Friday, May 18, 2012

Pump Your Fist, But Not Your Gas

Thought for the day:  Frank Sinatra was one of New Jersey's favorite sons. So howcum one of his signature songs is  about ... New York, New York???

Atlantic City convention hall
I'm not sure why, but New Jersey is the butt of more ribbing than all the other states combined. I mean, how can anybody make fun of a place with such a wonderful nickname as the Garden State, for heaven's sake? Hmmm, maybe because everybody knows Jersey-ites are tough, can take a joke, and harbor no hard feelings? Well, maybe a little attitude. They may possibly take that joke, wad it up in a ball, and shove it up your nose, but really, no hard feelings. None at all. Unless you call the state New Joi-sey. I mean, come on, nobody in New Jersey really talks like that. Don't be such wise guys, okay?

See that convention hall up there? That's the famous hall where America's beauties strut their stuff every year for the Miss America pageant. Atlantic City's four-mile boardwalk happens to be the longest in the world, and once upon a time, Rudolph Valentino, one of Hollywood's earliest heartthrobs, actually taught tourists how to tango there. Alas, the days of boardwalk tango lessons and penny arcades are long gone, and have since been replaced by high rollers and gambling casinos. Lots of glitz and neon lights now, but you can still find good ol' boardwalk fries and salt water taffy. By the way, did you realize the streets in the game of Monopoly are named after Atlantic City's roadways?

Um okay, let's clear the air right away. I admit it. New Jersey IS the car theft capital of the world. Allegedly, more cars are stolen every year in Camden than in New York City and Los Angeles put together. And okay, so they also have more toxic dumps (108) than anywhere else in the country. But they also have some really good stuff too, okay? Like the most diners of any other state. And some really neat firsts. Like, did you know the very first drive-in in the country was in Camden? (HUSH! Has nothing to do with the car theft stuff!) Some more neat firsts: New Jersey's Passaic River is the site of the country's first submarine ride, by inventor John P. Holland. Also, in 1948, the first transistor was developed at Bell Labs in Murray Hill. You probably knew that one already, but how about this? Didja know there are more horses in New Jersey than there are in Kentucky? And that Wildwood hosts a kite flying festival every year?

What else? Let's take a look, shall we?

Ever hear of the ... Jersey Devil? This mysterious beast was first spotted as early as 1735, and in 1909, there were more than a thousand reported sightings from thirty different cities around the state. Alleged to have leathery wings like a bat, the head of a horse, a forked tail, and hooves, some scientists believe this creature may actually exist. Whether folklore or fact, it's an interesting part of New Jersey's history.

Okay, we're gonna dispose of this one real quick-like. Yes, New Jersey actually does have a Trash Museum. It's located in Lyndhurst. But before ya start pointing fingers, Connecticut  has one, too.

How about this? New Jersey has its very own castle. Originally called Belle Vista when it was built in 1892, it is now known as Lambert Castle, and belongs to the New Jersey Historical Society. Inside the castle museum rests, among other things, the largest collection of spoons in the world. Yes, spoons. More than 5400 of them.

This is the Edison National Historic Site, residence and laboratory of the Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Edison, who invented such things as the light bulb, the phonograph player, and motion picture projector. (Very thoughtful of him, huh?)

This unassuming place is Speedwell Ironworks, the site of the first public demonstration of electric telegraph in 1838, by Alfred Vail and Samuel Morse.

New Jersey is home to many important historical sites including this, the Old Barracks, which is the only remaining barracks from colonial days. Hessian troops were captured here after George Washington crossed the Delaware in 1776.

And beautiful Sandy Hook lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in the United States.

This area near Haddonsfield, New Jersey, may not look like much, but it marks the place where modern paleontology was born in 1838. This is the Hadrosaurus Foulkii Leidy Site, where Joseph Leidy discovered fossils of the world's first nearly complete hadrosaurus foulkii skeleton.

You should feel your intelligence level rise by just looking at this picture. This is the home of Albert Einstein. Located near Princeton, Einstein lived here from the time he left Germany until his death.

This Horn Antenna, located at Bell Labs in Holmdel, was used by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson to discover the microwave background radiation permeating the universe. Their discovery in 1964 earned them the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics, and led to confirmation of the Big Bang theory.

Recognize this place? It's Ellis Island, the entry point for countless immigrants over the years. Thought it was in New York, didn't ya? I did. Actually, the two states had a long-standing disagreement about it, and in 1998, a Supreme Court ruling settled the dispute once and for all by ruling that most of the island lies within the state of New Jersey.

