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ON THE RAILS – It has been a year (or two) of slamming NJ Transit, so let’s celebrate some good stuff. Your local, friendly commuter rail now has a handy-dandy feature on its app, which provides push notifications when you are approaching your stop and a second one when the train has reached your station, NJ.com reports. No longer do you need to rely on the conductor’s inaudible mumbling over a crappy loudspeaker, or ask the dozing passenger across the aisle where the heck you are. The app is designed for the tired rider, who no longer has to try to remain awake long enough not to miss the stop.  The app also solves such age-old questions as: “Hey, am I on the Raritan Valley line?” or “Psst… Is this train heading to Penn Station or Trenton?” or, best yet, “Do I look 11 years old so I can pass off this discounted child ticket?”

BEDMINSTER – Back to business. The Trump family is back in New Jersey, figuring how best to monetize the heck out of its golf club. So, if you are lucky enough to serve on the Bedminster Planning Board, expect a friendly visit from Trump lawyers in January, as they lay out plans to add to the “Kushner Cottage” with a mudroom, dressing room and study and expanded master bedroom and master bathroom, NJ.com reports. Oh, and while they are there, the town will also be showed plans for five new 5,000-square-foot “cottages” and 41 new bedrooms, four pickleball courts and a two-story multipurpose building for club members, featuring a spa, massage, yoga and a “general store” where you can buy all your criminally overpriced Trump merchandise. Another shrewd move to capitalize off the Trump name, for those who want to come to leafy New Jersey, reminisce – yet again – about the 2016 election and pay dearly for the privilege.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

“Nurdle” is the name of that blob of toothpaste on your toothbrush.

OAKLAND – Not only is a local bar struggling like all others, but it also happened to be singularly called about Gov. Phil Murphy for packing people at its outside bar the night before Thanksgiving. Facebook photos went viral, showing a party that seemed thoroughly unrestricted by coronavirus, its blatant stupidity finding itself all the way to the governor’s desk in Trenton. Oakland cops have since charged the owners for allowing all of these clueless revelers. “Scenes like this make absolutely no sense,” Murphy said. “I’m trying hard ... to find a mask anywhere in this crowd, there certainly isn’t any attempt to ensure social distancing, and the entire concept of personal responsibility is missing… “Are you kidding me?”

STATEWIDE – Many New Jerseyans can’t exactly define the role of a “chosen freeholder.” And, beginning January 1, they will then have no idea what a county commissioner is, or what he or she does. These elected stewards of 21 counties will be officially renamed as commissioners, after the governor eliminated the outdated “chosen freeholder” term that harked back to Colonial times when the only people allowed to hold public office were white landowners. So, as New Jersey scrubs out its relics of racism, what does this really mean for January 1? Plenty of new business cards, placards, brochures, name plates and signage. Oh, and new fleece jackets.

PATERSON – New Jerseyans always maintain a low opinion of Congress, but don’t dare pick on one of our own. Many are not taking well to the fact that House conservatives are going after scrappy Rep. Bill Pascrell, who just won re-election and likely couldn’t give a hoot what these out-of-state congressman think about anything. The conservatives want to censure Pascrell – an outspoken Trump critic – for blasting the president’s dumb, senseless efforts to try to overturn the election results. Five members of the far-right “Freedom Caucus” introduced the censure resolution, after Pascrell called for Trump’s ethically-challenged lawyers to be disbarred.  In response to the pointless retaliation, Pascrell dismissed these colleagues as “fascist wannabes.” Meanwhile, of actual relevance, what’s up with that proposed $908 billion stimulus plan banging around Congress?

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

MARION, OH – Warren G. Harding is back in the news (again.) And (sigh), what is the 29th U.S. president up to now? Well, this apparent publicity hound – dead since 1927 – will be staying in his grave, despite the fact that his grandson is trying to exhume him. A judge denied the request, even though the grandson wants to do some DNA testing to prove that he has some presidential blood. Other members of the Harding clan don’t dispute the ancestry, so the judge was pretty perplexed as to why this one descendant is so eager to dig into the presidential memorial in Marion, near where Harding was born. The grandson argued “scientific certainty.” Motion denied.

BAR GRAMMAR

A bar was walked into by the passive voice. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1979 that Christie’s auctions a thimble for a record $18,400.

WORD OF THE DAY

Tyro – [TYE-roh] – noun

Definition: A beginner or novice

Example: The bunny hill is for tyros like me.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.”

-Henry Rollins

TODAY'S TRUMPISM 

“Hope everybody is watching @OANN right now. Other media afraid to show. People are coming forward like never before. Large truck carrying hundreds of thousands of fraudulent (FAKE) ballots to a voting center? TERRIBLE - SAVE AMERICA!”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Sunny