Well We’re Living Here in Allentown (New Jersey, not Pennsylvania)

Posted December 19, 2018 by armpitnj
Categories: Allentown, Best of NJ

Tags: , , ,

A few months ago, we bought a house in Allentown. No, not the Allentown in Pennsylvania made famous by coal and Billy Joel, but the one in New Jersey. Never heard of it? You’re not alone.

Like when I told people at work I was moving to Allentown, the response by many was, “Woah, that’s gonna be one hell of a commute!” To which I’d respond, “No, not Allentown, Pennsylvania – Allentown, New Jersey.” I soon realized it was better to preempt such a response by saying “Allentown…New Jersey, not Pennsylvania” and avoiding the confusion. Only, it would lead people to say, “I didn’t know there was an Allentown in New Jersey.”

Allentown

For the many who are unfamiliar, Allentown is home to just over 1,800 people. It’s located at the northwest corner of Monmouth County, and very close to the borders of no less than four other counties: Mercer, Middlesex, Burlington, and Ocean. While it may seem like the geographic center of the Armpit of America, it’s actually 14 miles from that spot. But close enough.

Though located right off the Turnpike (Exit 7A) and very close to the large town of Hamilton, Allentown feels like a world apart from the rest of the state. It’s surrounded by woods, farmland, and creeks. One of the main roads to get out of town is literally a gravel path passing over each of those landscapes.

I also have to highlight Allentown’s Main Street, which looks like something from the past – all local businesses and not a single chain. No Starbucks, no McDonald’s, no Dunkin’ Donuts, no CVS. Given that the town was founded in 1706, historical buildings are all over the place, including an old church that now serves as the town library, and the old mill building, which currently houses a coffee shop and other boutique stores.

There’s also some unique attractions in town, like the combination bicycle/chocolate shop (for real), or the Pork Roll Store – a butcher shop specializing in New Jersey’s favorite spiced pork product. Incidentally, I wrote about this place way back in 2010 after seeing one of their vans on the road. Never would have imagined I’d be living up the street from it eight years later.

What’s also great about Allentown is that it’s near several other attractions that I either never knew existed, or never bothered to visit. For instance, there’s an Amish market (run by real Amish people!) in the town of Columbus. There’s the oddly named Assunpink Wildlife Management Area complete with a lake and gun/archery range. It’s also close to the Pine Barrens, home of the Jersey Devil…and pineys. And let’s not forget about Roosevelt, probably the weirdest town in New Jersey.

Given the small town charm, surrounding farmland, gun range, and even Amish people , this Allentown seems a hell of a lot more Pennsylvania-ish than the real one.

All told, I couldn’t be happier in my new town. But since nothing is in life is perfect, I’ll share my one complaint. Being close to the border with South Jersey, there’s one item on pizza shop menus and the like that irks me to no end. I hate to say it, but I’m now officially living in hoagie country…

 

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Central Jersey – It Does Exist!

Posted June 25, 2018 by armpitnj
Categories: Food, NJ Personalities

Tags: , ,

I am proud to be a resident of Central Jersey, the middle stretch of the Armpit of America. Though some would say it doesn’t even exist, that’s a bunch of nonsense. Not only is it real, it’s the best part of the state.

For one, people here don’t have accents. Many of those in North Jersey have obnoxious New York accents. And many in South Jersey have different, but no less obnoxious, Philadelphia accents. And in the more rural parts of both the North and South, people have traditional Southern accents somehow. But in Central Jersey, there’s no such thing. We say our words how they’re meant to be pronounced. No “New Yawk Pawt Authawrity” as they say in the North, and no “hooome” or “phooooone” as you might hear in the Southern part of the state.

map-nj

Key to Map: Green = Central Jersey. Not Green = Not Central Jersey.

As our brethren to the North and South continue to debate about the right words for certain things, Central Jersey often casts the impartial deciding vote. When it comes to the “subs” of the North vs. the  “hoagies” of the South, we’re Team North all the way. (After all, “hoagie” is the most revolting word in the English language and should never be associated with food). Speaking of revolting food, we’re Team South on the “pork roll” vs. “Taylor ham” debate, calling it pork roll. (Although, “tailored ham” would be a more accurate name for New Jersey’s favorite mystery meat product.)

One question that always gets brought up when discussing this subject: where is Central Jersey? In my perspective, Central Jersey is made up of all of Monmouth and Mercer Counties, the southern portions of Middlesex and Somerset Counties, and the northern part of Ocean County. And maybe we can throw in some other parts of the bordering counties, as long as they swear off their annoying habits.