This is something you don't see every day. Meet Lucy the Margate Elephant. Built in 1882, this six-story elephant is the country's oldest example of zoomorphic (shaped like an animal) architecture.

And this is a picture of the Cape May Historic District, which happens to be the country's oldest seaside resort.

And finally, the lovely author and New Jersey-ite Jennifer Shirk gave me the link to an article about her state's annual Doo Dah Parade. Know what this parade celebrates? Humor! It includes stuff like bed racers, a motorcycle and beach chair drill team, impersonators of comedic greats, and my personal favorite: the Basset Hound Waddle, starring more than four hundred of these sweet critters. Know what I think? Ya gotta love a state that not only knows how to take a joke ... but also celebrates humor.

And now, let's peek at some of the laws still lolling on the books in this fine state.

  • It's illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing murder. (Takes the sport out of it, I suppose.)
  • You must yield the phone line to a person in an emergency. (A sudden hankering to call one's bookie probably doesn't qualify.)
  • All motorists must honk before passing another motor vehicle, bicyclists, skater, or skateboarder. (Bet that leads to a lot of racket, not to mention a certain amount of finger-flipping.)
  • It's against the law to pump your own gas. (New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states with this still-active law on the books.)
  • It's against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season. (What? You suppose some guy needled the bass?)
  • It's illegal to frown at a police officer. (What if the officer frowns first?)
  • If you're convicted of a DUI, you may never again apply for personalized license plates. ( Might be more effective if people convicted of DUI had to buy personalized plates that began with the letters SOT.)
  • You may not slurp your soup.(Better save the slurping for your coffee.)
  • It's illegal to open a car dealership on Sundays. (Six days a week provide more than adequate time to bilk the public.)
  • Automobiles are not permitted to pass horse-drawn carriages on the street. (Not even if they honk first?)
  • It's against the law to delay or detain a homing pigeon. (After all, that little guy probably has a curfew.)
  • In Bernard's Township, you'd better wipe that frown off your face. It's been designated a frown-free zone. 
  • In Blairstown, no street-side trees may be planted that obscure the air, and it's also illegal to throw ashes on the sidewalk.
  • In Caldwell, it's illegal to dance or wear shorts on the main avenue. (Stick to the alley.)
  • In Cresskill, all cats must wear three bells to warn birds of their whereabouts. (HA! Really???)
  • In Elizabeth, women walking on Broad Street on Sundays must wear a petticoat. (Betcha some of you don't even know what that is.)
  • In Haldon, cross-dressing is illegal, and it's also against the law to annoy someone of the opposite sex. (If they're cross-dressing, how can ya tell if they're of the opposite sex or not?)
  • In Manville, it's against the law to offer whiskey or cigarettes to any of the animals in the local zoo. (I'm thinking beer and cigars. Beer and cigars.)
  • Mount Laurel laws say it's illegal to get drunk and annoy others in your house. (In your own house? Can't the annoyed people just leave?)
  • Better get a note from your doctor. That's the only way Newark vendors can sell you an ice cream after six PM. No note, no ice cream.
  • Profanity is against the law in Raritan. (How rare.)
  • In Sea Isle City, you absolutely may not boil any bones. (Well, darn. Bone soup is one of my favorites. Beats stone soup hands down.)
  • And in Trenton, it's against the law to throw a bad pickle in the streets. (Yep, you can only thrown the well-behaved ones.)
  • And pickles may not be consumed on Sundays. (Maybe you can get away with just sucking all the juices out ...)

Okay, boys and girls. It's that time again ... the time you've all been waiting for. Time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  It was the end of the school day, so I guess when this Connecticut teen doused himself with scented body spray, he was hoping for some kinda action. Well, he got action, all right, but not the kind he had in mind. Evidently, he's not a passenger on the less is more train of thought, because his misty cloud of scent triggered the fire alarm. So the action he got arrived on a firetruck. Sirens, flashing lights, the whole smoking enchilada. Actually, firefighters were quite forgiving. Called it a routine accident. I dunno. Smells like a major cover-up to me.

***  The Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa heeded the public outcry, and opened its Sex: A Tell-All Exhibition without a certain (ahem) hands-on video. The exhibit is designed with the intention of teaching youngsters about sex in a scientific, frank, and accessible manner. That video? Let's just say it depicted an animated youngster (ahem) taking matters into his own hands I guess the video just must've rubbed some people the wrong way.

***  Ever get in trouble for chewing gum in school? A bunch of Danish students were actually encouraged to chew it. For a project, an art project. Students from two art schools joined forces ... and their wads of well-chewed gum ... to create a fifteen feet tall sculpture. Let's see, most gum takes about five years to biodegrade, so it looks like this dude with his arms up in the air will be sticking around for a while. Maybe they should name it. Hmmm, Gumby's already taken. How about ... Students Chews Success?

