OLD BRIDGE - After cracking some jokes about his own gubernatorial pipe dreams for months, Joe Piscopo is now working to raise cash for other Republicans. Tomorrow night, the funnyman-turned-radio host will be headlining a two-hour Middlesex County Republican fundraiser at the Grand Marquis ballroom. GOP Chairwoman Lucille Panos tells InsiderNJ that plenty of state and local Republicans have shelled out $300-a-pop to see the stand-up comedian stand up for the candidacy of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Is he angling for Lt. Gov.?

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PATERSON - There's always eBay, or even pawn shops, if Mayor Joey Torres is desperate to get quick cash for a diamond-encrusted wristwatch that he's holding. A generous benefactor gifted the $13,500 men's timepiece to the indicted mayor as grand prize for a $125-per-ticket Father's Day raffle to boost Torres' legal defense fund. Sadly, Torres canceled the giveaway after Paterson Press reporter Joe Malinconico questioned its legality. It seems the watch's value far exceeded the state's $50 gaming limit for raffle prizes.

TRENTON - Thursday is a huge day for Joyce Davis. She is the mother of a four-month-old boy who suffocated when he rolled over on a supplemental mattress in his Pack `n Play. The Warren mom has been on a mission for years to ban the sale of the awful product that took her baby, starting a non-profit known as "Keeping Babies Safe" to educate others about the terrible dangers. On Thursday, the full Senate will be voting on a bill, finally, to ban the sale in the state. Will our senators vote to protect babies, or will they side with mattress manufacturers who know the product kills, but keep selling it to unsuspecting New Jersey families?

TRENTON - Democrats in the state Legislature are paving the way for legalized marijuana in New Jersey, with high expectations that a Democrat will be governor next year. While opponents are screaming that all those crazy, hippy-dippy stoners are going to put New Jersey in a haze of smoke, endangering us all, supporters say it is a silly strain on resources to keep busting people for carrying a joint. Legalize and regulate is more sensible than criminalize and prosecute. But that's looking like a debate around the bong for next year.


DEEP IN IT - So, you've got 23 gold medals and you are a faster swimmer than any human on the planet. What's next? In Michael Phelps case, show you are not even human. Phelps is preparing to race a great white shark July 23 as part of "Shark Week," with NBC touting the race: "Phelps vs. Shark. Great gold vs. Great White."  Shark race experts - if they exist - don't give Phelps much of a chance, as these sharks can swim up to 25 mph. Phelps can only get up to 6 mph. But that's without a shark chasing him.


It was this day in 1946 that the New York City Transit System used its first public announcement system, in which passengers could hear such helpful scratchy squawking as: "CawneyAisle!"  (Translation: Coney Island)


Oftentimes: [AW-fun-tymz] - adverb

Definition: Often; repeatedly

Example: Oftentimes, you will see me write "oftentimes" when I want to keep repeating myself, often.