Jacksonville News

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.
  • Duval or DuVal or du Val?
    I was just on an insurance website that listed DuVal as the county we're in. Some people go by DuWhatever, while others use DuSomething. Still others are du Frenchplace. So, I wonder what the deal is with Duval.


    Duval County is named after William Pope Duval, who was the first governor of Florida. He was an appointed governor, so it's not like the people of the state voted for him, but he did rule over Florida for twelve years. Duval himself went by Duval, as can be seen in his signature:

    Of course, Duval, regardless of how William spelled it, would have been du Val at one point. Just like duPont (as in Jessie Ball duPont), used to be du Pont, though I am sure some people around Duval County call it Dupont.

    One additional tidbit about William Duval's name is that he had three sons, with two of them going by Duval and one going by DuVal. Burr and John were Duval, and Duval County, Texas is named after Burr. Thomas, the obvious attention-seeking middle child, went by DuVal.

    To recap, the person specifically for whom Duval County was named was named Duval, not du Val, duVal, or DuVal. So, unlike St. Johns, which people from Florida changed because...lazy, Duval County is spelled correctly. With ONE u, not three.
  • Recyclable Plastic Bags as Beds
    Plastic bags CAN be recycled, probably even in Georgia. That's where a Girl Scout troop decided to save recyclable plastic bags from the landfill in order to build homeless beds. I'm wondering whether it's a good activity or not. I want it to be, really, but I have my reservations. My wife says it's me being cynical, but I just like to make sure the feel-good stories really make me feel good.


    First off, it seems like a good idea. Reuse or upcycle. Since you can recycle these bags, making beds out of them may not really be the best use, but if the bags were going to be thrown away, then it's cool. I just wonder what happens when the bed has served its purpose as a bed. I would think it could be hosed down and used indefinitely, but I'm not sure. But if the woven bags can still be recycled, then that's pretty sweet. 

    Plastics also leach chemicals. 95% of plastics will leach these chemicals when real-world stresses of sunlight or washing are added to the mix. The chemicals tend to be estrogen-like, so I don't really know if they're going to harm any homeless people, but it is something to consider. I don't know the specifics of which chemicals leach from plastic bags, and some are worse than others. Basically, beds made of plastic would likely be banned for normal human purchase, either as mattresses for homes or as camping beds. Surrounding yourself in a chemical bath while sleeping is probably not a great idea for most of us, but I can still see the allure of not wanting to sleep on the ground.

    In the end, I can't say using plastic bags as beds for the homeless is a bad idea, mostly because I can't think of a better material to be upcycled in this way. I guess you could fill the bags with Spanish Moss (which used to be used in mattresses), and they'd be softer yet much more flammable. 
    Actually, filling the bags with anything, like newspaper, might add to comfort or insulation, but the beds would probably less portable.  Besides, I am sure all of this is really about the thought counting more than the actual item being donated. And the work involved. Girl Scoutstrying to do good.