***  Here we go, ladies, just what we've all been waiting for ... a truly cool bra. Dunno how comfy this thing is, but it's definitely cool. That's because  Japanese underwear maker Triumph Japan actually added built-in ice packs to it. Wow, huh? That's even cooler than Aeroshot Chocolate, a lipstick-sized taste of chocolate made for inhaling, a gadget designed to give all the taste without any of the calories. That particular dream-come-true item is being introduced at this week's Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, and will be available for purchase next month. Hmmm, package the bra and chocolate together, and you'd have a darn good start on a menopause survival kit.

Ooops. Somebody messed up. Some of you already got a sneak preview of next Monday's post when  it accidentally went live on Wednesday afternoon. Who's to blame? Not mentioning any names, but her initials are Susan Swiderski. Sorry about that. Hopefully, when I pulled it down, all your comments were saved, too, and will reappear when the post pops back up on Monday morning. If not, cut and paste is a very good friend.

Oh, yeah, I guess you noticed this Yammy Friday post isn't split into two parts, and you got the whole en-chihuahua, after all. That's because I'm not gonna be around for a while, so you can take as looooooong as you want to wade through this uber-long post.

                            Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. I'm sorry, but that Lambert Castle looks just plain silly; an ideal home for a spoon collection. The Speedwell Ironworks, or even Einstein's home, look much more genuine.

    I'm not going to Trenton. No pickles on Sundays? Bah, humbug!

  2. So, what's the very best thing about New Jersey?
    I was born there (no lie).
    Fortunately, my parents moved to Southern California when I was five -
    and the rest is history......

  3. I've been to Lucy the Elephant. Several years ago, my family stayed at a beach hotel just a couple towns over from Margate. When we walked into the hotel, my younger daughter, who was 2 years old at the time, spotted the brochure for Lucy in the lobby. She promptly helped herself to 7 or 10 of them and carried them to our room, where she proceeded to spread them out on the floor, saying, "Ewephant, ewephant, want to see ewephant."

    My husband and I said to each other, "I guess we're going to see the elephant."

    She's actually kind of cool.

  4. I can't say that I've had much experience with New Jersey other than the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike (which have never left pleasant memories). And I believe Newark Airport has the most passenger-related incidents of any US airport.

    Still, if Jennifer Shirk lives there, that makes it nicer. :)

  5. New Jersey is a neighboring state and I have been around long enough to remember when south Jersey really was mostly farm land. I spent many summers there as a child and it was my first introduction to the country life. Except for a few areas, it is no longer. Atlantic City was once of site of the "so yesterday" Miss America contest, but it left there years ago. I also go to the Cape May area most summers to enjoy the lovely beaches. In my early 20's, Margate was the rocking shore place to go and Lucy the Elephant was falling apart then. It is great that they restored her.

    As they say in Jersey, or Joisey, everything is beauty-ful.

  6. Great post again. There's so many things I want to comment on, I'd probably fill a whole blog post. So let me just say, I love Joisey.

  7. Built in ice packs in the bra might come in handy for those hot flashes. Those might actually sell!

  8. Cro- That castle does look a little cheesy, but at least they have a bunch of spoons on hand to eat it with.

    Jon- Oh, cool. Can you remember much about living there? Actually, there's quite a lot of things to like about Jersey. I mean, in addition to your celebrated birth. I loved Cape May and the "old" Atlantic City.

    Dianne- It's neat that you saw Lucy. I've been to NJ a bunch of times, but never saw her. Of course, I didn't have a precocious youngun around to point me in that direction, either.

    Connie- I have a funny memory about the NJ Turnpike. My father was even more directionally challenged than I am, and the first time he set out to drive us to the Pocono Mountains, he made the wrong turn onto the Turnpike about six times. Every time we approached the turn-off, he'd say, "I'm not going to New Jersey; I'm not going to New Jersey." Then he'd make the turn anyway, and with multiple expletives deleted, would yell, "We're going to New Jersey!!!" My cousin and I were laughing so hard, we were about to wet ourselves, which of course got my father over-the-top infuriated. He threatened to take us all back home and forget about going anywhere for vacation. It's a wonder we ever made it to the mountains. And you're right: having Jennifer as a resident really ups the state's prestige a notch or two.

    Arleen- Say it ain't so! Miss America in Atlantic City is "so yesterday"??? OY! Oh well. Kinda fitting. I'm pretty darned "yesterday", too. We went to Cape May when I was a toddler. I've got pictures of it, but no memories.

