaster and an inspiration to people with disabilities. In fact, she gave me hope that I could someday appear on the news, even though I was slightly overweight, had more than my share of facial acne, and sported more chest hair than the post-1970s average newscaster. Wherever you are Anne, thank you.

Today, Anne is possibly a spokeswoman for a local hospital, but that could be some other Anne Ballentine, I suppose.

Anne, if you're reading this, please buy my book:

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Jacksonville News

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.
  • Is Jacksonville a bad place to live?

    I was busy learning about Google Search and people finding my websites when I came across this question on Google, answered by a Quora forum post. That's kind of sad, right? People must ask if Jacksonville is a bad place to live a lot, which is why it ranks high on Google, but the answer comes from some random person's assessment. Since I am also some random person answering, it might as well be me. 

    No, Jacksonville is not a bad place to live, relatively speaking.
  • Jacksonville High School Search - An Annotated List of Options for East Arlington Families

    Let's say you've got kids, and like most parents, you want the best for them. Choosing the right high school for your kids can be complicated, especially if you haven't had to make similar choices in the past. I've decided to detail my search for the right high school in this article in the hopes that I can reference it as the time nears for enrolling my eldest child in high school, but my research might be able to help you, too. 
  • Yes, It's STILL Selfish of You When You Don't Mask Up
    I don't want to harp on this much more, but after Day 1 of my kids being back in school, I figured I'd give it one last go. Here's why it's selfish of you to not wear a mask.

    I am sure you are clean and healthy and all that, but someone out there is sick. You might believe yourself to be strong-like-bull, too smart, or immune. Or you're ancient and think it's your time when it's your time. Please, feel free to play roulette with your 2nd Amendment souvenir, away from the rest of us. You are not too smart, healthy, or clean to catch a virus. You might well survive it, or you might never even know you had it because you're such a freakin Adonis. While you are asymptomatic, possibly for weeks, you could infect dozens of people because of your odd belief that viruses respect your freedom and patriotism and religion.
  • Jogger, The New Jacksonville Video Game
    I can remember heading over to the Radio Shack on North Avenue in Milwaukee back in the 80s and seeing the new Tandy home computer, which was so much cooler than the Commodore VIC-20 we had at home. The display model even had a video game for me to play: Frogger. Forty years later, I read an article about the guy who created Prince of Persia, and the article must have mentioned Frogger, which I had on my mind as I drove down Beach Boulevard. After I nearly hit a homeless guy who had jumped out of the way of a bicycle (going the wrong direction) and into my lane, I thought that a version of Frogger called Jogger would be pretty awesome with Jacksonville as the setting.
  • Cheapest Propane Exchange in Jax
    I haven't done the math on refilling my propane tanks, since that's more of a hassle than it's probably worth. I have to assume it's a little cheaper than a propane exchange, but I'll focus on good deals for the exchange in Jacksonville.


    Walmart - $15
    Yes, it's the cheapest around. During Covid Times (or on a Saturday afternoon), it's also a lot of work to get your propane this way. I told my family that Walmart probably has some kind of contract to undercut every other seller of propane, which is either good business or bad business, depending on how you look at business. Since my time is worth a couple of dollars and I don't tend to shop at Walmart much, I am willing to pay a little more elsewhere.


    Family Dollar - $15-$20
    I wrote an article about propane on Satisfamily about the good deal here when the $5 off $25 coupons exist, but then Family Dollar went and added an exception to the coupon because of my article. However, I have seen a $5 off just for propane, so keep an eye out for that one. At least it's fairly easy to get your propane here, more like the gas stations.



    On the Fly BP on Monument - $17
    I ended up here because Wawa didn't seem to have propane, so I couldn't use my Wawa gift card, and since I couldn't make a u-turn on McCormick to get to Gate, I decided to take a gander at the BP station. I was surprised by the $17 price, since $20 seems to be standard at gas stations. The attendant told me he had the cheapest prices in town, which might be the case when you compare to other gas stations. Fast and easy, like it should be. The store even has two cases of propane, probably because so much of it is sold here. I told the guy I'd be back.


