ON THE ROADS - Pretty soon, you'll be able to bore the kiddies with lore of how you drove over a super-narrow, bumpy Goethals Bridge at 65 mph, with roaring 18-wheelers nipping at your bumper and frazzled, white-knuckled motorists slamming on the brakes for the heck of it. That's because the 89-year-old span is finally history, being replaced this weekend with a new bridge opening in stages. This is the first new bridge in New Jersey in decades. Unfortunately, it goes to Staten Island.

ASBURY PARK - Wizards and witches: Polish your wands! The Convention Center magically morphs into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry tomorrow for PotterCon. This traveling festival of all-things-Harry Potter is for Muggles 21 and older. There's a sorting ceremony and costume competitions for the Garden State's own Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and Slytherins. There are Potter-theme shows, trivia contests, discussion panels, feast foods and alcoholic brews straight out of the cauldron. And there's sure plenty to buy, so bring an extra sack of gold coins. 

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WAYNE - A vulgar, curse-filled tirade has Councilman Richard Jasterzbski facing harassment charges and fending off demands for his resignation. He refuses to step down after his council colleagues gave him a vote of "no confidence" this week. A cellphone video that The Record obtained shows Jasterzbski unleashing a barrage of expletives at a Passaic County GOP worker. His anger erupted last Sunday after a political sign got removed from the front window of Republican headquarters. We can't repeat what the councilman said; Constant Contact would revoke this subscription.

TRENTON - There are not many New Jerseyans who will be howling about a bill that has passed the Assembly, proposing a new tax for those Wall Street types who are rolling in millions of dollars. NJSpotlight notes the state loses about $100 million each year in potential revenue from these martini swillers who benefit from a federal loophole that delivers them huge tax breaks. The law would slap a hefty state tax on the "performance fees" these Wall Streeters earn on what is commonly referred as "carried interest." An important note: Other states would need to pass this law, or hedge fund managers would simply hop over to a lovely colonial in Westchester County.



AUSTRALIA - A police dog flunked out of the academy for being too gosh-darn nice - and then was promoted to the official Royal Dog of Queensland, Australia. Despite months of training and an impeccable pedigree, "Gavel the Police Dog" preferred belly-rubs and Beggin' Strips to sniffing for drugs and taking down criminals. The Governor-General intervened, and now Gavel has a new job playing fetch with visitors in the state's Government House - still an important public service.



ON THE AIRWAVES - Gov. Christie has a point: The 24-hour cable channels, drunk on their own politics, pitchforks and punditry, are adopting loose language based on mindless repetition of the same news story. Christie was on MSNBC, with the reporter asking if the President realizes the severity of being investigated by his own FBI. Christie - always eager to defend the boss - said, "First of all, there's no indication he's being investigated," leading the reporter to correct herself and say the "Trump campaign" is under investigation. Christie saw an opening, so slammed it home: "Well let me tell you something," Christie continued, "that's a material difference as a prosecutor. Those are important words you're using, okay?" And, still smelling blood, the governor added: "So I want to make clear to everybody out there if you're going to use big and important words, you gotta use 'em right. The fact is we don't know who's being investigated right now."


This Congress did not invent the titillating hearing.

It was this day in 1954 that the soft-spoken Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army, lashed out at Sen. Joseph McCarthy during ridiculous hearings on whether Communists infiltrated the armed forces.

For weeks, Welch blunted McCarthy's ludicrous charges. The senator, in turn, became increasingly enraged, bellowing "point of order, point of order," screaming at witnesses, and declaring that one highly decorated general was a "disgrace" to his uniform. On this day in 1954, a frustrated McCarthy charged that Frederick G. Fisher, a young associate in Welch's law firm, was a Communist. Welch was stunned. He looked at McCarthy and declared, "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." And then this famous line: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?"  It ended McCarthy's reign as leader of the Red Scare; he died a drunkard's death three years later.


Squinny - [SKWIN-ee] - verb

Definition: To look or peer with eyes partly closed; to squint

Example: With all this sunny weather coming, I want to be squinnying at the beach.