Last Man Standing

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.
  • Top 4 Spots in Jacksonville's Arlington Neighborhood
    I was on the News4Jax website when I saw an "article" about local restaurants. The article said it was about Arlington restaurants, and I figured it wasn't that big of a deal that my location was being used to show me stories relevant to where I was. However, after reading the short blurbs about the top 4 restaurants in my area, I saw the disclaimer on the bottom of the article:
    This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor.
    So, I was not only reading an article that accessed my location in order to serve the right content, but the content itself was provided by the businesses being reviewed. Sure, the star-ratings were from Yelp, which is semi-reliable, but there is no real indication that these four restaurants were the top-rated restaurants on Yelp. I assume that they were the four Arlington restaurants that paid to be part of an advertising article promoting them.

    You can see from the address bar that the article title was "Check Out The Top 4 Spots in Jacksonville's Arlington Neighborhood." While I'm sure the four listed restaurants are just fine, it's disturbing that this content was served to me on a NEWS website as NEWS. It's clearly blatant advertising, paid placement, and not a real review or opinion by a human being. 

    What's next? Top four crimes this week articles that pull information from JSO's Crime Map? I know, there's no ad money in that, so probably not. The point is that if pretend articles are being pulled from content on paid-service websites and placed on news websites, then we're in trouble. As readers and as writers. Even the images are from Yelp, which means user-submitted. No one did any work on the article in question, and more than likely, the "editor" is in India, curating and augmenting hundreds of pretend articles every day, never having eaten barbeque ribs in her life. 

    With so much data out there, it's nice to get a quick guide to some decent local restaurants to try, so there's a value to articles like the one that I thought I was reading. I might even like the listed places. It might even be accurate. But it's also wrong. 


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  • My Messy Office
    My messy classroom, home office, and garage all indicate the same thing to people: I must be careless, cranky, and uncaring. That's according to a study that showed two different work spaces to participants. A messy workspace left people with a negative perception of the unknown worker who occupied the space.


    That's kind of sad, since my mess is part of my creativity. Actually, I have to have a mess somewhere in order to function properly. I used to have a junk drawer when I first got married because my wife is pretty much the opposite of a messy person. She allowed me one junk drawer on the main level, and about half of the three basements we had. And most of the garage. And the tool shed. Those were my messy places.

    In Florida, we don't have the built-ins with drawers or a basement, so I have to be better at hiding my messes. It's frustrating, to say the least. The whole point of having a mess is that what I need is right there for me when I need it. I don't want to venture into the garage attic to find what I need. I don't want to have to page through file folders for tax documents when they are all stuffed on my desk where I need them. There should be a pen sitting out and within reach from any location in any room.

    The most frustrating, however, is the fact that I can't always find my writing notes. I'll take notes while out at a bar or while at church. Observations for later. And those notes need to be out in the open to remind me of what I need to be writing, like Christmas tree ornaments in my office space, or else I won't ever write those ideas. Then they just get stuffed in a box, which is suffocating for ideas.

    I also have to wonder if my bosses over the years have assumed something negative about me because my school desk was always messy. I tried to keep it way in the corner, but it was very, very messy. But that was because I was usually working on planning new lessons, revising old lessons, grading papers, writing, thinking, researching, and contacting people. Sometimes, I'd be testing out video production equipment, hooking various electronic devices into my computer to see what they could do, and generally figuring out if I could improve as a teacher. But it looked like I was somehow careless to outsiders.

    All in all, I'm lucky to have a wife who forces me to clean once in a while. If we were both like me, the house would be a disaster all the time, and people would be afraid to come over. And they'd probably think that both of us are careless, cranky, and uncaring.



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  • There Was a Time When St. Augustine Stole The Biltmore Ads
    There was a time when I saw an ad for St. Augustine, Florida. It was a simpler time, when none of the other ads were about politicians of ill repute. But it seemed to be a time when St. Augustine had decided to infringe upon the terminology associated with Biltmore. It was last year on local TV.


    I saw the St. Augustine ad twice on network television (late 2017, I believe), and it was an obvious lifting of the Biltmore ads I'd seen all the time. You know the ad, wherein we are made privy to this fanciful world where ladies and gentlemen seem to exist and behave a certain way that seems sadly gone most of the time. Yet, it does still exist if you stay in a certain hotel. Maybe one with a hot tub time machine.

    The St. Augustine ad seemed to be a send-up of the Biltmore ad. I don't think the idea was to steal it as much as acknowledge we've all seen the other ad around here. But, of course, it was stealing. Brazenly. So the St. Augustine ad was taken off the air very quickly. As in, some lawyers spent last night at the Biltmore and now it's gone. 

    I was watching a PBS documentary that said back when Flagler built his St. Augustine hotels and pushed for the railroad to come through Jacksonville rather than terminate there, it ruined tourism in Jacksonville. I'm sure the Biltmore is always watching out for other fancy destinations to pull some kind of stunt that might steal guests away, and if one of those places is going to rip off the exact wording from an ad, then it's pretty obvious. 


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