    Anne- You're always welcome to write as much as you want here. Glad ya like "Joisey", though. Poor place really does get a bad rap.

    L.G.- Uh-huh. There was a time I would've bought one!

  9. LOL, the cool bra is classic. That might really come in handy sometimes!

    I had no idea the Jersey Devil was an actual legend, I thought it was just the name of the hockey team! I've been to Jersey twice and enjoyed myself both times, loved going to Cape May. I definitely think the state gets a bad rap!

  10. That Jersey Devil looks a bit like a TRex with wings....maybe that hot spot of dinosaur bones has heated up. What an interesting state with its fixation with pickiles both good and bad. I'd like to see Einsteins house in person (while eating a pickle). It just ocurred to me...what on earth can the law throw at a murderer for wearing a bullet proof vest, really, it's already life in prison. Where else can you go from there? I gotta go frown at a cop.

  11. Julie- I've already got some of those neck scarves with the cooling gel in it, and they work great. So, why not a bra, too? If you do a Google search, you can find all kinds of interesting stuff about the devil, and its origins.

    Delores- I know what you mean about the bullet-proof vest. Maybe wearing one adds ANOTHER life sentence... to be served consecutively, of course. That's teach 'em.

  12. Thanks for the skinny on the Garden State. If I ever visit, I will definitley have my pic taken in front of Einstein's house!

  13. 'By the way, did you realize the streets in the game of Monopoly are named after Atlantic City's roadways?'

    I did not know that (to be spoken like Johnny Carson.)

    As for the Jersey Devil, it seems there is almost some mythic creature associated with a particular area. Down in south Texas, it's the Chupacabra!

    I was waiting to see if you might mention the extraordinary leaps made at Bell Labs on this extremely comprehensive post on the Garden State. I remember when I first read about Penzias' and Wilson's discovery, I was enthralled. It felt so much like the universe divulging deep secrets, at last!

    Have a beautiful weekend, Sus.

  14. The states are back! I love that Jersey Devil and would give anything to go visit that lighthouse...oooh the photo ops! Hope you are doing well...I am finally getting back in gear. :-) Happy weekend!

  15. Stephen- I'd like to visit Einstein's place, too. We used to give amateur radio testing on the GA Tech campus, and one of the guys always said the reason we had so many people come to take a test with us was because they knew their IQ would raise just by coming on campus. That's how I feel about Einstein.

    Suze- Oh, I had to mention some of the stuff about Bell Labs. I'm a huge fan. (My hubby's employer from 1967 until he retired.) You have a wonderful weekend, too.

  16. Tracy Jo- Love the new picture! ('Cept now, we can't see your pretty smile.) So glad you're bouncing back so quickly. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, too.

  17. That is a stunning looking castle. I like reading your posts they are ready in depth and informative.

  18. Finally Jersey!! LOL

    I actually live near Lucy the Elephant and lovely Cape May!

    And I did not know we had a castle. Learn something new everyday. I did know that diner statistic. One of the first things my hubby told me when we were dating. (He likes trivia) LOL

    And the NJ Turnpike is AWFUL but unlike other state turnpikes, NJ wasn't looking for scenery, but for the most efficient route to the other states. (Learned that in a book about the turnpike) LOL

  19. Shaun- Thank you, kind sir. I'll bet you could take a fabulous shot of that castle. (Not that you need to come to THIS country to find castles!)

    Jennifer- I reckon you'll have to visit the castle and check out that spoon collection. My father absolutely hated the NJ turnpike, but it wasn't the road's fault that he was so lousy at finding his way around.

  20. I think I know the Jersey accent as I've been watching This Old House (love that show) and one of the guys talks like that. It always makes us laugh as it seems to be rubbing off on Roz.

    We have THAT in Ottawa? Good grief.

    Thanks for another stellar Friday post!

  21. I thought Murry Hill was a neighbourhood in mid-town Manhattan. The Bell lab was in NJ near Secaucus I think, never heard it called Murry Hill though.
    Anyway, this was a very interesting, thoroughly entertaining and somewhat humorous (Raritan/rare - get it?)article.
    Sinatra also sang "Chicago" I think. He was from Hoboken, they had a clam house there years ago where you could get free clam broth from a big barrel.
    Enjoyed this a lot, Thanks.

  22. Wow, so much stuff I never knew. Einstein's house is beautiful. And Ellis Island, I did think that was in NY. Are from NJ? My daughter lived in NJ for a while, and she did get pulled over for talking on her cell phone. She was new to the state, didn't know the law, and the cop let her off. I think that's a great law, actually. Such an educational post!