The great debate about the central part of our state was recently given national attention on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The host sat down with Phil Murphy, our state’s new governor and Central Jersey resident. Like any politician, he tried not to take sides, referring to “Taylor pork,” and refusing to weigh in on the sub/hoagie thing. But it was still an entertaining interview, like when Colbert asks Murphy what town he’s from, and consistent with his middle-of-the-road approach to the interview, he responds albeit truthfully, with: “Middletown.” Then Colbert asks if Central Jersey is a mystical place like Narnia. I’d say it’s more Middle Earth – that would have been the perfect answer.

The one thing I don’t like about the video is the part with Jon Stewart at the end. Yes, he’s from Central Jersey as well, but I just don’t understand why the former host of a show on Comedy Central is venerated as a god by so many. Sure, he gave Colbert his start and all that, but if you really wanted someone to weigh in on the subject, it would have been much better to get a Central Jersey resident worthy of more respect and admiration. Like how great would it have been if instead of that bullshit with Jon Stewart as the Supreme Chief Justice of New Jersey, they had Phil Murphy say, “Let me check with the boss” – and there’s Bruce himself to declare that Central Jersey really exists.

Instead, the segment ends with Stewart sitting in a diner eating a sad-looking sub (not hoagie), and I can’t help but think what an egregious mistake that was. No matter where in New Jersey you’re from, whether North, Central, or South, left or right, up or down, one thing every resident of New Jersey can agree on is that you don’t get subs at diners. You get them from a Mom and Pop sub shop in a strip mall, or from a reputable local chain, like the appropriately named Jersey Mike’s. Or if you’re in a pinch, you get an inferior sub at Wawa for no other reason than the joy of pressing the buttons on the screen.

Bottom line, yes Central Jersey exists — and I think we should banish Jon Stewart from it.

 

Tracking Down a Lost Sitcom About the Jersey Shore

Posted February 4, 2018 by armpitnj
Categories: Belmar, Jersey Shore

Tags: , , ,

The 1990s were such a magical time in which to grow up, so different from today. We had a lying, womanizing scumbag for a president. People drank novelty beverages like Crystal Pepsi and Zima. We watched amazing shows like Full House, Roseanne, and Murphy Brown. Well I guess things really aren’t that different after all.

In reminiscing about all those shows from my childhood that have come back from the dead, there is one show that has been sticking out in my mind for a while. Only, I wasn’t sure if the show was ever alive.

Let me explain.

I don’t know why, but in the last couple of years, I’ve had this vague memory of a certain sitcom popping up in my mind. It was about a bunch of young adults living in a beach house in Belmar. My only memories of this show are 1) that it existed, and 2) recalling one scene in which the roommates are trying to bring a refrigerator upstairs. Read the rest of this post »

Goodbye, Chris Christie!

Posted January 16, 2018 by armpitnj
Categories: politics

Tags: , , , ,

As of noon today, January 16, 2018, Chris Christie is no longer the Governor of the Armpit of America. What a relief! Though immensely popular at the start of his tenure, he’s leaving office in shame after eight incredibly long years. With a 14% approval rating, he has the distinction of being the least popular governor in New Jersey’s history.

While I’m happy to see him go, like many people, I’ll miss making fun of him (which I’ve done plenty of times). So in honor of his last day, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of his time leading New Jersey.

Like that whole Bridgegate thing:

Bridgegate

And who can forget about Beachgate?

Beachgate

And that time he sold his soul to the devil himself:

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Exclusive Interview with Ceres (One of the Women from the NJ Flag!)

Posted December 10, 2017 by armpitnj
Categories: NJ Personalities

Tags: , , ,

Proud to say that I scored an interview with a real New Jersey goddess! No, not Snooki, but Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. She’s lived quite a crazy life – being eaten by her father, getting impregnated by her brother, losing her daughter to the god of the underworld, etc. And since 1777, she’s stood stoically on the New Jersey state flag, the red-robed figure on the right holding the giant cornucopia.

New_Jersey_State_Flag.svg

In this wide ranging interview, Ceres shares her experiences as a deity, her views on state politics and even her favorite Jersey Shore cast member. I think you’ll find her just as smart, sweet and surprisingly sassy as I did.

ArmpitNJ: So, Ceres, first of all, I speak on behalf of the entire state of New Jersey in thanking you for watching over us and providing our agricultural riches.

Ceres: It truly is my pleasure.

ArmpitNJ: Great, now that the formalities are out of the way, let me ask the big question: how does someone go from being worshiped among the pantheon of Roman gods, to standing next to a decapitated horse’s head on a flag of a state known as the Armpit of America?

Ceres: And like your career is any better?

ArmpitNJ: Ouch. Well I see the Jersey attitude has certainly rubbed off on you! But please just answer my question.

