A South Jersey Vocabulary Lesson

Posted August 2, 2014 by armpitnj
Categories: Random

Tags: , , , , , ,

South Jersey DictionaryMuch has been written and discussed about the divide between North Jersey and South Jersey – not just the literal border between the two regions, but also the cultural differences. And having spent 29 years in the neutral ground of Central Jersey, I’ve been witness to the best and worst of both sides. And one of the worst things about South Jersey is its vernacular, which is unlike anywhere else in Jersey – or the world.

So if you ever find yourself below the belt of the Armpit of America, as in south of Route 195, you will likely hear the following crazy new words:

Hoagie

While the rest of the world would call a long roll filled with various meats and cheeses, smothered in shredded lettuce and dripping with oil and vinegar a sub (or submarine sandwich if you want to get formal), South Jerseyans refer to this item by the totally unappetizing term of “hoagie.” To me, hoagie sounds like something you would call the vomited up remains of a sub, but in South Jersey, that’s what they call dinner.

In either case, they love their hoagies down there, with South Jersey convenience store chain Wawa even having Hoagiefest each year. (Warning: by clicking on that link, you’ll hear a jingle about hoagies that will immediately get stuck in your head.)

Wooder

If you are dining at a restaurant in New Jersey’s Dixieland and the waiter asks you if you would like a “wooder,” don’t be alarmed; he isn’t offering you his erection. That’s just how the natives say the word “water.”

Wooder Ice

One of the most perplexing terms you’ll hear in South Jersey is “wooder ice,” or water ice. That is the term they call the frozen dessert that everyone else refers to as Italian ice. Even more confusing, there are places in South Jersey that advertise their “Polish Water Ice,” which sounds like the butt of some joke and not something I’d want to put in my mouth.

Jimmies

Staying on the topic of frozen treats, we move on to “jimmies.” Everywhere else in the world, those brightly colored bits of sugar and wax are called “sprinkles” – but not in South Jersey. South of the border, they call these ice cream staples jimmies for reasons not fully understood.

Hoooome

This word simply means “home,” but in the South Jersey accent it is pronounced with a ridiculously long “O” sound. I know it’s hard to explain, but try stretching the “ho” part of the word, with your lips gradually coming closer together until you get to the “m” part. And that’s how they say “home” – and similar sounding words like “phone” or “alone” – in South Jersey.

[Yes, I know these words and pronunciations are more indicative of the greater Philadelphia area, but it's just fun to pick on South Jersey. Don't worry, I'll be making fun of North Jersey soon enough!]

Movie Review: “Jersey Shore Shark Attack”

Posted July 13, 2014 by armpitnj
Categories: Jersey Shore, MTV's "Jersey Shore", Reviews

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Two years ago, the Syfy network, purveyors of such cinematic classics as Sharktopus, Dinocroc vs. Supergator, and Mongolian Death Worm, premiered its newest masterpiece, Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Somehow, I didn’t see this gem until last night. In all honestly, it was as bad as you would probably expect, but I did the dirty work of watching this literal horror show so you don’t have to.

The movie follows the wacky hijinks of a group of overtanned, oversexed 20-somethings living together in a house in Seaside Heights. If it sounds like MTV’s Jersey Shore, that was intentional – the main characters are directly inspired by the cast of that show: you have The Complication (The Situation), Nooki (Snooki), J-MONI (JWoww), Donnie (Ronnie), etc. And just like the show, they’re obsessed with drinking, fighting, sexing and creating their own stupid abbreviations; rather than GTL, the guys proclaim how they are going to go out for some ASS – Alcohol, Sun, and Sex.

And while our gang is just trying to have fun, there are some significant wrenches thrown into what is supposed to be a carefree summer at the Jersey Shore. Some real estate developer wants to create a luxury country club and displace the guido population, they get into some brawls with preppy rich kids, and, worst of all, there is a school of rabid albino sharks prowling the water. And that’s pretty much the entire plot. Oh yeah – I forgot about another aspect of the movie – everyone’s looking forward to the “big” 4th of July concert by former *NSYNCer Joey Fatone, who plays himself in the film. Don’t know how they dug him up – I guess JC Chasez must have been busy that day.

