SANDY HOOK – Was he racing in the streets? That’s up to a judge to decide in the coming weeks, as Bruce Springsteen faces drunken driving charges from the Gateway National Recreation Area on Nov. 14. No clue if the Boss was driving his now-signature 1980 Jeep when cops nailed the allegedly boozy Jersey icon for reckless driving and drinking alcohol in a closed area. Cops told TMZ that Springsteen “was cooperative,” as all would expect of someone “Trapped.” Jeep has now pulled the Super Bowl ad, following this now-international, Jersey-based story. Meanwhile, the Asbury Park Press reports Springsteen’s blood alcohol content was just a quarter of the legal limit, which questions if he was really bombed in the USA.
WANAQUE – There’s an arrest of another well-known New Jerseyan – the “NJ Weedman,” charged with possessing marijuana, distribution and traffic offenses early Saturday. Ed Forchion – whose single purpose in life appears to be advocating for pot legalization and getting arrested for it – tells NJ 101.5 that his “Weedmobile” was targeted because it looks like a State Police cruiser with “Pot Trooper” emblazoned on the doors. Cops seized $9,000 from the pothead’s car, while his female companion was deemed a “co-conspirator.” Forchion, 56, claims the officer “didn’t like me,” vowing all the nitty-gritty details would be “part of my lawsuit” to get the charges tossed and his cash (and stash?) returned, as he mulls the PR opportunities of all this.
They sell toupees for dogs in Tokyo.
EAST ORANGE – Dionne Warwick’s caressing voice – whether she was singing a nuanced Burt Bacharach tune such as “Walk on By” or belting out a soaring anthem such as “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” – has caught the ears of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame voters. The celebrated chanteuse, who grew up in East Orange and was a proud Girl Scout, was announced Wednesday as one of the nominees in the Class of 2021. You could use the title of another Warwick hit, “Heartbreaker,” to describe the news that Cedar Grove’s Tommy James had been snubbed YET again. James, who achieved stardom in the 1960s with the Shondells and their string of hits such as “Mony, Mony” and “Crimson and Clover,” didn’t make the list of 16 nominees. Perhaps there’s a cap, or something, on the number of Jersey musicians enshrined in the Hall, as we own the place.
ATLANTIC CITY – By now, most just figured Trump Plaza is a pile of rubble, as city officials have been talking about imploding it for years and there was all this news in the fall about holding a charity auction with the lucky winner pressing the big, red button. But the hulking mass of failure is still standing, miraculously, and now city officials are vowing the implosion will really take place around 9 a.m. next Wednesday. City leaders, and those engaging in redevelopment, are giddy that this place will finally be decimated, after it sat empty, rotting, since 2014, and has been blocking glorious views of the Atlantic Ocean since the first chocolate-covered shag rug was installed in the early 1980s. You can watch the big moment from Bader Field; doors open at 7 a.m. and parking is just $10. Tailgating, while awesome, is likely not permitted.
TOMS RIVER – Politics is the bloodsport of choice in Ocean County, as the GOP figures out which candidate to officially endorse. The GOP screening committee recently gave the nod to former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli for governor and former Little Egg Harbor Mayor Bobbie Jo Crea for a Board of Commissioners vacancy. But, it’s really not about them. News reports say the uncertainty is actually signs of a behind-the-scenes mêlée between party chairman Frank Holman and his predecessor George Gilmore, flexing his muscle since getting a presidential pardon for criminal convictions. The former GOP powerbroker is pushing a Berkeley councilman for county commissioner and prefers a pro-Trump gubernatorial candidate like Hirsh Singh, not Ciattarelli. This sets the stage for a raucous showdown at the county GOP convention in March.
IN THE MEDIA
STATEWIDE - How robust is the power of the press in the face of relentless newsroom cuts? We’ll find out; the editorial staff at three Gannett-owned northern New Jersey newspapers formed a union. Employees of The (Bergen) Record, Daily Record and New Jersey Herald have united in hopes of staving off what they call unjust terminations and policies that “put stakeholder profit over the workers they should protect.” Union members quoted in a New Jersey Globe piece say the public is the real loser when reporters, photographers and content managers are lopped off like the bottom of a rambling sewer tax article. “These workers are fighting to safeguard the legacy of local news in northern New Jersey and justly advocating for stronger, more diverse newsrooms that can continue to be a critical lifeline, celebrated storyteller, and most importantly, a necessary watchdog for our communities,” said Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York. Here’s to a perfect union.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
WASHINGTON – President’s Day is almost here, which is akin to Christmas for all those auction houses that drag out the same artifacts and hope for a new generation of suckers (aka bidders.) So, the big question will be who will drop the most coin on the locks of George and Martha Washington’s hair. (Continental dollars: not accepted.) If that doesn’t float your boat, the auctioneers have nearly 300 other artifacts honoring our presidents. You can own John F. Kennedy’s crimson Harvard sweater, the pen Warren Harding used to end our participation in World War I and Andrew Johnson’s order of a national day of mourning, following Lincoln’s assassination. If you don’t have the budget for any of this, perhaps just run down to Atlantic City and grab a brick from Trump Plaza.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
A story that never gets old: This day, in 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney shoots a friend in the face during a hunting accident. (Harry Whittington, 78, is the first person to have been shot by a sitting vice president since Alexander Hamilton.)
WORD OF THE DAY
Ragamuffin – [RAG-uh-muf-in] – noun
Definition: A ragged, often-disreputable person
Example: My club is full of festive ragamuffins.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."
“The standard of judgment is no longer results but the flickering image of seriousness, skillfully crafted to squeeze into 30 seconds on the nightly news. In this world, emotion has become suspect - the accepted style is smooth, antiseptic and passionless.”
- Joe Biden
WEATHER IN A WORD