  23. There are so many fun facts in this post, I don't know where to start. I appreciate it all and your pride in Jersey. The law against knitting during fishing season - that's pretty funny. I can't imagine that a cop has ever need to cite a man for that one.


  24. Ah New Jersey or over here in England, we have the County of 'Old Jumper', but that's another story.
    Almost seriously, you sure cover a lot of facts and interesting info on New Jersey. Is it true that um business is picking up at the Trash Museum?
    And a castle? Wow, that's well neat and demonstration of the diversity of the State.
    Am I allowed to mention the Stanley Cup play off series between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils....
    An excellent read, Susan. Thanks and may you have a lovely weekend.
    In kindness, Gary

  25. I've been there. A lot. I applaud the anti-pickle laws.


  26. Carrie- Roz speaking with a New Jersey accent would be as funny as when our younger son was growing up. For a while, he picked up a very heavy Southern accent from his best buddy. Nothing like hearing a kid named Swiderski call our parents Gra-uh-ma and Gra-uh-pa. Totally cracked us up. And yep, that exhibit is right there in Ottawa. Pretty darned racy, too, according to the articles I read about it. (They also have an amateur radio station at that museum. I spoke to some of the folks there quite a few times.)

    Anthony- It's possible that there's an area near Manhattan with the same name, but there's definitely a Murray Hill in Jersey. My husband worked at the Bell Labs there in '67. And there were (and still are) numerous Labs sites in New Jersey. Oooh, free clam broth from a barrel. Now, THAT sounds intriguing. (Bet they aren't allowed to do that anymore.)

    Mare- Yeah, I always associated Ellis Island with New York, too. Didn't find out otherwise until I started doing research for this post. No, I'm not from New Jersey. I've just been doing a post about each of the states (in alphabetical order) and it was Jersey's turn.

    Rawknrobin- Glad you enjoyed it. New Jersey isn't actually "my" state, but since I've been doing these blogs about the various states, I've found a lot to be proud about in all of them. Yeah, that knitting law is pretty funny. Kinda makes you wonder what it the world happened to make the legislators ever pass a law like that.

    Gary- HA! I'm sure business is "picking up"! Sure you can mention the play-off series. (I live near Atlanta, so I've got no dog in that race.) As for the castle, it's neat, but it doesn't even compare with the ones you can see there in Europe. You have yourself a lovely weekend, too.

    Janie- For shame. I had no idea you were a pickle bigot. Happy weekend, kiddo.

  27. Wait. Ellis Island is in NJ?? I did not know that. Always thought it was in NY.

    And those bras? I am speechless.

  28. Another wonderful Yammy Friday! The best thing about New Joisey when I was growing up in the Big Apple was Palisades Amusement Park. Gone now, but not fogotten. And oh yes, our Stevil is from there, of course. Can't be bad if he came from it. I noticed in my last years down there that the Brooklyn accent had migrated to Bayonne!

  29. Liz- Yeah, I always thought Ellis Island was in New York, too. (Evidently, so did most of the people who live in New York!)

    Laura- Hi-ya. I was afraid you were gonna miss "your" post here. (I figured you were probably somewhat familiar with Jersey.)

  30. Wow! Who knew Jersey had so many interesting places? And that bra could really come in handy this summer.

  31. Linda- As warm as it's already been in Georgia this year, I could use one of those puppies right NOW!

  32. Loads of things to educate and amuse in this post. Thanks, Susan.

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  34. Thanks for the visit to a state that is often overlooked. My granddaughter went to Stephens University in NJ, and she enjoyed her years there.

  35. Dream it- You're welcome. Thank YOU for stopping by. Glad you found loads of stuff here. (I've been told I'm "full of it", so there's always a spare load to spread around...)

    Maryann- I'm glad your daughter enjoyed her years in Jersey. There's a lot of neat things about the state.

  36. The cool bra should have fish in it :D

  37. Hi Susan .. you have packed lots in here .. and so many inventors lived there. Then Ellis Island - I hadn't known its location .. but if it's mostly in NJ and not NY then I can place it.

    Well you've highlighted lots for me to think about should I ever visit NJ .. actually the board walk I'd like to visit one day ..

    Have a good break .. and see you soon .. cheers Hilary

  38. Lady- Actually, if you look at it closely, it DOES have fake fish in it. (Oh ... you wanted live ones???)

    Hilary- Don't feel badly about Ellis Island; I have a feeling most Americans don't even realize it's mostly in New Jersey. Thanks for the good wishes. I am definitely enjoying my break. See y'all soon.