Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Books, Battles, Burgers & Beer On Tap At PJD’s Beer Garden

Local resident Bill Craun’s book that portrays a fictional account of his life in combat is now published, and the former mercenary will be signing and selling copies tomorrow, Saturday, May 29, beginning at noon at PJD’s Beer and Wine Garden, 12 South 2nd Street downtown.

“Working the Kill Zone” details Bill’s actual combat stories told through the eyes of his fictional mercenary character, ”Alex.”

Following 10 years of active military service Bill left the U.S. Army as a captain in the Airborne Rangers then for fifteen years worked in Iraq and Afghanistan for private military companies (Custer Battles, Triple Canopy, Blackwater, MVM, Patriot Group International, and EODT) on contracts for DOS, DOD, CIA, and NSA. In other words, he was a mercenary, working for the good guys. The events in his book are based on facts from his first-hand perspective, even though the story that weaves them together is fiction.

I’ve read an advance copy of the book and it’s a gripping tale. Bill know what he’s writing about, he’s been there and done that. The book has been described as 13 Hours at Benghazi on steroids. Bill actually trained and selected the heroes of the Benghazi battle.

Bill’s Iraqi carpool.

Why didn’t he personally tell those tales using his real name and actual events? The U.S. government says he can’t. Why not? “Ask them,” says Bill.

Local author, commentator, and former war correspondent, Ken Timmerman, provided a succinct endorsement of Bill’s book writing: “If you thought you understood the war in Iraq, think again. William Craun’s debut novel tells the story of America’s forgotten warriors, the private military contractors who laid down their lives for their friends in battles the U.S. government was too cowardly to fight.”

To read more reviews and learn more about Bill and his exploits go to: William Craun – Author, Airborne Ranger, Security Contractor 

By the way, Bill, and his wife Diane, who is a retired U.S. Army full bird colonel and is currently West Rock’s Director of Human Resources here, are the former owners of the now shuttered Diane’s Bakery at the corner of Atlantic and South 11th Street.

Bill’s book is available on Amazon.

Speaking of veterans, don’t forget Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day, a day to honor those who fought for America’s freedom but never returned home. There will be a memorial service downtown followed by another event at American Legion Post 54, on South 3rd St. and Gum around noon.


Speaking Of Catching Bad Guys: Has the U.S. caught any of the scumbags who hack into hospitals, electric grids, pipelines, military installations, and other entities critical to lives and livelihoods?

I have yet to read an article anywhere describing authorities capturing and prosecuting these geeky low lives.

Have authorities apprehended any of them other than a couple of pimply-faced 16-year-old social outcasts yanked from their parent’s basements after extorting a business or two?

Is anyone even investigating the Russian thugs that almost brought America’s east coast to a halt after hacking into the Colonial gas pipeline and allegedly receiving more than a $4 million ransom?

Does the U.S. have a team of CIA hackers seeking revenge on the Russians proving that if it happens again we’ll bring their entire country to a halt? How about we sabotage their borsht factories and halt the distilling of vodka over there for a week or two. That should have them quickly begging for mercy.

It appears we’re in a cyber war, but nobody told Joe Biden. He’s planning to shuffle off to Switzerland to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. Is he taking his bagman son Hunter along to collect the  payoff for lifting sanctions on the Nord Stream 2  Pipeline to Germany while shutting down our Keystone one? Is there one single liberal out there who can explain that?

If we could drop a couple of atomic bombs on Japan and fire bomb German cities to end World War II why not plunge Moscow into more darkness than already exists in that depressingly gloomy city?

But back to the hackers. Where’s the coverage of the investigation and arrests? The trials? Is the government incapable of catching these criminals? Is it even trying?  Or has Hunter worked out a deal with his Russian and Chinese business associates?


Wait! What? Just when you think our society couldn’t get more depraved it does. I read that PBS is using our tax dollars to air a show directed to 3-8-year-olds that’s hosted by a gay drag queen who calls itself “Little Hot Mess”.

If the “Little Hot Mess” indoctrinating toddlers isn’t enough to get you hot under the collar then the following “Big Hot Mess” should convince you.

Another example of the societal havoc Democrats are wrecking across America is courtesy of my favorite West Coast columnist Burt Prelutsky, who resides in and writes from Los Angeles and alerted me to the PBS-sponsored “Mess” thing:

“The Communists serving on the City Council in San Francisco passed Proposition 47, a law that legalizes shoplifting up to $950 worth of goods,” explains Burt.

He says that as a result of preventing shop owners or the cops from doing their job, two inevitabilities occurred.  “One, gangs of thieves would attack a store like a swarm of locusts and rip off much more than $950 worth of merchandise; two, stores, including Walgreens, CVS and convenience store chains, have closed scores of locations throughout the city.”

