DEPTFORD – Under the slogan of “Hey! Better than nothing,” a South Jersey high school has figured a way to hold graduation. Deptford High School has formulated a Noah’s Ark approach to pomp and circumstance, with graduates going two by two. This will certainly be memorable: Over the course of five days, two graduates and two guests will take part in 15-minute, mini-graduations. No more than 10 people will be in attendance at any one time, with promises of plenty of social distancing, NJ 101.5 reports. The teens will still be in cap and gown, there will still be photos and mom and dad can still briefly weep with joy – before all are ushered stage left to make way for the next batch. All 125 assembly-line sessions for the Class of ’20 will then be bundled into a video, with speeches, awards, etc., culminating with what has been a heckuva an education for these seniors.

THE STICKS – Real estate experts have wanted to end all those suburban McMansions for years now. McMansions were originally built with the belief that people will clamor to live in massive houses out in the middle of nowhere. These experts believe people love to be around other people, drawn to the cities, gentrification, “New Urbanism” and other fancy terms akin to an affection for overpriced coffee. But the Record suspects there is a growing trend of people going back to the sticks, where living on two acres somewhere near the Pennsylvania border doesn’t seem so bad. Cities will certainly bounce back, as customers always boomerang back to urban living. Meanwhile, hamlets in Hunterdon and Warren counties should be prepared to welcome the urban chic, driving poorly in Range Rovers, thirsting for a soy half-caf.

TOMS RIVER – A ‘virtual’ court hearing turned comical when two canine troublemakers insisted on interrupting Superior Court Judge Michael Collins. During a video hearing from his home, the Ocean County judge’s voice was repeatedly met with high-pitched “yips” and deep “woofs” from his dogs. With no gavel to bang and no bailiff to eject the scruffy noisemakers, Collins tried to forge ahead. As the barks continues, the judge sighs; casts a stern glance off-camera; and wags an index finger and says: “Would you guys knock it off?” Clearly holding the dogs in contempt, the judge blurts out: “Shut up!” When that failed, the judge exasperatedly asks the humans visiting his virtual courtroom: “Anybody want to adopt a dog?” An Asbury Park Press video of this hearing is worth a wag.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

94% of American flags come from China.

IN AIR – It’s not easy being red. Just ask the red knot, a migrating bird that travels 10,000 miles between its home in South America and its breeding grounds in Canada. Along the way, thousands of red knots — 17,000 by last year’s count — enjoy a stopover on the Jersey side of the Delaware Bay, dining on those energy-rich horseshoe crab eggs that will fuel the rest of their flight. But this year, the birds are scarce — fewer than 200 counted by avian observers — because the crabs are in such short supply. NJ Spotlight reports the air and water have been too cold for the crabs to spawn, and their population had already been decimated in the 1990s and 2000s by that damn commercial fishing industry that used them for bait. The red knots will make do with what they can for the journey, perhaps resorting to a stop at a Waffle House. Some will die here; more will die waiting for a coffee refill. And you know who to blame.

WEST AMWELL – Typically, the municipal elections in a rural town in western New Jersey don’t make statewide news. But the fact that last week’s elections were held by mail – and the U.S. Postal Service failed to pick up some ballots – is a really big deal. New Jersey Globe reports that Vote By Mail (VBM) needs to get worked out quick, as up to 6.1 million ballots and official notices will be passing through the hands of the mailman for the July 7 statewide primary election. The news site chatted with more than a dozen election officials, pundits and politicians, all of whom expressed worry that the Post Office is tasked with delivering democracy. With operational delays from COVID-19 – and the fact that the state is undertaking a massive VBM for the very first time – can we really expect all votes to be counted? To quote Meatloaf, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

WASHINGTON, VA – A ritzy restaurant is packing its dining room with dummies so actual paying patrons won’t feel so isolated when The Inn at Little Washington reopens later this month. This three-Michelin-star restaurant, 70 miles from our nation’s capital, will have life-size mannequins attired in 1940’s finery, filling half of its seats. The chef-owner hopes this theatrical touch is a bonus to bring back his upscale clientele. It also complies with Virginia’s 50-percent, social distancing limit on indoor table service. He tells the Washington Post: “We all crave to see other people right now. They don’t all necessarily need to be real people.”

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2015 that Prince Charles shook hands with Gerry Adams, the former IRA militant. Wait….people actually shook hands?

WORD OF THE DAY

 

Disabuse – [diss-uh-BYOOZ] – verb

Definition: to free from error, misconception, or fallacy

Example: You can’t disabuse people of what they think, especially when they are so ridiculously wrong.

WIT OF THE DAY

“I fear we must use bad science to accomplish good politics.” 

-James Cambias

 

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

 

“I’m taking it, hydroxychloroquine. I’m taking it for about a week and a half now, and I’m still here. I started taking it ‘cause I think it’s good. I’ve heard a lot of good stories. I’m not gonna get hurt by it. It’s been around for 40 years, for malaria, for lupus, for other things.”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Breezy