    Most other gas stations - $20
    I have seen propane as high as $22 at local gas stations, but I think the $19.99 is normally the standard price in Jacksonville for propane exchange. There's no shame in paying the standard price, especially if you don't want to deal with Walmart or don't live near Monument and McCormick.


    Walgreens - $22
    The Walgreens on Monument and McCormick advertises $20 propane exchange, but when I bought my one and only tank there, I ended up paying $22 plus tax, not $20. For $2, I didn't end up going back up there, and the sign has claimed a lower price for two years, so I'm not the only one who has not complained to management.


    For the amount of cooking you'll get out of your propane, it's probably worth the $15-$22 you'll spend on fuel. It might not be a good deal to heat your house in the winter or to run your dual-fuel generator after a hurricane, but it's not bad for outdoor cooking. If you live in East Arlington, try the BP station on Monument. If you know of a low price in another area of town, let me know, and I'll add it to the list.


    Search New Jax Witty
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    Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

    Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
    Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
    McNewsy - Creative Writing
    Educabana - Educational Resources
    Brave New Church - Church Website Design
    Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
    Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
    Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
    Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
    Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
    Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
    Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
    Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
    Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
    Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

    Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

    Contact Me
  • Florida Tourism - The Destination Funeral
    I was trying to find out what happened to the lovely 33-acre May Mann Jennings Park over on the North Side when I had this great idea for tourism in Jacksonville. It's mostly because Streetview of the park seemed to only show the Evergreen Cemetery, which kind of shares (or overruns) the park. In fact, COJ says the May Mann Jennings Park has "been returned to a natural, undeveloped state." For those of you who don't know government code, this means there's no funding for a park in an industrial/hood area of town. Anyhow, my search for a forgotten gem of a park was thwarted, but the cemetery next door got me to thinking about Florida/Jacksonville tourism, and I wondered if anyone had ever considered a destination funeral. 
  • This Article is Not a Paid Placement Written by a Guest
    I get contacted all the time about allowing someone to write an article on one of my websites, many times about a topic I've covered. These people either want to send me full text articles or links to articles that I can copy from another site. They never say how much they want to pay me to host their articles, and I don't really know how much to charge (if I were to do it), but I got a bit of an idea what it might be worth based on a Craigslist ad I saw. Still, I won't be offering my website to the highest bidder like the local news sites do. 
  • 5x110 16" wheels and tires in Jacksonville - $150 (from a Saab 9-3)
    I tried posting these tires and wheels on Craigslist, but I think everyone in Jacksonville is scared of the website, so I'll post it here instead. If this article is still online, then I have the wheels with tires in my garage, and I want them gone. The wheels came off a 2008 Saab 9-3. The tires are not matched, but they have a lot of tread. I'll share the original posting and reiterate that the wheels should work on the vehicles I list with the same bolt pattern and similar offset. 
  • Teens Send Eyes Rolling
    Have you ever heard teens or young kids talking in a way that made you roll your eyes? Obviously, you have. Anyone who is not a teen or braggadocios toddler laughs and cries on the inside any time one of these types speaks out loud. Here's an example from my Lyft travel chronicles. 

    I've picked up these teens a few times now. I'll assume they are cousins, and (based on cars in the driveway), I'd say that at least one cousin is from Missouri. Not that it really matters, except those of us who have lived in Kansas know that not a whole lot of good comes from Missouri. 

    The first time I picked up these girls, they were headed to a fairly interesting neighborhood, maybe because they lived in a very uninteresting area. I didn't think too much about it, at least until I pulled up and saw a dilapidated house with dozens of people hanging out in the parking lot that was once a residential street. And there was a bouncer. Some kind of house party. I wasn't sure it was a safe place, based on some of the partygoers who had spilled into the street and begun yelling at one another. But I am not the father of these youngins, so it wasn't really my place.

