Tag Archives: Jersey shore

Friday Random 10: Jersey Shore Edition

Last night marked the debut of one of the television season’s most anticipated shows, the regrettable “Jersey Shore” on MTV. Basically the premise of this show is to follow a group of the stupidest guidos on the planet as they dog-paddle through their shallow existence at a certain outpost in New Jersey — official maligned home state of Pax Arcana.

I did not see the premiere episode last night, but I checked up with Gawker’s live-blog-in-the-comments to get an appraisal of the event. I got as far as this:


Some critics say “Jersey Shore” is anti-Italian, since it glorifies the worst stereotypes of young Italian-American culture. I partly agree, since I know several meatball slurpers — our own Perry Ellis is one! — who do not ritualistically cruise around with spiked hair and oversized sunglasses and punch girls in the fucking face. On the other hand, holy SHIT you should have seen my high school. Just filled with knuckledragging ziti weiners like this. Christ almighty, I’ll take a pugnacious newsboy hat-wearing Boston mook moron any day of the week over these greasy bastards. No offense, Perry.

The songs:

Walls in Time — Bob Mould
Two Times Blue — Debbie Harry
Fame Throwa — Pavement
One PM Again — Yo La Tengo
Pink Turns To Blue — Husker Du
Get Older — Dan Deacon
XMas Curtain — My Morning Jacket
Lucifer’s Jigsaw — Jaydiohead
Baltimore — Steven Malkmus and the Jicks
Big Love — Broken Social Scene Presents… Kevin Drew

Bonus Video:

Fake Empire / It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop — Frightened Rabbit

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


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Dolphins agree: New Jersey is awesome

Pax Arcana

A few months ago, we wrote about a group of bottlenose dolphins who had sought refuge in the rivers of New Jersey to escape the clutches of underwater zombies.

The AP reports those dolphins must have liked what they saw, because they ain’t leaving. And animal rescue types are getting nervous that they may turn into dolphinsicles if they don’t get back out to the ocean pronto:

Animal advocates have wanted for months to coax or shoo the animals back out to sea, citing several previous instances in which dolphins took a wrong turn, ended up in the river and died when weather got too cold.

They worry that waiting too long could invite a replay of a scenario that resulted in the deaths of four dolphins that lingered in the river in 1993. Ice eventually closed in on them and they drowned.

Researchers are also concerned that spending too much time at the Jersey Shore could cause the dolphins to devolve into a more primitive species, such as the guido dolphin:


Scientists aren’t sure why the dolphins haven’t left the rivers yet, but think it may have something to do with what they’re hearing. They suspect that noises from a nearby bridge project may be scaring the dolphins away from heading in the direction of the ocean.

In a related story, one underwater zombie said “BB(burble)RRRAAAAIA(burble)AAIIIINNSSS!!”

And of course we’d be breaking tradition at this point if we didn’t post this:


The Brotherhood of the Flying Shark Vikings is here to protect you, my dolphin friends! Swim for the ocean!!

Underwater recordings may hold clues to why wayward dolphins stay in 2 New Jersey rivers [AP]

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Good Morning

Pax Arcana

Or at least we’d be led to believe it is…

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Modern Jackass: Ocean Temperatures

Pax Arcana

The popular public radio show This American Life had a great segment recently in which the practice of two or more people discussing a subject with an air of authority that far outstrips the actual knowledge contained in the discussion is known as “writing for Modern Jackass magazine.” This is not only a clever and funny description for a phenomenon we’ve all experienced, but a great idea for yet another recurring segment on Pax Arcana. We’ll see if this one fares better than any of the others. Those wishing to write their own articles for Modern Jackass need simply to choose a topic and hold forth.

Just after breakfast this morning, I took a dip in the water off Beach Haven, New Jersey. The water felt cold as I waded in. Much colder than yesterday, which was already much colder than the previous day.

This provoked a question — how can the temperature of the ocean vary so much from one day to the next? After all, the ocean itself contains more than 62 trillion gallons of water, making it very difficult to raise or lower the temperature without a massive influx or reduction of heat energy.

The answer can be found in tidal patterns. As the tides wax and wane, tidal shifts occur under the surface, sending water from the colder depths of the ocean to the shallow surf closer to shore. This process is known, I believe, as oceanic subduction.

