STATEWIDE – Distracted driving has risen to the level of an art form in New Jersey, as our vehicles are equipped with GPS, Bluetooth connections, Internet browsers and so many other do-hickies that keep our eyes off our traffic-clogged, pothole-plagued roads. With all these distractions, a new report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says the state needs to tighten its highway safety laws. Sensible suggestions include requiring back-seat passengers to wear seatbelts. The group also suggests we should be specifically banned from watching movies, videos or playing games on our dash-mounted cell phones while behind the wheel. That’s fine, but when else will we have time to make our TikToks? Sheesh.
TRENTON – Never thought this is a message we would receive in the morning inbox. But the state’s largest Chamber of Commerce has sent us – and let us assume others – an official “Code of Conduct” to attend its networking events. Stemming from negative press coverage of women reporting sexual harassment, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce says participants are “expected to behave in accordance with professional standards” and refrain from harassment in the form of “abusive, offensive, or degrading language, intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, sexual imagery and unwelcome sexual advances or request for sexual favors.” OK. So noted. But we may ask to swap business cards.
ATLANTIC CITY – It sure was good to be Frank Sinatra. That’s evident by the 200 or so items that an auction house recently purchased, the contents of Sinatra’s executive, 23rd-floor suite at the former oceanfront Golden Nugget Casino, no longer on the boardwalk. On Sunday, it all goes on the auction block. We’re talking the $30,000 marble clamshell toilet with a gold seat, a Ferdinand Berthoud clock worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, a Grecian garden statue, a pair of antique Tibetan praying Buddha statues, a set of swords and even the crooner’s white-lacquered piano. All these suave items were gathered from across the world and were part of Sinatra’s gigantic “Chairman Suite” in 1983, a 3,000-square-foot apartment designed under the direct order of casino mogul Steve Wynn. All this kitsch was sitting in the suite for decades, collecting dust and getting tackier by the second, until the shuttered hotel was sold last October. Fly me to the moon, or at least to the Swedesboro-based S&S Auctions, holding a preview today.
BRIEFING BREATHER: In ancient Greece, “idiot” was defined as a private citizen or layman.
STATEWIDE – Yippee! You've won the state lottery! And nobody needs to know. Not your greedy relatives; not pushy salespeople or scammers; not even your former spouse who is suddenly showing some renewed interest in your god-awful personality. New Jersey just became the ninth state to give lottery winners the option of staying anonymous. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the law Tuesday to help winners stay out of the limelight and avoid the “lottery curse” of constant badgering, even threats from people trying to pick their pockets. So, if your lovable cousin, ‘Handout Harold,’ asks why you’re bidding on Sinatra’s gilded toilet or pricing Versailles-size mansions in Alpine, just offer a dismissive shrug.
MONTCLAIR – Women who don't recall the chafing, scraping soreness of exercising in a bra have two New Jersey natives to thank. That's right; two of the inventors of the sports bra, Lisa Lindahl and Polly Smith, hail from Montclair. They'll be among the 2020 inductees into the National Inventors' Hall of Fame. Lindahl recalled for NJ.com the uncomfortable recollection of running track at the University of Vermont with an untamed bosom, wondering “why there isn't a jockstrap for women? ...that isn't such a silly idea.” Not so silly, indeed. It made Lindahl and Smith millionaires, created a $14 billion-a-year business, and helped generations of women forgo the Ben-Gay.
TRENTON – For shame: New Jersey is ranked 47th among the states for maternal health outcomes. The most recent state data is from 2013, when the maternal mortality rate (or the ratio of women who die during pregnancy, childbirth or within a year of delivery, to overall births) was 37 out of 100,000, in contrast with the national average of nearly 16 in 100,000. Even worse, the mortality rate for black women was 46.5, compared with 12.8 for white women. NJ Spotlight reports on a new state effort to cut that rate in half and eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes by 2025. First Lady Tammy Murphy is spearheading it. Announcing it yesterday, she said the aim is to make New Jersey “the safest place in the United States to deliver a baby.” No argument there.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
NATICK, MA – Mystery solved! Police finally pinched the “Parking Lot Pooper,” so dubbed for dropping steaming piles of human feces, at least eight identifiable times, in the parking lot of a sporting goods store. (Hmm, sound familiar?) Cops caught the culprit, a 51-year-old woman, early Wednesday as she let loose another one, squatting out the door of a high-end Lincoln MKX sport utility. The woman, who works as a nanny, claims to have “irritable bowel syndrome.” (Again, sound familiar?) Police tell the Milford Daily News that they initially thought a large animal was to blame, until cops “found toilet paper and other wipes.” The woman is charged with eight counts of wanton destruction of property. No clue if she’s ever heard of New Jersey’s infamous “pooperintendent,” but she is now experiencing the same barrage of press coverage.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“Crack ‘em open.” The term was likely first uttered on this day in 1935 when the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. introduced the very first beer in a can for sale.
WORD OF THE DAY
Intercalate – [in-TER-kə-layt] – verb
Definition: To insert something into a calendar
Example: I am going to intercalate the Sinatra auction on Sunday.
WIT OF THE DAY
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
“Every time I speak of the haters and losers I do so with great love and affection. They cannot help the fact that they were born fucked up!”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun