DOWN THE SHORE - And here's where it gets messy. Uncle Sam - supported by generous taxpayers from sea to shining sea - funds the millions and millions of dollars in beach replenishment projects in our shore towns. Yet it will be up to municipal officials to decide who gets on the beaches this summer, as there could be restricted parking capacity (preventing outsiders) and limits to how many day passes are sold (preventing outsiders).  Yes, there needs to be social distancing. But with beaches as a public benefit - not the exclusive right of the taxpayers in each beachfront municipality - how can you craft a policy that is really, truly fair? And can you really tell local residents that they are no longer allowed on “their” beach?

STATEWIDE – We’ve all been shaken by the coronavirus pandemic. Now some of us have the prospect of being stirred — like James Bond — in a more appealing way. According to NJ Spotlight, the good folks on the New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to allow bars and brewers to deliver up to 16-ounce mixed drinks in a sealed container to residents. It’s all part of a grand attempt to help out the state’s hospitality industry, which understandably has cratered. 007 was partial to his dry martini, shaken, not stirred, of course — “one, large and very strong and very cold, and very well made.” I’ll — hic — have what he’s having.

TOMS RIVER – An Ocean County freeholder wants to haul China into court for causing America’s “human and economic catastrophe,” by creating the deadly COVID-19 virus. Mind you, Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari, 73, is the same loose cannon who once fired off a letter to Kim Jong-Un, threatening to bomb North Korea for never returning the USS Pueblo, captured in 1968. Now, Vicari says he'd be proud if Ocean County is first to join any international lawsuit that New Jersey or the U.S. brings against China, to the glee of Trump supporters looking elsewhere for a villain. The Asbury Park Press says this 14-term freeholder also suggests Trump renege on repaying America’s trillion-dollar debt to the People’s Republic and use that money to rebuild our economy. Up next: Vicari challenges Justin Trudeau to mud wrestle over Canada’s price gouging for maple syrup.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

Quebec City, Canada has about as much street crime as Disney World.

STATEWIDE – Chris Christie is back and, of course, he is undermining things.  As CNN reports a coronavirus model often quoted by the White House now indicates that as many as 134,000 Americans may die, nearly double its previous prediction, the former governor went on the cable news channel yesterday to proclaim it is time to reopen the country. (Sigh.) So, as our elected officials keep urging us to “Stay Home,” the former governor and Trump sycophant says: “Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can -- but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” (What…?) And here’s another reckless gem: “We've got to let some of these folks get back to work, because if we don't, we're going to destroy the American way of life in these families -- and it will be years and years before we can recover.”

METUCHEN – Hometown illusionist David Copperfield says we all have the magic to make COVID-19 disappear. Just stay home and social distance. Mayor Jonathan Busch posted an optimistic Twitter message from the world-renowned magician who grew up in Middlesex County’s “brainy borough.” Vanishing the Statue of Liberty and an airplane were no sweat for Copperfield. But the 65-year-old regrets he “can’t make this virus disappear.” He praised fellow Metuchenites for being “kind and thoughtful;” for supporting local businesses and complying with “state and local directives.” The 1974 Metuchen High School grad also pledged: “I'll come back and visit at some point when this is over.” So, expect him to “appear.”

KNUCKLEHEAD KNEWS

TRENTON - Blockhead? Nah. Numbskull? Nah. Nitwit? Ah! Gov. Phil Murphy is going to continue to use the word knucklehead to describe those who disobey social distancing orders, don't wear their masks, price gouge and commit other COVID-19 transgressions. Murphy didn't mention State Senator Joe Pennacchio by name but alluded to the fact the lawmaker had taken well-publicized umbrage to his use of “knucklehead” after the word began to appear on electric road signs. So, Murphy looked it up in a dictionary and stumbled upon a few colorful synonyms. Addressing Pennacchio's concern that the word might be disrespectful, Murphy doubled down and said, “That’s the point.”

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

INCHEON/SEOUL, South Korea – No fans, no beer, no high-fives and the umpire is wearing a big, fat mask. But it is professional baseball, dammit, and it is happening now. The South Korean baseball league is in full force, after a five-week delay, and we could not be more excited. ESPN has inked a deal to broadcast the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), which our own Major Leaguers are now promoting on social media as, well, some sort of baseball worth watching. So, for the moment, become a fan of the LG Twins or the Doosan Bears or maybe the SK Wyverns or the KT Wiz. KBO officials admit it is tough to play these games in cavernous stadiums with no people. But perhaps they are picking up some new fans from America, where we are willing to watch anything that is not yet another look-back video of the 1977 Yankees.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2015 that Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, announce the name of their baby girl, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. What exhilarating news.

WORD OF THE DAY

Diphthong – [diphthongs] – noun

Definition: A sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves toward another

Examples: Good examples of a diphthong are coin, loud, and side. 

WIT OF THE DAY

“We project that roughly 56 percent of our population —25.5 million people — will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period.”

-California Gov. Gavin Newsom

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“We have great testing capacity, and have performed 6.5 million tests, which is more than every country in the world, combined!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Cooler