Ceres: I wish I could tell you. One day, millions of peasants from across the Roman Empire are sacrificing animals in my name, and a couple millennia later, I find myself on the flag. Not that I’m complaining – I should be happy people still know me and appreciate me. It could be far worse. My brother Neptune is stuck on countless neon signs promoting all-you-can-eat seafood buffets. Read the rest of this post »

A Trumpian World Atlas

Posted October 1, 2017 by armpitnj
Categories: politics, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Atlas - 2

As we all know, our glorious leader was busy spending his weekend playing golf in the Armpit of America, rather than focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. That’s not to say he totally ignored the hurricane-devastated island, though – after all, in between holes, he took the time to insult the mayor of San Juan for trying to get her government’s help.

To be fair, I think we can all assume Trump simply didn’t know that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. But at least he knows it’s an island! That’s right, just like some second-grader who just learned what an island is, our glorious leader enlightened the world with this quote when speaking about Puerto Rico:

“This is an island surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water.”

Yes, he literally said that. The best words indeed! Anyway, it got me thinking how he would describe other geographical features. Fortunately, I happen to be in possession of the elusive Rand McTrumpy World Atlas, and I’m happy to share some entries from it!

peninsula

 

Peninsula: “Most people think a peninsula is an island. I know the fake news media want you to think it’s an island. But a peninsula is a piece of land surrounded by water on many sides. Many sides. Not on all sides, mind you. But many, many sides.”

 

isthmus

 

Isthmus: “An isthmus – hard to pronounce, I know – is a thin piece of land connecting two bigger pieces of land. Kind of like how my daughter Ivanka has a perfect isthmus of flesh connecting her beautiful chest to her nice hips. She has perfect hips.”


IMG_2172

Black Sea: “I have a great relationship with the Black Sea. But let’s face it. It’s full of thugs. Maybe not as many thugs as there are in Chicago. But still a lot. In fact, it’s so full of thugs that the whitefish don’t even want to swim there anymore.”

 

 

glacier

 

Glacier: “A cold, slow-moving mass of ice and dirt that leaves a path of destruction as it cuts through the land. Kind of like Rosie O’Donnell at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Only much nicer to look at – believe me!”

 

 

Sout America

 

South America: “All of the states in the southern U.S. that voted for Trump. Of course, the Democrats and the dishonest media don’t like to talk about this, but did you know I won Alabama by 28 points? And Florida. Very, very hard for a Republican to win Florida. But I won it.”

 

 

So Chris Christie Went to the Beach…

Posted July 4, 2017 by armpitnj
Categories: Jersey Shore, MTV's "Jersey Shore", politics

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Oh, Chris Christie. How the mighty have fallen. At one time he was celebrated for being a Republican twice elected governor of a blue state and considered a shoe-in to be the GOP presidential nominee. Then, that whole plan of his to close the George Washington bridge to punish a mayor who didn’t support him comes to light. Then, he finds that whatever appeal he once had in the Armpit of America didn’t extend beyond the state, resulting in his dismal performance in the primaries. Then, he drops out and awkwardly supports the eventual President, hoping to be appointed Vice President, Attorney General or even Secretary of Transportation (he does know a lot about bridges, after all). But none of that happened – he still remains governor of New Jersey.

Obviously growing bored and disillusioned with that job, Christie has mentally checked out. And that may explain his clear lack of judgment in the whole “let me close the state-run beaches to everyone but myself on the busiest weekend of the summer” thing. While you may point fingers at Christie or the Democratic-led legislature for the budget stalemate that led to the state shutdown, the real reason for the beach closures has nothing to do with that.

Apparently, Christie is terrified about his future. Rightfully so; who would hire a washed up governor with a historically dismal 15% approval rating once his term is over in January? So he tried to secure whatever job he could, tapping whatever resources he could find. And the solution? Well, you can say goodbye to Chris Christie the politician, and give a warm welcome to Kris Kristie, the newest reality TV star!

Kris Kristie

Kris Kristie – because apparently you need the initials “K.K.” to be famous these days.

That’s right, in a recently inked deal with MTV, a rebranded Chris Christie and his family will star in a show about a bunch of rich, spoiled people who live at the beach and cause all kind of ruckus for their small Jersey Shore town. If that sounds familiar and like something that’s been done before, you’re absolutely right – this is MTV after all.

So anyway, the whole thing about closing the beaches had nothing to do with the state budget – they were actually filming the pilot and needed a closed set. Oh, and in case you were wondering what this show will be called, it’s name is “Son of a Beach.” As if there was any other option.

Son of a Beach

His version of GTL? Grift, tax and [money] laundering.