    The next time the girls got in the car, they were headed to the bars at the Beaches, which seemed odd, given that there was no way any of the three were 21. Based on the conversation on the way, I know at least one of them wasn't even 18, as she was telling her other companions that she always blocked guys on whatever social platform when they started to ask about her age. What's funny is that I did one other ride of maybe twenty minutes, and then I ended up picking these girls back up, which means for all their short skirts and attitude, they could not convince the pubs to allow them in. 

    On the ride to the bars, it was mostly about the under-18 friend telling the others about her desirability. Beyond the InstaSnap example, she also discussed several guys who were texting her, as well as the one or two she was actually dating. She said one guy said he'd kill himself (or her, or both) if she ever cheated on him, but she also implied that's exactly what had been happening. I'm not sure it was with the other guy she'd been chatting with, but one was, according to her, the top rated high school athlete in the country. That made me laugh, but her friends didn't question it one bit. It reminded me of when I took a bunch of German interns out to a bar in Madison, WI, and two guys there started telling the girls they were actors. My friend and I then started telling the interns that we too were actors. FYI guys, girls will believe you are the top rated athlete in the country or an actor, if you want to play it that way. My friend and I had a girl back in high school convinced we were nationally-ranked ultimate frisbee competitors.

    So these high schoolers were all excited about the bars and online boyfriend's. But, like I said, twenty minutes after the drop-off, I was taking them back home. No one said a single word until the vixen got a phone call from her mom, and she told her mom several times that they were now in the car and heading home. I am sure there is a story I don't know, like mom had the phone lojacked or mom got a call from a bouncer. Either way, it's probably for the best that mom got involved and that these high school girls looking for trouble didn't find it.

    Search New Jax Witty
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    Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

    Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
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    McNewsy - Creative Writing
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    Brave New Church - Church Website Design
    Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
    Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
    Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
    Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
    Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
    Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
    Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
    Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
    Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
    Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

    Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

    Contact Me
  • Why Are You Wearing a Mask? Teachable Moment Lost
    As an UberLyftGrubHub-type independent contractor, I am supposed to wear a mask when I work the side hustle. I am generally OK with it, but I have been mask-shamed enough in Jacksonville that it's time to write about my experiences so that (hopefully) others don't have to deal with the same bullying. 

    Yes, I (and other people) will be driving around with masks on, even all alone. These people might be driving other people around in a rideshare, they might be delivering food or supplies, or they might be just around the corner from picking up Grandma. The point is that people who are wearing masks all alone in a vehicle, probably have a reason to be wearing that mask, and no one is wearing a mask to ridicule you or your president. 

    I have had three people in less than a month decide to ask me why I was wearing a mask. The latest was potentially the best opportunity to turn the situation into a teachable moment, but I instead acted in anger (with a touch of worry), so I missed the chance. I'd like to take the opportunity to add a little to the initial interaction now. 

    A high school-aged girl rolled down her window as I sat at a red light. "Why are you wearing a mask when you're all alone?" 

    "I am driving for UberLyft and it's required, Babe,"was my first response. I don't normally call girls/women "babes," but I was feeling a little sassy. She smiled and was satisfied, but that's when anger took hold of me instead of reason. "And so I don't have to smell you," I added. 

    She was quick enough to bring back, "Yeah, people are pretty gross," as she rolled up her window. But that's not how it was supposed to end, with her making a Tik Tok video about the mean UberLyft guy who said she smelled bad. Actually, I tamed my response way down BECAUSE she was so young, since I've been preparing some real zingers, but I've also thought of some more important things I could have said. So here's what I really meant to say. 

    "None of us are all alone."No man is an island entire of itself. We are all in this together, and we need to be responsible for each other. This answer would not have addressed the specifics, but it might have gotten an important point across. All the young people, like this girl, deciding to head out for no real reason, may not realize that when the bell tolls, it tolls for them. 30, 40, 50 deaths PER DAY in Florida have mostly been preventable, at least a percentage of them. So what if I over-wear my mask to protect others (or myself) just a little bit more than the CDC even requires? 

