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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Rant on Making A Billion Dollars...

So if you're a loyal First Coast News viewer, or you visit our website regularly, then you've probably seen Sports Director Dan Hicken's rant about the hard times the Jacksonville Jags are going through.

If you haven't seen that, here's a link: http://fcnews.tv/uxvJAA

Dan says he got the idea for this from another pretty funny video from Youtube. It was made by an angry Cleveland Browns fan, here ya go:

So what does this have to do with the blog title: "My Rant on Making A Billion Dollars..."??

Well, today I was charged with finding a local angle to this new Jags owner's wealth. Turns out, among other things, Shahid Khan made his money by coming up with the one piece, plastic bumper that pretty much everyone with a car on mother earth has.

Easy enough to localize it, considering there have to be at least a million examples of these in the Jacksonville area.

So you bet your sweet sweet bumper I'm getting in on this "walking rant video" action. It's the method I chose to tell my billionaire-buys-ball-club story today.

Because plagiarism imitation is the finest form of flattery.

Talk to you later,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Night At The Museum: Grocery Store Edition

Let me tell ya the best place to be the night before Thanksgiving... the grocery store.
Chad Cushnir and I went to the Winn-Dixie on Beach Boulevard Wednesday night, checking out what people were getting here in the last minute. 

Most people were buying beer.

Seriously. I'm not sure if that was actually for Thanksgiving per se, but that was the most common thing I noticed.

But other than that most folks were getting ready made pies. 

My personal favorite, if you haven't already taken care of the dessert element of your Thanksgivingpalooza, is Edwards Key Lime pie. Holy Moley it's so good.

I'm on my way home to South Carolina for a couple days... Turner is really loose for a while. Everyone have a great Thanksgiving and make sure to pick up an Edwards on the way to the in-laws. They'll freak out.

Talk soon,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I've got a brand new gray hair today...

Oh man... I feel like I really had a chance to knock in a game winning home run today. 

It was the perfect matchup: Me vs. An Awesome Story.

But sometimes in baseball and in writing, your worst enemy is yourself... it turned into a Me vs. Me battle today and the stress/indecision on my part developed yet another gray hair in my lustrous bouffant.

All writing requires good decision making in what to put in a story and what to leave out. This is especially true in broadcast because of the premium of time.

I met this amazing guy with literally 19 layers of cool stories and surprises... focusing that all down to one layer for my news story tonight felt like I was cheating him.

Enough of my confession: I've been awfully honest in the blog recently, I feel very vulnerable.


That is Bill Fadeley. He's an airboat captain here in Jacksonville. He is a beautiful person inside an out (clearly).

Here's a shot of him on First Coast News back in the 80s.

Long story short: He set out to break a world record in airboat travel by leaving Jacksonville and going all the way to New York back in 1986. That's 1100 miles. That has never been done.

However, a couple chipped vertebrae, some terrible whiplash, and a little nerve damage later Guinness told him, "Thanks, but no thanks."

They didn't have a category for such things 25 years ago.

The cool thing is, time heals all and can change heats... so a quarter century after his trip the Guinness people changed their minds and gave him his record. He got the letter in April and was in the October 2012 Guinness Book of World Records (page 121 under the Fantastic Voyages heading).

Here's The Story/Video from today's show


1. This guy also takes his airboat out for every Jags home game in an effort of solidarity. 

2. He imported the first ever African beer (Ngoma) to the United States.

3. His 99-year-old father helped build the first lunar lander module for the space program.

4. He travels to Africa on missionary and service work, and goes on gorilla expeditions.

5. He's pretty cool.

Just a few of the layers to Bill. He took me for a ride in his boat around the St. Johns river downtown Tuesday. I'll share a few of the stills from my video:

The Miss Jacksonville, 16 feet long

Here's the captain cruising under the Main St Bridge

We also did a little bit of minor trespassing today on a private dock. I needed to get some wide shots of our hero from land. 

He took me to some guys yard and dropped me off at a dock.

"It'll be ok," he told me. 

I believed him.

The home owner, who was surprisingly nice considering he could have had me arrested, simply told me to get lost.

I explained I'd need Bill to come and pick me back up, as I wasn't planning on swimming 3 nautical miles to the airboat.

That made for an awkwardly silent 7 minutes while I waited for him to come pick me up.

I still managed a few shots though.

That's him leaving me in the dust at the dock.

That last pic is him racing back to get me. 

Alright, good couple of days. A comic book and airboat hero yesterday and today. 

Would love your stories: send 'em my way... lewisturner@firstcoastnews.com

Talk later,

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Now A Comic Book Villain

We always pull for the good guys, the superheros.

We want Right to punch Wrong square in the face, and we like it when the super villain is outsmarted by the dashing and handsome hero.

But, come on, the bad guys are cooler. Clearly, local comic book creator Aaron Hazouri understands how cool I am and realizes that I could only be a bad guy.

Check out those muscles, right?
Here's a shot of Aaron at work in his home studio:

We spent an hour or so together after his day shift at an insurance company ended. He put together a couple of drawerings of his comic book series TOASTER GUY!!!!

Here's the story I did with Aaron

Here's a slide show of some of Aaron's characters

The 32-year-old Jax native has had the idea for this comic book since he was 13. And this year he gave out a big ole "What Tha Heck" and put the story in motion.

Anyone here ever "crowdfunded"?? Something that several local businesses and artists have tried on several websites... basically a would-be business owner pitches his idea over a web page and donors give money.

The money is not a loan, doesn't have to be paid back.

This is how Aaron got Toaster Guy's bread buttered. Here's a video he made explaining his project:

Most sites allow the business owner to give a reward of some kind to the donor. Hazouri, for instance, gave each of his donors a copy of the comic book, tshirts, and other art.

Hazouri used a site called Kickstarter, but there are others.

Check out Aaron's work: www.toasterguy.com
And here's the kickstarter url: http://www.kickstarter.com/ 


Now, shifting gears, I've got to give credit where credit is due.

My hero in the reporting world is a guy named Boyd Huppert.

I literally watch every story he does, and of course... he did a story about Kickstarter. I loved how he did it that I thought I should do a story about it right here in Jacksonville. So I visited the site and found Aaron, who was an awesome character for the story... just an all around interesting guy.

Boyd's story was better written, shot and edited than what I put together... click this link for a look, I confess I'm copying at places.

Just for kicks... here's another link to my story with Aaron that aired on First Coast News at 5:30pm. 

Typical super villain, always trying to steal someone's thunder. Sorry Mr. Huppert (Or am I?)

Also, I'm always looking for fun, interesting people to do stories about. Email me lewisturner@firstcoastnews.com with your ideas, I'll be sure to give you credit!

Talk soon,