Got a snappy slogan? New Jersey needs one

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N.J.: Take our slogan . . . please

For New Jersey fans (and who isn't?), this will sound familiar: New Jersey is looking for a slogan. It was looking for one last year, too, when Richard Codey, acting governor at the time, said the incumbent slogan -- "New Jersey: We'll Win You Over" -- reminded him of his painful teenaged days trying to pick up girls. In the background was a history of bad slogans -- "New Jersey and You, Perfect Together" (a nod to Jimmy Hoffa) and "New Jersey, You Should See Us Now" (which never addressed the question, Why?).

So the state, in a misguided foray into democracy, decided to turn it over to the public with a contest -- the same dubious process that gave Pennsylvania the better-left-unused yawner, "State of independence." The winner, from a guy from Passaic, was (Bada-bing!): "Come See It for Yourself." Yes, indeed, that was the winner. And life in New Jersey, as we know it -- tolls taken, bodies buried, malls malled -- went on.

Then last month, a reporter for The Press of Atlantic City noticed that the slogan was missing from tourist brochures and television ads. Sorry about that, the tourist commission responded, but, ya see, West Virginia had already used that slogan. So it had been quietly scrapped. But it turned out West Virginia had no idea what Jersey was talking about. "We've never used that slogan," Caryn Gresham, a West Virginia tourist official, told Jeff Edelstein of the Trentonian, who thinks Jersey may be using the West Virginia ruse to dump a lame slogan. Meanwhile, there appears to be little danger of New Jersey lifting West Virginia's "Wild and Wonderful."

Helpful analysis

James Hilston, Post-Gazette
Click illustration for larger image.
From the AP

New Jersey "is in major need of an identity; I would call it an identity crisis," Sharla Feldscher, a Philadelphia-based public relations exec told the Gloucester County (N.J.) Times.

Another Pennsylvanian -- and we should talk -- Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau President Paul Deckert had this to say on the contest approach: "I think it is the worse way to pick a slogan. If you have a beauty contest and 12 ugly people show up, you still have to pick a winner."

Amy Poehler, "Saturday Night Live": "New Jersey has abandoned its slogan, 'Come See It for Yourself,' after it was revealed that other states have used it. This doesn't bode well for New Jersey's newest slogan, 'I Love New York.'"

The wags weigh in

Suggested slogans,

"New Jersey: It Only Stinks Between Exits 13 through 16."

"Why Should Death End Your Voting Rights?"

"50,000 Mobsters Can't Be Wrong."

"Come Bask in Our Hospitality or We'll #%*&ing Kill Ya."

"New Jersey Is to Die For."

Other lame actual state slogans

California: Find Yourself Here

Colorado: Enter a Higher State

Delaware: It's Good Being First

Illinois: Mile After Magnificent Mile

Indiana: Restart Your Engines

Kansas: As Big as You Think

North Dakota: Legendary

Oregon: We Love Dreamers

Rhode Island: Unwind

Tennessee: The Stage Is Set for You

Utah: Life Elevated

Washington: Say WA!


Made-up state slogans

California: As Seen on TV

Delaware: Wow, You're in Delaware

Indiana: 50 Million Years Tidal Wave-Free

Kansas: First of the Rectangle States

Massachusetts: Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden's (For Most Tax Brackets)

Michigan: First Line of Defense From Canada

Mississippi: Come Feel Better About Your State

Nebraska: Ask About Our State Motto Contest

New Hampshire: Go Away and Leave Us Alone

New York: You Have the Right to Remain Silent

North Carolina: Tobacco Is a Vegetable

North Dakota: Um... We've Got... Dinosaur Bones? Yeah, Dinosaur Bones!

Rhode Island: We're Not Really an Island

South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota

From many Internet humor sites.

Two guys named Guy

Last week, Guy Kewney, a computer expert, was in a BBC television studio in London to discuss a court ruling on the Beatles' Apple Corp. v. Apple Computer trademark fight. As he watched the news in the waiting room, he was amazed to see the name "Guy Kewney" appear on the screen. Unlike the white, bearded technology columnist, this "Guy Kewney" was black and had a French accent. Here's how the interview went:

BBC: "Hello, good morning to you."

Guy: "Good morning."

BBC: "Were you surprised by this verdict today?"

Guy: "I am very surprised to see this verdict to come on me because I was not expecting that. When I came they told me something else and I am coming. So a big surprise anyway."

BBC: "A big surprise, yeah, yes."

Guy: "Exactly."

Illuminating, to be sure. But the BBC thought it wise to switch immediately to another story. It was first reported that the wrong Guy, Guy Goma, was a cab driver waiting to pick up the real Guy. But it turns out Guy Goma wasn't a cabbie but an economist, who was there for an interview all right-- for a job as a staff accountant. It seems a producer went to get the "expert" from the wrong waiting room. And to Mr. Goma, an interview was an interview. He called his appearance "very stressful" and wondered why the questions didn't pertain to the job he applied for. (No word on whether he'll get it.) Mr. Goma did say he was prepared to return to the airwaves and would be "happy to speak about any situation."

Perhaps he'd be up for creating a slogan for New Jersey.

Boston demands a recount

A recent study ranked Boston fifth worst city in America for road rage, behind Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix. The Boston Herald quickly rose to defend Beantown's hard-earned reputation as home to the world's worst drivers. "We really are No. 1," school teacher Jonathan Mihal told the newspaper. "It's just that they're so afraid to (bleep) off Boston drivers, they put us at No. 5." The survey, by Norwalk, Conn.-based AutoVantage, polled drivers in 20 cities, Pittsburgh fortunately not among them.

Drivers in Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis and Seattle were said to be the kindest. In finishing a surprising worst, Miami drivers were deemed the most likely to run red lights, tailgate, cut into other lanes, slam on their brakes at the last minute and "steal" parking spots. Larry Lebowitz, the Miami Herald's transportation columnist, thinks his multicultural city took top honors because "we have bad drivers who can drive badly in many languages." But the former New Englander conceded that Boston "is still a great place to drive bad."

Piano mystery solved, maybe

It was probably Kenny after all, just as we suspected. Yesterday's opus on the piano discovered on the summit of Scotland's Ben Nevis identified Kenny Campbell, who has a history of lugging heavy objects up the mountain, as a prime suspect. Yesterday, he told The Scotsman that the "piano" was probably a 226-pound organ he carried single-handedly to the top and played "Scotland the Brave" on in 1971. That was after he pushed a piano 1,000 feet up the mountain before it dragged him over a ledge. The former Highland Games athlete is planning a new stunt for his 65th birthday this year. If Kenny insists on pursuing the musical theme, we suggest an oboe.

Asterisk for Aussies

Tuesday's Morning File made note of Australia's impressive 95 percent voting record. It turns out the Aussies have an incentive in the form of a fine, the equivalent of $150, if they fail to vote. Some insight from our house Aussie, columnist Reg Henry: "In my experience, now more than 30 years ago, it was easy to get out of, however. Someone would call to inquire whether you voted, and you would say, 'I was crook (sick),' And they would say, 'OK, mate.' It is possible that it is more stringent now."

Contact us at , 412-263-1112 or Portfolio, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.


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