Jerry’s Nose

Well, I’ve been accused of having a hypertrophied proboscis, especially by some anti-Semites who delight in that sort of thing, but I’m pleased that there’s a landmark in Newfoundland named after my schnoz. It’s part of a series of colorful place names in Newfoundland and Labrador (series list here). Here’s the notes on “Jerrys nose” (note that the link has an apostrophe):

Around here, there are hundreds of places and thousands of stories. There are many peculiarities surrounding Jerrys Nose – the lack of an apostrophe and the absence of anyone named Jerry are just the beginning. But there’s a beauty about this place that can’t be contained by punctuation. So how did it come by such a distinct name? Our friend Fred has a theory.

The series:

This year Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism launched “Place Names”. Supported by TV, digital, newspaper, and social media advertising, a series of digital vignettes – eight (8) in total – begins to tell the story of our colourful place names – engaging the target audience and differentiating the province once again as a tourism destination.

Filmed in 2014, the eight digital videos are categorized into different quirky themes: Love, People (Anatomy), Food, and Off-Kilter.

h/t: Merilee


  1. Posted April 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Jerrys Nose looks like a place of unrelenting adventure and unheralded beauty. (… But what would I know? – I’ve lived a big part of my life near Elbow, Saskatchewan, and Medicine Hat, Alberta.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    You definitely need to get screeched in now!

  3. Posted April 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Nice video with a great presentation, thank you.
    Jerry while we are on the subject of noses; what is the evolutionary significance of the size of the nose. Is there a benefit from a large nose in the desert, Mediterranean region? Small nose in Norway? My ancestry is northern Europe and as far as I can tell we have moderate to small. French, German, England and Belgium is our suspected countries before coming to America.
    English folks such as Mick Fleetwood or Pete Townsound of the Who does his large proboscis betray a Roman soldier ancestry? In researching my family tree I look for any clue to my families European roots.
    I would welcome any suggestion of reading material or commentary.
    Thanks Dr. Coyne

    • Jim Sweeney
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      My Swedish grandfather bequeathed his large nose to his daughter and my three siblings. Charles deGaulle was also well-endowed in that department.

    • frednotfaith2
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Pete Townshend has described how his (more modestly-nosed) father used to put him down because he had such a big nose, which only fueled young Pete’s determination to become famous and get his big nose on the telly to get back at his dad.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      That latitudinal gradient you mention might have had something to do with Allen’s Rule, way back when…but I suspect human assortative mating’s had a lot more to do with it recently…

      ('s_rule )

  4. Randy Schenck
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Just a couple of more famous guys, also known for the sizable nose — Carl Malden & Jimmy Durante. Neither one Jewish, to my knowledge.

    They did live a long time so maybe it has something to do with long life.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Your nose keeps growing your entire life. Probably the source of the ‘nose gets longer when you lie’ myth. 🙂

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        I thought it was more like your face seeming to shrink around it…

    • Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Also Walter Matthau.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Let’s not be sexist–Barbra Streisand.

  5. quiscalus
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I love the words he sprinkles throughout the video, and the rhythm and cadence of his voice.
    “Tamatouche” (whatever that means)
    “stogged up full of snow”
    and my favorite,
    “big as d*gs and twice as saucy!” gotta
    remember that one!

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Great video, great idea for a series. Cheers Merilee!

    I love the guy’s accent. Is that a Newfoundland accent? Sort of Irish with back notes of north American.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I mild, understandable newfie accent. Take a look at this conversation (Mark Critch is a Canadian comedian from Newfoundland).

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        I=a (ugh)

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          Ta! I enjoyed that, but I didn’t understand much at the beginning! The explanation about how it happened is interesting too.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Oh and this is my favourite description of Newfie conversations.

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        If you took away the accent you’d be talking to my dad.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        LOL! The bits I understood were hilarious! Thanks. 😀

      • Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Love the Newfie accent! We have to have “I’s the B’y”, right here:

        And here’s Brad Pitt doing the Irish:

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          We sang that song in elementary school.

          • Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            Learned this song, thanks to the munchkins again!

            I had a English Lit teacher who used to tell side stories in her Newfie accent.. it was wonderful.

        • merilee
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Snatch is one of my very favorite movies, but had to see it about three times to catch all the lines. Apparently Brad’s accent is kind of random, but hilarious! I kept thinking they were calling the trailer people Pakis, which made no sense, and it turned out it was Parkies pronounced Pakis, which made a tiny bit more sense. Loved the dog that swallowed the squeaky toy.

          • Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            I enjoyed the movie at the time but now I don’t remember most of it! (my shortcoming, not the movie’s.) I’d like to see a DVD of it with subtitles.

            I get to see all kinds of movies I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards, thanks to my children. (Sadly, the converse isn’t true.) Summer will be a hot one with the super hero stuff coming out of the woodwork, once again.

    • merilee
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Heather. Glad Jerry posted it;-) We’re off to Nfld in July but not sure how close we’ll get to Jerry’s Schnoz;-) I can’t even remember now which organization sent this to me; I think a Maritimes travel outfit or something.

  7. Gordon
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    wonderful place to visit. My favourite place name was Little Hearts Ease. If you’re going read Colony of Unrequited Dreams first.