Anyway, the whole movie is like a bad combination of Jersey Shore and Jaws. Some scenes are even almost exact replications of scenes from the latter. Like when local fishermen catch a shark, though not necessarily the shark, and everyone thinks it’s safe to be in the water. Or when the police chief desperately tries to convince the mayor to close the beach on the 4th of July. But as Jaws itself was based on real New Jersey shark attacks (that occured in my hometown), I guess that can be forgiven. There are also elements of dumb high school shows like 90210 or Saved By the Bell; you have the rivalry with the preppy kids, the local hangout of Captain Sallie’s bar (akin to the Peach Pit or the Max) and Captain Sallie himself who serves as a mentor to the gang (just like Nat or Mr. Belding).

And then there are the effects, which I refuse to call special. These supposed blood-thirsty sharks are rendered as crappy CGI fish with faces that look like the cave trolls from Lord of the Rings. They even make the fake shark from Jaws look real. Moreover, the characters constantly refer to the sharks having red eyes – but the effects people obviously missed this detail. Also consider how our gang tries to kill the sharks by throwing fireworks at them – fireworks that somehow remain lit under water in some weird SpongeBob SquarePants type of logic.

No wonder the effects sucked; half the budget went to fake tanner and earrings.

When all this is combined with a cast of bad actors with over the top New York accents, a few too many Italian stereotype jokes and a cameo by Jersey Shore’s Vinnie (playing a news reporter as unconvincingly as you might expect), this movie just sucks. And no, not in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way. It sucks in that you find yourself rooting for the ugly CGI sharks to just eat the entire cast already. Unfortunately you have to wait two hours to see that they all survive.

Like this review? Check out my other movie reviews for Eddie and the Cruisers and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, or my recap of the classic Jersey Shore episode of South Park!

Smelling the Jersey Shore

Posted July 9, 2014 by armpitnj
Categories: Jersey Shore

Displaying photo.JPGA couple years ago, we picked up this little bottle of “Jersey Shore Air” at a Christmas Tree Shop. We thought it was just a stupid little novelty item, but after moving out of New Jersey, it has become a meaningful token of my former life. And now that the summer is in full swing, I am missing the Jersey Shore more than ever.

So I knew that my sealed bottle of authentic Jersey Shore air wouldn’t remain sealed for long. But before I opened it, I deeply contemplated what I thought it would smell like. Perhaps the refreshing sea mist of a morning on the beach just before sunrise. Or maybe the scent of a freshly deep-fried funnel cake buried under heaps of powdered sugar. I’d even appreciate it if it smelled like stale beer and regret – the very essence of a Shore bar. The suspense was really getting to me, so I finally uncorked the bottle and gave it a whiff.

Something was fishy. I mean that literally –  there was the definite scent of seafood. Of course, they somehow managed to capture the scent of one of the many on-the-water seafood restaurants. Upon a second smell, something was even fishier. This wasn’t just a generic seafood scent- it smelled just like clams…but clams surrounded by cream-based broth and potatoes. Completely baffled, I inhaled again and detected subtle notes of rich people…but not just any rich people – liberal rich people. Other scents soon came to the surface. Know-it-all college students. Obnoxious sports fans. And…Mark Wahlberg???

That’s when it hit me. This was no bottle of pure Jersey Shore Air. It had been contaminated by air from that lesser state of Massachusetts. I was all set to write a strongly worded letter to the bottling company voicing my dissatisfaction with the product. But in studying the label to find the company’s address, I was startled by what I found. Apparently this bottle of Jersey Shore Air came from Middleboro, MA.  That’s right; some company tried to pull a fast one over us with their fraudulent product. What a bunch of Massholes!