    "Why aren't YOU wearing a mask?" This answer might not always work, but this white girl was sitting next to her Blasian/Whack/Blaxican friend. I only mention the other girl's race because it led me to assume they were not siblings (and combining race names is an interesting use of language, and two friends out for a drive during a pandemic should both be wearing masks. If Kaitlyn goes and infects her grandma with Type-2 Diabetes because she got a virus from an asymptomatic friend, then Kaitlyn will feel guilty. I met a guy who said he brought Covid-19 home to his dad and his dad died. While the guy I met did not seem to blame himself (and that's probably the best response), I couldn't help but feel like I would have blamed myself. Anyone who refuses to wear a simple mask and then carries a deadly virus to a loved one should feel guilty. I'd feel guilty even if the virus got through my mask. Yes, you should feel guilty if you show up to school or a nursing home with the flu, but Covid-19 is marginally worse than the flu, AND it's been covered by the media enough to remind you. 

    "I don't want to smell all the BS from people like you." This response is taking it more political. I hear a lot of people who say Covid-19 is overhyped or fake. I assume that people who are going to bother to call me out for wearing a mask (while not wearing a mask next to a non-family member) do not believe in pandemics, masks, or science. 

    "Jacksonville stinks!" I kind of like this open-ended version of the previous answer, since it's not putting her down overtly. But it still is. And it's not making it all political, but it still is, if you read into it. But I am pretty sure these two teens were fairly shallow, so she probably would have just assumed I was being completely literal. 

    "I don't want to have to hurt your grandma/mom if I give her a ride, so I strap on protection." This one is probably my favorite of the comebacks I have considered since the latest incident. I might have even thought of it at the time, but when I saw two teenage girls, I decided to tone it down a few notches. Still, the double entendre here is pretty funny. But it's also true. 

    "I'm a real American." Just reverse psychology here. Most people who think masks are wrong somehow see them as an afront to patriotism, but nothing is more patriotic than sacrificing for the good of your country.

    Don't read the following comeback unless you are over 17 or are being supervised by an adult:
    "Because your / your mom's ________ -_________ed __________ ________ of _________ _________'s __________  that has been used to __________ various _______ stars, _________, and models/wives (who are also basically ____________s) , and your boyfriend/dad has _________ from ______ing too much of _________'s _________, and the only reason your ________ist boyfriend/dad votes for the ____________ is because he wants the government to force __________ to not have __________ but then not force him to wear masks for basically the same reason, and he also probably would rather be ____________ing a super porn whore model star wife than you/your mom. And he wants to be rich, but he won't be through any ability of his own, just like his favorite president." If people want to make simple, proven science into another political debate and say that I am somehow weak for wearing a mask because a self-professed germaphobe and completely amoral president calls the pandemic names instead of encouraging the use of common sense, then I can be just as nasty as anyone, and I don't need a gun or red trucker hat to back me up. And those of you who support Trump don't need his permission to make a decision that might save a loved-one's life. You are the epitomy of stupid Americans and are embarrassing the rest of us, and while being a stupid American is usually just synonymous with being wasteful, this time you are saying your personal freedom to be a stupid American is more important than preserving the lives of millions of older fellow stupid Americans who mostly vote for the same stupid people as you. Play along, at least until we decide whether or not a vaccine is going to happen. If a vaccine doesn't seem like it's possible, feel free to abandon the masks and give your grandma and favorite hooker one last hug.



    Search New Jax Witty
    Related Stories
     
     
     
    Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

    Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
    Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
    McNewsy - Creative Writing
    Educabana - Educational Resources
    Brave New Church - Church Website Design
    Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
    Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
    Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
    Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
    Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
    Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
    Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
    Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
    Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
    Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

    Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

    Contact Me

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