“One could almost sympathize with the non-criminal element in San Francisco,” he add. “Except they’re the ones who elect these people to represent them, along with a district attorney in the mode of George Gascon and Larry Krasner named Chesa Boudin, to oversee their legal system.”

He sums it up saying: “It is a city buried in drug addicts, derelicts, human dung and is now virtually without a place where you can buy toothpaste and aspirins. Who the heck says there’s no God?”


Speaking Of Delusional Geeky Losers: Wealthy Microsoft founder Bill Gates must think all his cash makes him smart. He recently said: “We won’t be able to live normal lives until every person on the planet has been vaccinated against coronavirus.” Based on the recent disclosures about his adultery and his close friendship with the vile child sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, what does this putz consider a normal life?  Hey Bill, all that cash only makes you attractive to bimbo gold diggers. You’re a sad despicable little man.


Dumb & Getting Dumber: I’m delighted to inform readers here that I have been contracted to contribute opinions to BPR Daily, a national news website with more than six million daily page views. Folks can receive news bulletins twice a day by subscribing to the site, which is free.

My first commentary “Dumb & Getting Dumber”  appeared this past Wednesday, May 26, and can be read by going to the site’s home page and then to the list of the site’s columnists or to

BizPac Review is a 10-year-old privately held, for-profit news and opinion website with offices in Palm Beach County and Arlington, VA, that covers news throughout the United State.

The BizPac Review website provides breaking news and analysis unfiltered by liberal media bias. It covers current events that the mainstream media intentionally ignore and has broken a variety of important stories that have been spotlighted on Fox News and on the Rush Limbaugh show.

Its analysis has been touted by the top conservatives in the world, including Donald Trump Jr., Dan Bongino, Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Kris Paronto, Candace Owens, and Larry Elder.

My initial contribution is a summary of what I consider the five dumbest things the Biden administration has enacted since taking office in late January. However, as the days go by, more dumb things come up faster than the list can be updated.

What the …..?

How about the new Kellogg’s cereal box where kids can choose their own pronouns and features a rainbow heart? I’ve purchased my last box of crap from that idiotic company. The Biden administration didn’t create the cringe-worthy box, but its policies inspired it.

Loyal reader Don Howard of Sarasota adds another commenting that flying the BLM flag at U.S. Embassies should probably make the Top 5 Biden administration screw-ups this week. “Nothing like the USA, leader of the free world, helping support the Marxists at BLM, while their leaders buy up a few more multimillion dollar estates,” he says.

My comments at BPR will focus mostly on national issues unless there is an item hereabouts that merits national attention. And the way the City of Fernandina Beach is currently being governed there is no doubt in my mind that the city will soon make national headlines.


Speaking Of Screwed Up Groups: The leading Black Lives Matter organization declared “solidarity with Palestinians”, a week after Hamas terrorists in Gaza began firing a relentless barrage of rockets into Israel, indiscriminately shelling civilian targets as well as dropping some missiles short and blowing up buildings within its own territory.

“Black Lives Matter stands in solidarity with Palestinians,” the group tweeted. “We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation. ( always have. And always will be ). #freepalestine.”


More Biden Blather: It’s easy to create a mob.  All you need to do is promise them they will have, through no effort of their own, everything that other people have worked to accumulate. The politics of envy was on public display a couple weeks ago when President Biden pledged the rest of his term to fighting “income inequality.” He noted that some people make more than other people, that some people have higher incomes than others, and he says that’s not just. In other words, they have it, you want it, they’ll take it and give it to you. Vote Democrat!


Hacked Off: My email password has been hacked again. This is the fourth time I’ve had to rename the cat.


Things I Wish I’d Said: “After seeing what Biden has done in the last few months, I want to thank him for not doing anything in the previous 49 years.” – anonymous.


Call The Cops! Oh, Never Mind: Thieves reportedly stole the car of an Atlanta politician who voted to defund millions from the Atlanta police department budget.

City councilman Antonio Brown, who is currently running for mayor, voted to strip $73 million from the Atlanta PD’s budget, even with crime running rampant in the city. Fortunately for the remaining sane citizens of Atlanta the ordinance was narrowly voted down.

Brown is an advocate of “reimagining” or reinventing public safety in the city, but in this situation, he followed the less-innovative approach of calling 911 rather than a social worker.

Maybe Brown wants less law enforcement because he’s currently under indictment on several federal fraud charges. Prosecutors said the councilman lied about his income on applications to obtain loans and credit cards used for personal purchases.

We abandoned that crime-riddled hellhole for Amelia Island 10 years ago and to paraphrase an old country and western song: “Atlanta is happiness in my rearview mirror.”


FEMA/Marina Update: My insider source who knows more than most about such things tells me that the city has hired the $600-an-hour Baker-Donelson consulting firm to conduct an “expert assessment” of the FEMA vs. Fernandina Beach Marina case. If they find sufficient grounds the city will withdraw its appeal to FEMA for $6 million and formally request a hearing he says.