 

 

State vs. State: New Jersey and Long Island

Posted April 18, 2014 by armpitnj
Categories: State vs. State

Tags: , , , , ,

It has now been a year since I left my home on the little slice of heaven known as the Jersey Shore to move to the gates of hell that is Long Island. So how do the two compare? Let’s see in this sort of revival of my long-forgotten State vs. State feature:

Roads

Perhaps the biggest difference is that Long Island allows you to make left turns instead of the jug handles for which New Jersey is so famous (or infamous). I definitely appreciate the ability to make a simple left instead of going around in circles, with many traffic lights having dedicated left turn signals. However, there is one disadvantage to this system – the red lights are looooong. At most intersections, each of the four roads will have it’s own dedicated green light AND it’s own special left turn arrow light, so the convenience of making a left turn comes at the expense of your time.

Drivers

New Jersey has quite a reputation for having bad drivers, but they are nothing compared to those in Long Island. In the past year, I have seen countless instances of drivers swerving from the left lane to make a right turn, and cutting off other drivers to make a left turn from the right lane. Moreover, no one seems to have mastered the use of the turn signal. While New Jersey drivers aren’t know for their politeness, I’d still prefer them over these crazy Long Island motorists.

People

New Jersey and Long Island alike both deal with negative reputations of their populations. And to stereotype the whole population one way or another is unfair. While I’ve met some really horrible people here, most are pleasant enough. But, I will say that the Lawn Guyland accent is pretty annoying. Then again, New Jersey isn’t immune to bad accents – from the New York-influenced speakers in North Jersey and the Philadelphia-inspired vernacular of South Jersey, to the strangely southern accents of Sussex County. (FYI – hailing from Central Jersey, I speak in a perfect, non-offensive accent – or so I think…)

Stores

New Jersey and Long Island both suffer from way too many highways adorned with way too many strip malls. But what’s in those stores differs greatly. One of the biggest differences is that you can buy beer and wine ANYWHERE. All grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores have a wide selection of alcoholic beverages. The other major difference is that apparently Long Islanders can’t get enough frozen yogurt. There are at least 10 different chains and no matter where you are, there are at least three frozen yogurt shops somewhere nearby.

While this is just a basic overview, New Jersey clearly is the winner. Then again, I do have my bias – growing up in New Jersey, Long Island has always been a place of detestation. And, as I’ve learned, Long Islanders look down on the Armpit of America with the same level of abhorrence. Since neither can compete with the excitement of Manhattan or the beauty and open space of upstate New York, New Jersey and Long Island alike continue to bully each other. But there is one thing residents of both places can agree on: New Jersey and Long Island are both better than Staten Island!

 

 

5 More Songs about New Jersey

Posted February 2, 2014 by armpitnj
Categories: Music, Top 5

Tags: , , , ,

As everyone knows, the Super Bowl is being held in New Jersey tonight. For some reason, though, New York is getting all the credit as the host city, and New Jersey gets the shaft once again. Although I wish I could provide a more in-depth analysis of the big game and its repercussions on the Armpit of America, my knowledge of football and interstate economics are pretty limited. So, I’ve decided to write about something I’m only slightly less ignorant about: music.

One of the most viewed posts on this blog was this one: Top 5 Songs About New Jersey, where I shared my thoughts on some songs about the Armpit of America. (In a total coincidence, that post appeared exactly four years ago today!). I figured it was time to highlight some more songs about New Jersey. Just as in the first list, this one will not contain any Bruce Springsteen songs – those were included in a separate post, which I may revisit as well.

Enough with the introductory banter; here are five more songs about New Jersey. If you don’t like them or think there’s something I missed, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

1. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Bon Jovi.