  8. Marella
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    It mostly just sounds like an American accent to me, a bit more Irish than average, but American accents are quite variable anyway.

  9. Posted April 18, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I notice that the Newfoundland and Labrador Youtube site does not mention two outstanding place names, in the bottom of Trinity Bay: Dildo and Spread Eagle.

  10. Posted April 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I lived in Newfoundland for 10 years. You can tell people from away “Come-from-Aways” because they don’t know how to pronounce the provincial name. It’s “NewfinLAND” with the obvious accent on the last syllable. European settlement patterns on the island are complex. However, one can generalize and say that Irish catholics mainly from Country Waterford settled on the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas (outside of the capital St. John’s at least), and protestants from the west country of England settled elsewhere. Accents across the island bear-out this gross generalization.

  11. Jim Sweeney
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Not too long I read an article about how Jews came to be depicted with large noses. It developed late in the Middle Ages, if I recall correctly, and was essentially arbitrary. As far as I can tell, Jews and Arabs don’t have especially big noses.

    The Chinese certainly thought the prominent probosces of Americans and European were comical, and referred to them as “long noses”.

    My parents were educated and quite literate, and so confident that they didn’t always look up their favorite words in the dictionary, with occasionally amusing results. My mother was not fond of her big beak, and said she’d rather have an aquiline nose, by which I think she meant something trim and aristocratic, rather than the bent protruberance found on eagles and Roman emperors.

  12. Hempenstein
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    How far is Jerrys Nose from L’anse aux Meadows?

    • merilee
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      L’Anse aux Meadows is the top of the thumb of Newfoundland in the NW of the island. (I haven’t looked up where Jerrys Nose is yet). Fwiw I read somewhere that Newfoundland has an ancient “seam” running down the middle N to S. The Western part used to be attached to the North American mainland and the Eastern part of Europe. They could determine this by the fossils.

      Another Newfoundland anecdote: a good Norwegian friend was in one of the first digs at L’Anse aux Meadows in the 60s. They found some Viking oars and the locals interpreted this as Viking whores, as they tend to drop their haitches….

    • merilee
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Looks like CC’s schnoz is west of Stephenville, at the base of the “thumb”.,_Newfoundland_and_Labrador

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    The upside of a “hypertrophied proboscis” is that, when singing Alouette, you’re less likely to mess up the line “et le nez.”

    Not much help with Frère Jacques, though, far as I can tell.

    • merilee
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Good point. Unless you wanted to “sonnez tous les nez” and have everyone honk?

  14. Rhonda
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this, Jerry! You’ve made me homesick.

  15. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    When I was working out of St Johns NL, I was trying to get permission from the client to do a day trip down to Mistaken Point to look at the fossils. Unfortunately they wanted me to sit at the airport all day in the forlorn hope of the fog lifting and letting the paraffin budgies lift. Much twiddling of the thumbs ensued.
    Why Mistaken Point? Because it was a point of land, which you didn’t want to bump into in your ship. Unfortunately there are many “points” sticking out of Newfoundland and if you turn right at a particular point, then you get into a good harbour. But if you turn right at the wrong point – Mistaken Point – then you’re in for a world of maritime pain.

    • Posted April 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I guess you know that Mistaken Point probably has the oldest multicellular fossils on Earth – roughly half-billion years old. (Why else would anyone go there unless that’s where one’s Aunt Lizzie lives?) Youtube has quite a collection of fairly good videos on the fossils, and this link to Queens U has good info:

      • merilee
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Was it in the TV version of Neil Shubin’s book that this was featured? Saw it somewhere.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        Exactly why I was wanting to go there. The St Johns geologists who had hired me were sympathetic to me going, but with the changeability of the weather they considered it more important for me to be at the heliport ready to go in the event of getting the 3 hour weather window we needed to fly. The hour-and-a-half-ish driving time to/ from Mistaken Point plus whatever time it took to get back from the exposures to the car was considered too much.

        • Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

          Aidan, I thought as much from your comment. Isn’t it remarkable how we have these fleeting little windows of time to see (or miss seeing) something that has been around for hundreds of millions of years? Our sense of time – measured in hour and half drives to glimpse half-billion-year-old fossils – just can’t comprehend such unfathomable lengths of time. I think that’s one reason so many people don’t accept the simple reality of evolution, most of its stunning effects take so long to develop. Anyway, I hope to stop by and see the imprints of our dead ancestors when I get out to the rock.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            The concept of “deep time” is one of the … shibboleths – would that be the word ? – that separate the human species into two classes : geologists and “the rest of the world”.
            It is weird how the world revolves around little slivers of time, that in the end add up to nothing.
            Having missed on the Mistaken Point fauna, I was a bit more motivated and got myself onto a weekend trip including (arguably) Britain’s first discovered meteorite impact structure (after the storm in a halokinetic teacup of the Silverpit Structure) and billion-year stromatolites from a desert lake environent (I know – it doesn’t fit the recipe book does it. But it’s very securely an angular unconformity below the base of the Cambrian.)
            But … I still need to make more effort to get to the Charnian biota, considering it’s practically on my home town doorstep.

            • Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

              Sounds good – have fun!

  16. Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    English (IIRC) hasn’t always used the “‘s” for possessives – might be that.

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