A curious side effect of oceanic subduction is that it also changes the salination of the water itself. You may have noticed that the relative salty taste of ocean water seems to change from day to day. This is because as the phenomenon of oceanic subduction moves water from deep ocean zones to shallower ones, the water loses salination. The reason deeper water is less salty than shallow water has everything to do with barometric pressure and is probably best explained in a separate article.


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Blue Moon Rising

Pax Arcana

It’s day 3 at the Jersey shore and my hunt for Guido Beach has proved fruitless. I did, however, stumble across this liverwurst, ham, Lebanon bologna, Swiss cheese, pickle, and Jersey tomato sandwich.


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Dispatch from the Jersey Shore: The Moon Also Rises

Pax Arcana


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Friday Random 10: The Sun Always Rises Edition

Pax Arcana

It’s been a brutal week for Pax Arcana, as I tried desperately to cram four weeks of work into two before taking a week off. That explains both the lack of posting and the relative incoherence of content.

But tomorrow morning, I’ll be waking up to this — sunrise at the Jersey Shore:

Which makes it all worthwhile.

Anyway, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, you’ll know why. Of course I said the same thing last year and ended up posting like three times a day. Something about fresh local tomatoes and flounder gets the creative juices flowing.

Oh yeah, and Scotch. Lots of it.

Onto the songs:

Bop Gun — Parliament
Where Fugees At? — Wyclef
Bargain — The Who (Live in San Francisco, 1971)
Broken Drum — Beck
The Ballad of Love and Hate — The Avett Brothers
Johnny Viola — Shearwater
Souled Out!!! — Conor Oberst
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg — The Temptations
I Don’t Know For Sure — Hüsker Dü
Fast Blood — Frightened Rabbit

Bonus Video:

Waving Flags — British Sea Power, Live at Later…

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


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Guido Beach

Pax Arcana

The countdown to the Pax Arcana Jersey Shore vacation continues with a anthropological expedition to Guido Beach. We’ll do our own surveillance.

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Why Jersey tomatoes are so awesome

Pax Arcana

As the summer churns toward its slow and sticky demise, the minds of the extended Pax familias drift ever more toward the best week of the year.

I’m speaking of the annual group sojourn to the Jersey shore — 127 miles of coastline where the salt water heals your wounds, the smell grilling pork roll eases your nerves, and the Jersey tomatoes are as sweet as candy.

Speaking of Jersey tomatoes, I admit that I have never really applied any kind of critical thinking to the subject that would challenge my homegrown faith that they are simply the greatest version of that particular vegetable anywhere on planet Earth. It is simply an article of faith among native New Jerseyans.

The New York Times touches on this subject with a look at the return to mass cultivation of the Ramapo tomato — a variety that was the “original” Jersey tomato. The Ramapo itself is fairly nondescript when compared to sexier heirloom varieties, with their unsightly bulges or purple streaks. The Ramapo tomato is just red and round.

But this talk of varieties just distracts from the larger question. Just what the hell is it that makes the tomatoes in New Jersey so goddamn good? It’s probably the soil.

“It can’t be the soil, because we’ve got sandy soil in the south of the state, and more clay and loam in the north,” said Pete Nitzsche, a Rutgers agent in Morris County. “What we’ve got here is a memory of how tomatoes used to taste.”

OK. So maybe it’s Freudian.

Or maybe not. Consider this, which may answer the question once and for all:

“Someone will probably have my head for saying this,” said Gary Ibsen, an organic tomato farmer in central California. “But to my mind, what the Jersey tomato has going for it is the legend, and the loyalty, and the rest of it is just the pronounced flavor of any tomato that’s picked ripe and not shipped around the continent.”

In other words, the reason Jersey tomatoes are so good is that the people of New Jersey demand locally grown tomatoes. Whether that demand is fed by pride or loyalty or self-delusion or childhood memories doesn’t matter one bit. The result is that the tomatoes at the nondescript farm stand on the Route 72 causeway to Long Beach Island are better than any tomato I’ve ever had outside the state.

And they’ll stay that way as long as people believe Jersey tomatoes are special.

I’m a believer.

Are you?

The Return of a Lost Jersey Tomato [New York Times]

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