Wow – despite my total indifference to this guy, he sure shows up a lot on this blog. Anyway, say what you want about the guy, I do respect his loyalty to New Jersey, emphasized by this bittersweet anthem to the state. Sure, he lacks the more finessed and less obvious songwriting approach that his compatriot Bruce has mastered; just consider the first verse of the song:

“I spent 20 years trying to get out of this place
I was looking for something I couldn’t replace
I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known
Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
I been there, done thatand I ain’t lookin’ back on the seeds I’ve sown,
Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone”

What takes Bon Jovi a whole flowery, metaphor-strewn paragraph to convey, Bruce can sum up in a simple, three-word phrase: born to run.

Despite my grievances, the song does fully capture the experience of longing to get out of New Jersey – and then the longing to return once you finally leave. As a recent dropout of New Jersey who still comes back home like every other weekend, I fully understand both sides of the coin.

2. “Never Going Back to Jersey” by Less Than Jake

Speaking of songs that hit me personally, this one again sums up my own (and many other New Jersey residents’) love-hate relationship with the state. Up until recently, I would have been happy to spend the rest of my days in Monmouth County. But when the opportunity to relocate out of the state arose nearly a year ago, I wasn’t too unhappy to leave – maybe even excited to finally get out. And though I can’t say I never go back to Jersey, there are times – like when the traffic on the Long Island Expressway is particularly bad – when I wish I never had to go back! Read the rest of this post »

My Hometown(s)

Posted January 20, 2014 by armpitnj
Categories: Personal

Tags: , , , , ,

The world is full of “twin cities” – two cities side by side that are essentially one. Just consider St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota, Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas, and Buda and Pest in Hungary. But, New Jersey, and more specifically, northern Monmouth County, is home to its own pair of cities forever linked together for better or worse. I’m talking about Matawan and Aberdeen, or if you prefer, Aberdeen and Matawan. Not only is/are it/they the most famous twin cities on this side of the Mississippi, but it/they is/are the town(s) in which I grew up.

Matawan Region HS

Matawan Regional High School…located in Aberdeen

I won’t bore you with the full  history of Matawan and Aberdeen, but just know that Matawan is officially known as Matawan Borough, and Aberdeen was originally called Matawan Township, until 1977 when residents voted to change the name to avoid confusion. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that the name Aberdeen was chosen so the town could appear first alphabetically of all the municipalities in the Armpit of America. Given the nature of the two towns, that is quite understandable. You see, Matawan is the older of the two and is full of history; it’s been around since the Revolutionary War and has seen a lot of action since then. Most prominent, the town was one site of the infamous shark attacks that plagued the shore in 1916. As for Aberdeen, it is the much more boring of the two, notable for absolutely nothing. Read the rest of this post »

In Defense of Chris Christie

Posted January 10, 2014 by armpitnj
Categories: politics

Tags: , , , , , , ,
chris-christie-is-on-the-cover-of-time-as-the-master-of-disaster

Don’t mind the creepy mugshot – he has to be innocent!

For the few of you that haven’t heard, Chris Christie is in some deep trouble. Apparently, he’s accused of retaliating against the mayor of Fort Lee who didn’t endorse him in the last election by having caused a traffic jam in his town back in September. But while many respectable news sources have immediately blamed the Governor, asserting that he knew about this scandal all along, I think they are rushing to point the finger. As Chris Christie is a levelheaded man of respect, who would never be so brash or arrogant, I refuse to believe that he had anything to do with this mess!

Let’s look at the facts, which fail to suggest any connection between Christie and the decision to close the ramps to the George Washington Bridge. Sure, the decision was made by his Deputy Chief of Staff, but it’s not like it was his real Chief of Staff who did it! Blaming him for what the Deputy Chief of Staff did, or trying to say that he should have known what she was up to, is ridiculous. Everyone knows the Deputy Chief of Staff is lower on the totem pole than an intern! And, of course, just because she decided to have the bridge closed, doesn’t mean that the Port Authority that manages the bridge had to do it. I mean, it takes two to tango. And sure, just because the guy in charge of the New Jersey side of the Port Authority just happened to be an old high school friend of Mr. Christie doesn’t mean anything either. What reason would he have to protect someone he’s known most of his life and actually appointed him to his job?

Read the rest of this post »


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