CLIFTON – It’s a sad morning, with no gum-cracking waitress calling us “hon” or warming up our coffee for the 8th time. Why? Because for likely the first Monday morning since the Truman Administration, the Tick Tock Diner is not slinging eggs and bacon on the side of Route 3. The landmark diner was set to close last night for a major rehab. There will be a new kitchen, new bar, new furniture and a bunch of other improvements at this stainless steel-encased temple, home to disco fries and Taylor Ham. It will reopen just in time for the grand opening of the American Dream mega-mall, creating the perfect stopover for all the hungry people sitting in traffic.

NEWARK – Panicked New Jerseyans are forced to ponder: Where do we eat now? You may not believe this answer: Head to the airport. Newark Liberty Airport – chronically stuck on lists of the worst airports in the civilized world – is now apparently a haven for foodies. It’s Terminal C, and it recently underwent a $120 million conversion from third-world mess hall to a high-tech haven for the discerning palate. Sous chefs are using fresh, local ingredients, in this “farm to terminal” creation. Gone are all of those moving walkways, replaced with dining “oases,” which are these long, open restaurants that encourage memorable dining among strangers. There are also iPads all over, for easy quick ordering, as well as numerous laptop outlets and easy-to-understand signage. That’s because, we’ve all forgotten for a moment, this is an airport, after all.

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TRENTON – “Transparency” is a word readily upon Gov. Phil Murphy’s lips. But while he can talk the talk, walking the walk appears to be more of a challenge, NJ Spotlight says. Case in point: the governor relied on some so-called dark money to help finance his seven-day, six-city trade mission to India. Such generosity is not governed by state public-disclosure laws. The governor, like chief execs before him, contends this outside money saves taxpayer money. But it also makes it impossible to make a cost-benefit assessment of these global trade missions. Worse, when New Jersey residents don’t know who’s putting up the money, there’s no way of knowing their expected return on investment. You gotta make the money up somehow.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Cory Booker will likely not clinch the Democratic primary for President next year, but he is clearly the winner when it comes to campaign logos. That designation comes from The Center for American Politics and Design, which ranked the logos of the primary contenders from worst to first. The worst? Andrew Yang, who probably was surprised to learn he needed a logo, so he likely asked a neighborhood kid with a 1990-era word processor to slap something together. Amy Klobuchar scores low, as well, with her “Amy for America” logo in blue and green, which is more appropriate for a sitcom opening. Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg has a football-themed, mix-and-match logo, Bernie Sanders kept the same logo as 2016 because, obviously, new logos are for 1 percenters. It all puts Booker at the top, with a logo that looks like something from an activist poster. The message? Time for change.

STATEWIDE – Why doesn’t New Jersey already require police departments to turn over personnel files when cops switch jobs? And, why wouldn’t our state’s 550 police agencies just share all that info anyway? Surprisingly most don’t, so Assemblyman Gordon Johnson hopes to ensure police departments get all the juicy details about officers joining their ranks, including internal affairs files that are usually kept locked away (and no one knows who has the key.) Johnson’s bill already has backing from the state’s chiefs of police association whose spokesperson tells NJ101.5: “If there's anything in (an officer’s) background that might be questionable, or conversely anything … that might be really fantastic, we'd like to know about it beforehand.” Sounds reasonable. After all, it’s good for cops to act like cops.

HAMILTON – This quiet suburban town has turned into a political hotbed. Mercer County detectives raided Town Hall last week, seizing three finance office laptops as part the county's fourth probe this year. The county prosecutor has already filed disorderly persons offenses against Mayor Kelly Yaede and her campaign manager for spreading word about her Republican primary opponent’s expunged criminal past. Other county and state inquiries are under way into accusations of misconduct and improper care at the town’s animal shelter, and against the health director for neglecting inspections. Yaede’s defense lawyer tells The Trentonian the latest inquiry is “a politically motivated stunt … a travesty of justice.” Meanwhile, typical Hamiltonians just want their trash picked up and streets plowed

DOVER – Cash-strapped librarians are giving a second look at those old, dusty paintings on the walls, hoping to strike it rich. Hey, it could happen. Just like it did in Dover, where the library walked away with a cool $4.1 million by agreeing to sell an 1863 painting, titled “Indians Attacking a Wagon Train.” The Daily Record reports the painting hung in the reading room for more than 60 years, with most, if not all, patrons having no idea it was worth a mint. The painting, which was donated to the library in 1943, was sold off, with the cash windfall to be used to buy more books and make critical repairs.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

PENSACOLA, FL. – The latest “Florida man…” headline comes from the western panhandle, where a local man created his very own “boat car.” The bottom half of this curious vehicle is Ford Expedition SUV; the top half was created with a decommissioned boat. WEAR-TV reports that it took the man three full days to create his boat car, and then drove it out of his front yard. Apparently, the boat car is street legal, at least in Florida, with this vehicle having working headlights, tail lights, turn signals and horns. There’s no cover on the boat, which is why the Florida man keeps a scuba mask and snorkel to keep driving through a rain storm.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2016 the Guggenheim Museum offered visitors the chance to sit on a golden throne — cast in 18k gold. An Italian artist replaced a toilet in the Guggenheim’s fourth-floor restroom with his fully-functional replica, inviting visitors to give it a whirl. Museum curators said the solid gold toilet, worth $1.8 million, “evokes the American dream of opportunity for all.” And, what are the odds? That very same toilet just got stolen Saturday from Winston Churchill’s birthplace, west of London, two days after it was hooked up to bathroom plumbing there.

WORD OF THE DAY

Pari–mutuel – [pa-rə-MYOO-chwəl] – noun

 

Definition: A betting system, typically used for sporting events of short duration with ranked outcomes, in which the total amount bet is divided among winners in proportion to their initial wagers, minus a percentage for the bookie.

 

Example: With all the drunken debauchery, no one is sure if they’ll remember to pick up their winnings from the pari-mutuel bets.

WIT OF THE DAY

“As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own.”

 

- Michael Dell

WEATHER IN A WORD

Quiet

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