STATEWIDE – New Jersey is one of only three states surrounded on three sides by water. That’s a good thing in this era of coronavirus, in which we could just close off all the bridges and tunnels to protect ourselves from potential contamination. Ridiculous, huh? Well, New Jersey officials are already taking the first logical step, banning state workers from crossing any of these borders on government business. It’s our special way of insulating New Jersey, as it looks like two people have already gotten the flu-like symptoms. Besides heaving these two over the border, whistling and walking away, state officials can also fight the spread with $1.75 million in new federal funding, ensuring a speedy response to any more of this COVID-19 nonsense.

STATEWIDE – Need some hand sanitizer quick? While the shelves at the local CVS are bare and there is a big backlog online, some people are using an alternative: vodka. Tito’s Handmade Vodka, in response, is quick to note that its product is meant for enjoyable consumption, not to fight potential pandemics. The company tweets: “Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.” It prompts the logical follow-up: Can you enjoy your hand sanitizer mixed with cranberry and a splash of lime?

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NEWARK – If you are looking for a great place to get whacked, look no further than a string of mob-related coffee shops opening in a hood near you. We’re talking “Bada Bean Cawfee,” which celebrates all of the worst criminals to prowl New Jersey streets, loot our businesses, terrorize our families, throw us in a trunk, bury us alive and chuck us into the Arthur Kill. Got a problem with dat? We certainly don’t. No sirree. So, join us in a few weeks when these joints open in Newark, Edison, Montgomery and Toms River. Bring bags of cash. And, remember, we weren’t here. Got that?

BRIEFING BREATHER: The Bible has been translated into Klingon.

STATEWIDE – It’s sure a tough time to be a county clerk. Legislation passed in 2018 and 2019 has substantially increased the number of mail-in ballots the clerks must now send out. As of the end of last year, NJ Spotlight reports, clerks statewide had processed 552,000 requests for mail-in ballots. They’re pedaling as fast as they can, but it seems they need more time, especially in a year with probably the hugest presidential election yet. State lawmakers are moving to give them an extra week to get out ballots in time for the June 2 primary. The measure got through a state Senate committee on Thursday, but someone in the State House needs to rush this bill to the governor for signing. Let’s show a little love (and admiration) for these clerks, already sick and tired of election season.

JERSEY CITY – This city’s postmaster is its latest scofflaw, racking up more than 60 unpaid parking summonses since Jan. 23. For years, the city has tried to stop mail carriers from illegally parking their delivery trucks overnight in front of fire hydrants, in fire lanes, on sidewalks, etc. Postal workers just ignore these annoying tickets, which can’t interrupt the swift completion of their appointed rounds. So, city Prosecutor Jake Hudnut is trying something new: Ticketing Postmaster Gibril Baba. Apparently it worked, as a federal attorney showed up in city court on Wednesday to dispute this pile of tickets. Hudnut tells the Jersey Journal that the city’s goal is not collecting fines, but persuading the Post Office to park legally elsewhere. If the trucks disappear, so will the summonses. And, perhaps, so will City Hall's mail.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

ONLINE – Let’s clear the air: Farting does not burn calories. That myth has racked up more than 4,000 Google searches monthly since a 2012 social media post went viral, claiming you can burn 67 calories by passing gas. Prevention magazine let the air out of that far-fetched rumor this week. A physician from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says flatulence is natural, healthy and everybody does it. (Even those who insist on blaming the dog sleeping in the other room). But, the good doctor unequivocally says passing gas burns zero calories. He suggests a brisk 15-minute walk to lose 60-70 calories, equivalent to, perhaps, 10,000 farts.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was another Groundhog Day for Yul Brynner on this day in 1985, as he performed “The King and I” for the 4,500th time. It was a show he began in 1951.

WORD OF THE DAY

Oleaginous – [oh-lee-AJ-ə-nəs] – adjective

Definition: Resembling or having the properties of oil; oily

Example: My charm is in the eye of the beholder. Some see my friendly grin and eagerness to please, others see an oleaginous demeanor.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Imagine a million people have the flu and 10 of them die. Now imagine 10 people have COVID19 and 10 of them die. Now imagine a million people have COVID19. And that's why the Wuhan coronavirus is much worse than the flu.” 

- Oliver Markus Malloy

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“I haven’t touched my face in weeks. Been weeks. I miss it.”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD: Wet

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun