Friday, December 24, 2010

Where people go to find America, Ctd.

This story is what I think of when I think of New Jersey, and by extension, America. It concerns bars filled with friendly individuals, good beer, cheer, and the absolute lack of stereotypes. It's a place where you can find cops, ironworkers, regular drunks, and college students home from break clustered around TVs at a bar silently watching The Wizard of Oz.

Sitting around a cozy New Jersey bar counter is nothing like going out in New York — it’s almost like sitting around the kitchen table. You come as you are and stay as long as you like. And conversation, if you’re inclined to have it, can be easily had, whether or not you know the person sitting next to you. The first word New Jersey brings to mind is “regular,” not in a bored-to-death suburban way, but as high praise regarding a person’s temperament.

“The New Jersey character — at least this part of Jersey — is straightforward, plain-spoken to the point of bluntness, though not at all unfriendly,” the poet August Kleinzahler wrote in his essay “East/West Variations.” “The humor is deadpan, ironical, playfully deprecating. It’s a beer-and-a-bump kind of place. Affectation is quickly and viscerally registered.”

The article closes with a cheery, heart-warming, twinkly story that makes me go all teary-eyed. Because in NJ, it doesn't matter who you are- you get the same rough and tumble treatment as everyone else, but its all affectionate, like a strong bear hug.

I never caught the (also Irish) bartender’s name, but even before he’d poured my first glass of wine, I felt as if we’d established a bond.

“I know a girl who can do it with her mouth,” he said, gesturing to the bottle, which he had just uncorked the old-fashioned way. He paused for a moment, reflecting on the intimate nature of his disclosure. Then he grinned.

“That’s kind of rude; you’ve not even had your first drink. But it’s not like you’ve never been here before. You know how we roll.”

I’ve never met that girl. But I bet she’s a regular.

I bet she is too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sage Words

Some really, really good words from Conor Friederdsorf at The Atlantic (my boldings, his italicizings):

One thing that would improve all human relationships is if everyone understood that when someone else says or does or fails to do something, they have their own reasons, shaped by their distinct approach to life. When they do x, it doesn't necessarily mean or imply the same thing as it would if you did x.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I Am Thankful For

What am I thankful for? Where do Simon & Garfunkel go to look for America??

That's right. The New Jersey fuckin' Turnpike. Damn Right.

Go to 2:32. That's what I'm saying.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Word

schadenfavre: the emotional state of feeling an intense, devilish, and slightly malicious pleasure at finally, finally seeing Brett Favre's career end, whether it be through injury or a horribly disappointing season.

Bring on the schadenfavre!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Words

Perfidiot (noun) : deceitful and untrustworthy idiot. One who lies or is mendacious, but does a poor job of it, either in concealing their scheming or in carrying it out.

Perfidiotic (adjective) : being like a perfidiot, bearing the characteristics of a perfidiot.

The Pope And The Male HIV-Positive Prostitute, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan asks us to make sense of the Pope's gaffe regarding homosexual, HIV positive sex and condom use. I oblige.

The thing here is that the Church commits itself to acting in a Kantian way – by taking a categorical imperative, a moral imperative, and following it to the T. Within Kant, we are faced with this situation: Kant harbors a friend who has a killer chasing him. When the killer comes to the door and inquires about the location of Kant’s friend, Kant, who has placed a moral prohibition on lying, is required to tell the killer the truth – namely that he is sheltering his friend, even if this results in his friend’s death – because of the absolute prohibition on lying. The Church acts in an identical manner when it comes to condoms and homosexual sex.

Now, it’s hard not to see the ‘Killer at the door’ situation and say, “Hey, there’s something not right here.” And that is what the Pope did, with regards to condoms and homosexual, HIV positive sex. The Pope mentioned a case that makes common sense, a case that is so purely obvious – and a case that, under the Church’s guidelines and Kantian-type morality, is still morally wrong.

There is no room for common sense or compassion when it comes to this Church’s moralities. There is no nuance and there are no exceptions. And there are no ‘less evil’ or ‘less immoral’ acts. Things are black and white, either moral or immoral And in my opinion, for the Church to maintain any moral relevancy, it will need to start viewing the world a little more grayly.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010


What Would New Jersey Do? Alec Slater explains:


1. find out what you want and then figure out a way to make a cut off getting that thing to you.

2. offer no apologies for anything

3. make sure you know it's in the room and know where it's from.

4. Make woman out of her.

5. make a man out of you.

6. make many promises of which it will keep only a few

7. rock you