Parks and Recreation

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.
  • 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.

  • Cecil Commerce Center Parkway: CCCP?
    I know folks in Jacksonville like to shorten long names of roads and bridges. For example, the James Turner Butler highway is the JTB to locals. 

    I wonder if locals over on the west side like to call the Cecil Commerce Center Parkway the CCCP. If so, I wonder if those commrades remember why it's probably not an appropriate acronym in America. Or maybe it's OK at this point?

    Anyhow, for those of you who don't remember rotary-dial telephones and magnetic audio cassettes, the CCCP was what the Soviet Union called itself. Or at least what Russia called itself when included in the Soviet Union, which it called the USSR, or CCCP in Russian.
     I'm not sure all of the member states ever bought into either name. Like Poland. I'm sure most people there thought they were still Polish and lived in Poland, even if Russia told them they lived in the USSR and the USA said they lived in the Soviet Union. But I'm not positive because I did not live in post-WWII Poland. CCCP is the Russian acronym for Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. I suppose it could be Communists, Criminals, and Corrupt Politicians. 

    Also, it's kind of ironic that the European Union is basically a Union of Republics that are essentially Socialist. So I guess both Stalin and JFK are rolling over in their graves.

    Back to the Cecil Commerce Center Parkway. It's a stupidly long name, even before shortened to CCCP, which is too long as an acronym. Why not Cecil Parkway? Or just call it First Coast Expressway / FCE (its other name)? If you're going to name a road after someone with an obcenely long name, I understand the dilemma, but the powers that be shortened the main name to Cecil, as in Cecil Airport. Not Strategic Civilian Air Command at Cecil Field. I guess CCCP is better than Commander Henry Barton Cecil Commerce Center Parkway (CHBCCCP).

    To me, it's just the toll road that saves two minutes while heading down Middleburg-way. And I guess toll roads are more of a representation of capitalism than communism, so whether it's CCCP, FCE, or whatever else, it's an American expressway and an excuse to get a license plate "protector."

  • Billboard Wars in Sports
    In my hometown, just before Game 6 of the NBA Finals, a 'Go Suns" billboard appeared. That's like the Buffalo Bills having a "Go Bills" billboard in Jacksonville just before Trevor Lawrence's rookie season AFC Championship game. Or if the Packers got a "Go Pack Go" along the Arlington Expressway just before the Superbowl. 

    Except the Suns billboard isn't just fantasy. A law firm from Phoenix really did buy a "Go Suns" billboard in my hometown of Milwaukee to have it revealed just before Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

    Clever? Yes. Acceptable? Not really. I'm not surprised someone from Phoenix needed to erect a sign to pump life into Chris Paul's flaccid Finals performance. However, the company that sells advertising space in my city should have more class. Then again, it's an advertising firm. And the company that bought the billboard? A law firm. Classy and more classy.

    Gruber Law in Milwaukee has a One Call; That's All catchphrase. The figurehead lawyer is also a Bucks sponsor. No matter how many calls it takes, Gruber or someone else in Milwaukee needs to find a way to pay Phoenix back for the lack of respect. If nothing else, a "Bucks in six" billboard along the I-10.

    I know sometimes Miller sends Milwaukee water to hurricane victims, so maybe send a semi trailer filled with Milwaukee Bucks water bottles and an exterior caption that reads, "Stay Thirsty, Phoenix." For a title and because it's the freakin desert.

    I hope someone with deep pockets in Milwaukee gets on the horn and secures some sweet revenge, but the best revenge would be a Game 6 win and a title for a starved city (with plenty of water). And beer.

    If you want to learn more about Milwaukee and Wisconsin, check out Real Wisconsin News.