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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Friendless in Pa.
Suggestions for a new state slogan.

Dear Gov. Rendell,

It's come to my attention that you no longer have a friend in Pennsylvania.

Not you personally, at least not as far as I know. But the well-worn state slogan started under former Gov. Richard Thornburgh is about to be retired.

It's either that or some overly friendly person has either died or moved away. (I'd like to think he or she got arrested and extradited. It's the romantic in me.)

I'm almost sad to see the slogan go, though. As hokey as it sounds, the phrase has penetrated the American consciousness. I can't go on vacation anywhere in the U.S. without some stranger saying it when I tell them my home state.

Then, of course, they laugh and I don't think it's with me.

You can't buy name recognition like that, Ed. Well, you could, but the TV time would be very expensive. And for that reason, you should order the slogan left alone.

Just ask your counterpart over in Jersey about the mistake of replacing a successful state slogan. But given the budget mess Gov. James McGreevey inherited, I guess New Jersey and you are no longer perfect together. (Insert Tom Kane's Elmer Fudd laugh here.)

At least you and the state tourism bureau are being Democratic about it, by holding a contest to see who can "Penn a phrase for Pennsylvania" (Gawd, what a bad pun!). Would-be writers have until Dec. 17 to submit their suggestions, then state residents will get a chance to vote on them online next month. (Hmmm, maybe you should try that with something meaningful, like the slots for schools debate?)

The new slogan will be announced in February. The winner gets a weeklong "dream trip" for four to Pennsylvania.

The runner-up, I assume, gets two weeks in Pennsylvania.

Since this slogan contest appears to be aimed at non-residents who might have the urge to travel here, I thought I'd share some extamporaneous potential slogans from this lifelong resident.

I offer them in the same vein that Cyrano de Bergerac came up with more intelligent insults when some dolt said he had a big nose:

CLARIFICATION: Pennsylvania: No, Dracula doesn't sleep here

EDUCATIONAL: If you can spell it, you should visit!

UPDATED: You've got a stalker in Pennsylvania.

BORROWED from Philly's ad campaign: Pennsylvania - It's more fun when you sleep in.

TRUTHFUL: Pennsylvania: Stuck in a '50's retrograde and proud of it.

WASTEFUL: Pennsylvanians: We don't all glow!* (*Despite the Centralia mine fire, abandoned chemical waste dumps and Three Mile Island.)

MATTER OF FACT: Bad hair, bad roads, bad taxes. You must be in Pennsylvania.

HISTORICAL: Pennsylvania: We're corrupt, but contented.

HOPEFUL: Pennsylvania: We almost have slots.

SHAMEFUL: Pennsylvania: 10 percent Philly and Pittsburgh. 90 percent Alabama.

DIRECTIONAL: Pennsylvania: We're just above the Mason-Dixon line, Y'all!

INVITATIONAL: Pennsylvania: Helmetless bikers welcome!

INSPIRATIONAL: Pennsylvania: The best truck stops this side of the Rockies.

BOTANICAL: The grass really is greener in Pennsylvania (thanks to our septic tanks).

GEOGRAPHICAL: Nearly landlocked and loving it!

MARXIST: Pennsylvania: Common wealth redistributed

REVOLUTIONARY: Pennsylvania: Still rebellious after all these years.

HISTORICAL: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin all slept here, but not with each other.

ETHNIC: Polka til you puke in Pennsylvania.

SEDIMENTARY: Pennsylvania: Proudly polluting the Chesapeake since 1776.

NEIGHBORLY: Pennsylvania: At least we're not New Jersey.

BLUE: Pennsylvanians: We drink liberally six days a week.

MIGRATIONAL: Pennsylvania: Come visit us in fall, when the old people head south.

SEASONAL turnpike signs: Pennsylvania: We have BOTH seasons here - winter and construction.

FINAL destination: Pennsylvania: See where your trash ends up.

Let me know if I win.

Your friend,

- Dave

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at  or call him at 215-269-5051. To read his previous columns, click here.

Dec. 1, 2003