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Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Jersey: Your Insult Here


Poor New Jersey. The Garden State just can’t catch a break. In 2003, syringes, crack vials, and human sewage washed up on her shores. In January of 2007, New York blamed New Jersey for depositing a gag-inducing sulfurous smell over Manhattan. Recently, New Jersey hired an image consulting firm to draw up a new state slogan and produce a package to promote tourism.

What they came up with was, New Jersey: We’ll Win You Over. The state spent $260,000 for that, but even before they sprung it on the world, they aborted it. Then they had a contest to see if the average Joe couldn’t come up with something they liked better.

This, of course, prompted scores of published pieces that offered snide alternative slogans. Some of those were, NJ: It Always Smells Like This; NJ: Expect Delays, and NJ: Come Glow With Us. My suggestion of NJ: Land of Enchanted Exit Ramps, did not even place.

Recently, a Jersey beach reopened after it was discovered that a sand replenishing project dredged up not only ocean floor from way out in the ocean, but at least 1100 potentially explosive artillery fuses that were dumped offshore in the early 1930’s. Although they think they sifted through the sand and removed all the fuses, they are suggesting beach visitors use caution, tread lightly, dig carefully, and leave the beach umbrellas at home. What a choice they have: Melanoma or being blown to smithereens. Personally I’d rather Tony Soprano show up and off me with one shot to the temple. There’d be less suffering.

I’m not saying New Jersey is a horrible place to live. Florida, where I live, wins no prizes for being a utopian place to homestead, either. Granted, our beaches are relatively safe. Okay, so a couple of European tourists were killed after being mowed over by cops on ATV’s. And years ago, one bold man said to a gun-wielding crazy on Sand Key, “Oh, so what are you gonna do, shoot me?” Not two seconds later, he was dead in the sand. I think the killer was Tony Soprano. On vacation.

For decades Florida’s slogan has been, “The Sunshine State.” I suspect there are other states, New Mexico and Arizona perhaps, that could legally challenge that and make us change it to “A Sunshine State.” Or perhaps it’s just time for a new slogan, since skin cancer awareness campaigns are giving sunshine a bad name. Here are some alternative suggestions:

Florida: Yet Another Bush Family Contamination

Florida: The Blue Tarp State

Florida: The Southeastern Dangling Penis Of North America

Florida: Land Of A Million Scam Artists, Many Of Whom You


Florida: Water Sold Separately

Florida: Land of Opportunists

Florida: Real Estate Developers’ Paradise

Florida: More Canadians than Canada

Florida: Come Marvel At Our Insurance Rates

Florida: More People Than Termites

Florida: Condos From The Low Millions

Florida: Get It In Writing

Florida: The Road Rage State

Florida: Where The Homeless Never Freeze To Death

Florida: Live Expensively Or Die

Florida: The Cockroach State

Florida: Big Lizard Country

Florida: Endless Theme Park Lines

Florida: Bring A Book; It’s Always Rush Hour

Florida: The Background Check State

Florida: Not Bilingual? No Job Por Tu!

Florida: Winter Home of Quebec

Florida: Make Sure You Have Batteries And A Week’s Worth Of

Non-Perishable Food

Florida: The Minimum Wage State

Florida: It’s Not The Heat; It’s The Hostility

Florida: Best When Refrigerated

Florida: Home Of Non-Explosive Beaches

So I’m all prepared to be the winner when the time comes for a new slogan contest for Florida. I hope that as my prize, I’ll do a lot better than the successful entrant in the Jersey contest. Maybe they’ll let me be the one to decide the winner of the next presidential election.

After careful consideration, New Jersey announced the winning slogan. For coming up with, New Jersey: Come See For Yourself, the victor’s puny award was two tickets to a NJ Nets or Devils game and a two-night stay in a golf resort. People who dress up as dust mops and go on Let’s Make A Deal do better than that, even if they just get the consolation prize. So for some comp tickets and green fees, Jersey got something they liked better. Jersey paid $260,000 for the slogan they hated and threw out, and they forked over next to nothing to the one that took the prize.

I’m thinking a better slogan for them is, New Jersey: Cheap Bastards.

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