“Baker Donelson, by the way, is the leading firm specializing in FEMA arbitration—so the city has the best available,” says my city source. “They will also represent the City before the three-judge panel, if that is the path chosen.”

He says the alternative is to accept the FEMA offer of $600,000 and increase property taxes to pay off the debt. The $600,000 FEMA offer is a only a little more than two weeks work for the city’s new consulting firm.

“In the end”, he says, “we should all be hoping the FEMA grant is increased—the more the better. If not, property taxes will have to go up significantly pandemic or no.” Oh, tax payers will still be stuck with the consulting firm’s invoice either way.

Wasn’t it City Manager Dale Martin’s bungling of the FEMA application with a mysteriously disappearing document that only Martin ever saw, that got the city into this mess in the first place?


Quiet Please! Criminals At Work! Has anyone else noticed that the normally boisterous, gasbag, Commissioner Chip Ross, has gone mysteriously quiet recently?  A number of  prominent citizens tell me it’s because he and City Manager Dale “The Big Spender” Martin are getting nervous about a possible criminal investigation stemming from the illegal use of impact fees and Building Department fees that have been directed toward the city’s golf course and marina. The Ross recall petition currently circulating may also have had a silencing effect.

I’m worried Chip, I think they’re on to us.”

They both must know that they may be liable for their violation of Florida law.  How could they not, particularly the way they have been administering the Florida Building Code? Add that to the way they violate the state impact fee statutes.

Not that long ago Martin even wrote in one of his columns that the city uses water/sewer fees to fund the marina and golf course. That’s illegal. Ross may be loud, obnoxious, and pompous but he isn’t stupid. Maybe he shut up because he realizes the city is a criminal enterprise and he’s implicated. He’s also aware that there has been serious talk by serious people of going to the state to request an audit or investigation.

I’m hearing that an investigation or audit  by Florida’s State Attorney General is edging closer.  Hopefully, the use of Florida’s building code to shake down citizens in the same way the city used Florida’s impact fee legislation to illegally shake down city residents, will soon be coming to an end and so will Martin’s and Ross’s tenures.


A Sad Farewell:  Dr. Pat Foster-Turley, a zoologist who wrote a nature column for the local News Leader newspaper has decided to stop submitting her material. That’s too bad. Even though I’ve never had much of an interest in flowers, bugs, snakes, etc. I found Pat’s column highly readable and well-written. I’ll miss her and so will my wife, Linda, who read her religiously.


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: I’ve heard from a reliable source that the iconic Crab Trap bar and eatery on North 2nd Street downtown will soon be under the new ownership and the deal is expected to close next week. The new owner plans to keep the name and focus on seafood and told me there is no opening date set as the building needs a variety of renovations. Fernandina Beach High School basketball Coach, Jon Anderson, says he’s having difficulty sourcing ribs for Captain Jack’s Barbecue’s popular Tuesday evening $1.00 a rib and dollar beer nights. The Tuesday night special will resume once his suppliers can again provide the quantity and quality of ribs he says his customers have come to expect. Ribs can still be ordered in the restaurant, but supplies were flying out the door faster than they could be replenished during the Tuesday special. He’ll let me know and I’ll post it here when the special starts up again. In addition to his two island eateries Jon is opening a dual concept restaurant in Yulee on Highway 200 in the Petco strip shopping center at a yet to be announced date. It’ll feature an approximately 5,000-square-foot Arte’sCaptain Jack’s combination where folks can order barbecue ribs and/or lasagna under one roof.

  • Comment (10)
  • Dave:

    Congrats on the BPR deal. Always made sense to me for your stuff to find a wider stage.

    Raise taxes to pay for the marina screw up? That’s nuts! It’s a hot real estate market. Just start offing some of the crazy, nonperforming real estate the city has accumulated on its “balance sheet”. Go to the County property site enter “City of Fernandina Beach” as owner and there’s the money hiding in plain sight. Where do I send my bill?

  • Great going Dave. Keep the City crooks on the ropes.
    See you Monday at the Memorial service.

  • It’s a fool’s errand to go after, to think of going after, or to write about going after hackers; at least those hackers who legitimately call themselves hackers. The very technologies in place to protect computer users from cyber crime in effect, also protect the identities of criminal hackers. The dark web, VPNs, spoofing IP and MAC addresses, proxy servers, and encryption algorithms all serve to make identifying hackers exorbitantly expensive if not downright impossible. Not to mention that hackers often originate from countries that would not recognize arrest warrants served by the US no more than we would recognize their arrest warrants served on US citizens. And little else serves to make an entity a target of hackers than to admit publicly being a victim of hackers. It’s basically acknowledging that your network and computers have security vulnerabilities. It’s the reason why most successful hacking attacks go unreported. Therefore, it stands to reason that the most effective way to combat cyber crimes and cyber terrorism is to focus on security in order to protect against infiltrations from nefarious actors. If you become a victim of a hacking attack, you need to focus your efforts on why your information and your network was vulnerable. Going after the perpetrators is akin to spitting in the wind.

