They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


This week, I am visiting the great city of Jacksonville, FL, on business. I've got a list of clients, given to me by Father Mussolini, which could be measured in cubits. Considering the torrential rain coming down at the moment, cubits might be a good measurement to be familiar with, should I need to resort to building an Ark of biblical proportions, to sail out of this place.

I was told today (by someone very much In The Know), that Jacksonville is growing faster than President Bush's nose. There are some 100,000 homes being built in the area, this year alone, and no doubt, all of them will be built on newly-synthesized golf courses designed by Jack Niklaus's son-in-law. (Or Tom Fazio's son's best-friend's neighbor's cousin. Or some other terribly-extruded relationship to some (likely aged) Golf dignitary.)

It turns out that Jacksonville has a good bit of historical credibility. It was named after Andrew Jackson. During the civil war, the city served as a base for blockade runners, and during Reconstruction, was a popular winter resort. Presently, it really is a quite-nice place; tons of families, good schools in the area, nice homes, good economy. They've also got good beaches proximally-located, has a decent historic area that's been freshened up, and Mayo Clinic is here too. It's undeniably on the up-and-up.

Regardless and not withstanding which, most of us who've lived in Florida in the past ten years know Jacksonville from a more infamous standpoint: its involvement in the paper-milling business. Why paper-milling, you ask? And why Jacksonville for that matter? I don't know exactly; may have something to do with its juxtaposition on the St. Johns River. But whatever, none of that is important.

What IS relevant to know, however, is that Jacksonville's involvement in this industry had perfumed this 750 some-odd sq. mile sprawling city with a singularly heinous scent. I like to describe it as, the Collective Ass of a Thousand Counties.

I am much chagrined to have determined today, after a 9 year absence, that this smell is all but undetectable.

Which got me to wondering on the various ways to market this pleasing fact to would-be home buyers in the state:

"Now with less Ass Scent."

"Jacksonville: Denuding vegetation every day for your golfing pleasure."

"Jacksonville! Doing our part for the Great North American Enclosure Movement. Visit one our many gated golf communities today!"

"Come to Jacksonville! We've got that Fresh Feeling your mother forbade you to talk about."

"Jacksonville: Protecting your affluential family from other undesirable affluential families, one security kiosk at a time."

"Jacksonville: Because everyone should have a golf-course view."