Mark my words …
In case you missed it, the broadcast of the football game involving the NFL team from Jacksonville left quite a few viewers screaming at their televisions. And not just because of special teams play.
Dick Stockton, Fox’s veteran play-by-play announcer, kept saying the nickname of the home team. Using an unusual pronunciation. Every. Single. Time.
No “r,” as if it almost rhymes with “Wizard of Oz.”
If my living room (and social media) were any indication, the first time he said it, people cocked their heads and furrowed their eyebrows. The second time they said, “Did you hear that?” And by the 433rd time, if they hadn’t already turned to Frank Frangie (Jaguars radio broadcaster and guy who actually pronounces the “r” in his first and last name), they were yelling at the TV.
My favorite comment, though, came in the form of artwork. Brian DiCarlo tweeted a formal portrait of a large spotted feline, looking quite regal in a teal tuxedo and bowtie, a patch over one eye. “When Dick Stockton says Jagwahs instead of Jaguars,” it said.
The question of how to pronounce Jaguars isn’t a new one. It goes back all the way to the team’s beginning, when there were stories asking: Is it jag-wahrs, jag-wires or, like a British luxury car, jag-you-ars?
Jag-wahrs was the preferred pronunciation. Although former Coach Gus Bradley certainly tested this a bit, nobody has quite gone with the Stockton pronunciation.
This isn’t the first time viewers have noticed his unique way with words. When Stockton was assigned to broadcast a Cubs-Dodgers baseball playoff series in 2008, the Chicago Tribune came up with what it called the “Dick Stocktionary.”
We now have a Jacksonville addition for it.
Stockton also had a moment Sunday that instantly brought comparisons to “Anchorman,” with Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy reading exactly what appears on a teleprompter.
At the end of the first half, Stockton was doing a tease for the Fox halftime show and said, “Look on graphic for the final two bullet points.”
Not that I want to poke too much fun. If I were put on the air, I’m sure I’d mangle something in a hurry. Besides, in a time when it seems even fans of the same NFL team often are divided, Stockton managed to be the Great Uniter.
Richard Spencer has free speech. A Gainesville brewery has countered with free beer.
The white nationalist will speak Thursday at the University of Florida, leading Gov. Rick Scott to take the unusual measure of declaring a state of emergency for Alachua County. (Which led Spencer to tweet a satellite image of a hurricane, his head photoshopped into the eye of the storm. “BREAKING,” it said. “Hurricane Ricardo expected to hit Gainesville this Thursday.”)
While Scott uses the power of his office to try to prevent a Charlottesville-like scene, and religious leaders gather to deliver messages of “unity and love,” Alligator Brewing is using the lure of hops and barley.
The brewery asked people to gobble up tickets for the event — and instead of actually using them, bring them to a bar for a free draft.
“We unfortunately can’t stop him from bringing his hate to Gainesville,” the brewery said. “But we can empty the room …”
Even though event organizers have countered by adjusting their ticket distribution plan, the brewery says the offer remains and the original sentiment holds.
“Here at Alligator we believe free speech is a cornerstone of our great nation. That said, speech that condones, let alone promotes racial supremacy, has no home in America. And it sure as hell doesn’t have a home here in our beautiful town.”
One more example of why Carl Hiaasen doesn’t have to go far to find characters for his novels.
Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, 59, is running for Congress in Miami. She says she’s an educator and entrepreneur. She also says she was first visited by extraterrestrials when she was 7.
Aguilera described her abduction and subsequent encounters in great detail in a 2009 television interview (and, no, it didn’t involve Reese’s Pieces). When the Miami Herald reported about it, noting some of her relatives already have been taken to our leaders (her son-in-law is Mike Pence’s deputy chief of staff), she called it a “hit job” and supporters accused the Herald of having a bias. Which led others to defend the Herald.
“Yes, Miami Herald,” one said, “your pro-human bias grows tiresome.”
After I wrote about my Tom Petty memories, quite a few of you shared yours. Some passed along links to recent Petty tributes, most involving big-time acts in large venues. But one of my favorites came from Charles Jimerson.
He sent me a video of his two toddlers, riding in booster seats in the back seat and belting out “American Girl.”
The best ongoing tribute could be in Petty’s hometown, with UF fans singing “I Won’t Back Down” before the fourth quarter.
The Gators are 0-2 since starting it. And while I typically don’t care much whether the Gators win or lose, if they’re going to do that song justice, they better start winning at home again. Or switch to playing “Free Fallin’.”