  • “I’ve never had much of an interest in flowers, bugs, snakes, etc.”…hmmm, Dave, no wonder you are a pro-development, pro-oil, anti-environmentalist kind of guy. Have you ever taken a walk through our beautiful Greenway?…I’m guessing probably not, but maybe you should. Take a break from spending hours on the keyboard (you have to spend a bunch of time doing that, considering how much ink leaks out over our computer screens) and breathe some fresh air, soak up the sunshine and stop listening and reading myopic views of the world. Nature is not our enemy, but you actually have to experience it to appreciate the need to save it.

    • I so want to like Coleman Langshaw, but then Dave writes yet another complimentary piece about Mrs. Turley’s writing and Coleman spews hate. Not only that, he assigns qualities in Dave that are unsupported. Not being interested in bugs doesn’t mean one is pro-oil, it means one is not interested in bugs. Dave may be pro-oil (I filled my car with gas yesterday, so I surely am). Dave may even be anti-environmentalist (though I doubt it). Coleman surely knows Dave personally better than I do, since they drink beer together from time to time. But the hate due to not being interested in all the same things Pat Foster Turley is interested seems odd, almost to the point of frightening. Also, I’m sorry Mrs. Turley won’t be writing for the News-Leader anymore – she writes very well – I wish her and her family all the best!

      • Mr. Harrison, No hate intended, and you are correct that I neglected to compliment and I do agree with Dave about Ms. Turley’s writing. I like to take stabs at Dave politically, as he has done with me (I believe in good-spirited bantering), but absolutely, I did miss the bigger point, and so I thank you for making me think about that. I think we will all miss Ms. Turley’s column- it always made me smile, when most things in print these days do not.

  • Dave you may not want to take Langshaws offer to walk the Green
    Way and commune with Mother Nature.
    While it is very serene and peaceful
    it is also chock full of her very serious
    no-shoulders.To the former city slickers
    that’s you Dave.A no shoulder is one of a
    group of her most diabolical offspring:
    Alligators,Rattle snakes,and Cottonmouth
    water moccasins call the Greenway home.
    In other words not an ideal place to walk
    your poodle Fifi.You can get all the nature
    you want by sitting in your porch rocker
    at sunset listening to the critters but at
    a safe distance.

    • Mr. Troxel, your point is well taken by me in your response. I don’t want to encourage anyone to venture into a situation that could be dangerous or uncomfortable. Thanks for your input on my comments to our friend Dave.

  • Dave, you touched on so many items today it is difficult to know where to begin. Sadly you didn’t provide the reason that Pat has discontinued her relationship with the News-Leader. The new editor told her to adopt the AP style of referencing people’s names only by their last name after their initial use or else. With her local, folksy style (much like yours) that just didn’t sit with Pat so she said no thanks. I won’t be renewing my NL digital subscription when it come up and it seems like a number of Pat’s Facebook followers plan to do the same. Another misstep by Foy and his team.

    As to the Russian hackers, the FBI has made numerous arrests over the years of these hackers but it is a whack-a-mole type of activity. Of course the Russian government isn’t cooperating and there is no extradition treaty with Russia or several other countries in which these criminals operate, so the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies try to apprehend these folks when they travel outside the country – of course that is only after they have solved the difficult issue of identifying the individuals responsible. In most cases these groups are organized crime with major resources including corrupt government officials.

    How ironic is it that the Atlanta councilman has his car stolen when he is standing four feet away. I am sure the auto theft squad is going to jump all over that especially since he indicated that he won’t press charges against the four juveniles that stole the car. Mayor of Atlanta candidate but then that is the norm for the city.

    I know you like to pick on Chip Ross. While he and I often disagree on solutions to issues facing the city, he is only one of five city commissioners. The impact fees that you and Pat rail against (never mentioning that the County has several fees) were approved years ago before Chip was a commissioner. I guess Chip is an easy target since he is so out front on these issues.

    Hopefully the FEMA debacle will be ending in the near future. The result will be either a bunch of folks will be eating crow (or will it be pelican) down at the dock or someone might be updating their resume.
    I think you need new batteries in your calculator. Two weeks (assuming 40 hours a week) at $600/hour is only $48,000. To get to the $600,000 amount, that is 25 weeks of continuous billing. But then I know you like to add a little sarcasm in your style of writing.

    Happy Memorial Day. Let us all remember those you gave their lives in service to our country and defending our freedoms.


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