STATEWIDE – There are lots of graduation parties and lots of Fourth of July parties. Lots and lots of parties coming soon everywhere. And, of course, Gov. Phil Murphy is rightfully concerned that we will be breathing, touching and drooling all over each other, causing what could be an awful spike of COVID-19 cases across New Jersey. So our governor, whose duties include being really, really nervous, has some safety suggestions. First, this no-brainer: Party outdoors. Then, have a strong idea of who shows up to party, just in case someone gets sick and other revelers need to be notified with a dreaded text. Of course, social distancing is still critical. So, wear a mask between gulps of beer and mouthfuls of barbecued burgers. It’s all a bit clunky, sure, but it’s better than being shut-ins for another few months.

TRENTON – In the middle of March, with the state in the grips of a growing pandemic, the state did a wise thing: banning property owners and banks from bouncing people who don’t pay their rent or mortgage. But that measure was only for two months and, well, it is June now. Landlords and banks are now desperate for all those back payments, but what happens when so many people are still out of work? Fair housing advocates are demanding the state devise some sort of “compassionate” repayment options, as most people just don’t have two or three months of housing payments sitting around. The state has a $100 million kitty to help low- and moderate-income people stay in their homes for up to 12 months. But with an avalanche of payments now due, will that be nearly enough?

BRIEFING BREATHER

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Dr. Seuss once made a bet with his editor that he could write an entire book with less than 50 words. He won, of course, with “Green Eggs and Ham.”

SEASIDE HEIGHTS – Climbing a 12-story-high amusement ride is an odd way to start your day. It’s an even stranger way to call attention to alleged mistreatment by police “up and down” the Barnegat Peninsula. But, a 45-year-old former Jersey Shore man got plenty of attention for himself on Monday when, before sunrise, he scaled the 170-foot “Skyscraper Tower” at Casino Pier. After planting an American flag at the top, he emailed a video of his high-wire stunt to News12 NJ, claiming he was recently “falsely accused” of threatening three Bay Head police officers. He demonstrated his displeasure for a good long while before Chief Tom Boyd coaxed him down by phone. Once in handcuffs, the man was charged with defiant trespass and taken for a well-deserved psych evaluation at the hospital. 

STATEWIDE – Looking for summer love? Then hide that damn cat. Researchers at Colorado State University say that men who include photos of cats in their online profiles will have a tougher time scoring a decent date. Women are much less likely to swipe right – (or say `yes’) – to men who think they are much more attractive if they happen to be posing with a cat. Apparently, these guys are considered much less masculine, more neurotic, more agreeable, more open and apparently less datable. Scientists made the conclusion after showing hundreds of women photos of two men, one with a cat, one not. Sure, she’ll find Fluffy eventually, but maybe you can land a couple of dates first.

PARAMUS – Three councilmen are on the hook for their own legal bills after being sued for blocking the borough from hiring 10 new cops. Their motive: One police recruit is Mayor Richard LaBarbiera’s son, Vincent. The Republican trio says they are against nepotism, so they held up police hiring since March. Others say it’s political payback against the mayor, a Democrat. In a council teleconference, one of the councilmen insisted: “We aren’t hiring the mayor’s son … end of the story. We can hire 10 officers, but we aren’t hiring the mayor’s son.” The Record says the borough attorney warned the trio that excluding the mayor’s son would be an “illegal action.” So, they quashed the whole list. Now, the borough’s insurance fund says it cannot justify paying for their defense attorneys in Vincent LaBarbiera’s civil lawsuit against Paramus and them, individually.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

THE BALLPARK – Baseball is coming back next month!  But the 60-game season is not exactly the MLB you know and love. For example, players will no longer be allowed to spit – raising valid questions of what else are they supposed to do in the dugout during a dog day afternoon. They also can’t lick their fingers, which makes it tough for pitchers to put that extra zing on their curveball. And players reaching for that extra base can only slide with their feet, not their hands. There’s also many, many other requirements, but it appears they will still be permitted to adjust themselves as frequently as possible on national television, a big plus.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

So what is your scribble worth? If you are Bob Dylan, it is $2 million. That’s how much the original lyrics to “Like a Rolling Stone,” jotted down on hotel stationery, sold at auction on this day in 2014. 

WORD OF THE DAY

Gourmand – [GOOR-mahnd] – noun

Definition:  One who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Example: All gourmands in New Jersey should get a nice a foodie fix when our restaurants open on July 2 for indoor dining.

WIT OF THE DAY

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” 

-Red Adair

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Washed up Creepster John Bolton is a lowlife who should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information.”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Toasty