BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP - It's big. It's ugly. And you haven't been there in years. No, we're not talking about a Trump casino. This morning, it is time to shed a tear over the steady demise of the Burlington Center mall, now gasping with an outdated Sears on the brink of closure. Philly.com offers an obit, of sorts, to a mall that was positively awesome in the early 1980s. That Sears will mercifully close in September, leaving acres of crumbling parking lot around an outdated, hulking building. It all truly captured the architecture of a time and place where you would expect to buy a Rubik's cube and parachute pants, and maybe run into Max Headroom.
BY THE FRYER - Not only are you stuck in a dead-end job, working the midnight fryer shift, but there is an apparent policy that blocks you from getting a job at a competing fast food joint. New Jersey is one of 11 states asking some good questions to eight fast-food franchises - from Arby's to Burger King - which are being accused of blocking employees from moving to greener pastures. Apparently, there are "no poach" provisions in many franchising contracts, blocking independent owners from hiring employees of other fast food joints. If true, and let's assume it is, that means some poor guy can't move to another restaurant that offers more money, better hours and perhaps free tartar sauce for the fried fish. All ridiculously unfair.
STATEWIDE - Retirees in the New Jersey pension system likely care much more about annual returns than where the money is invested. But the Record reports that Gov. Phil Murphy also wants to make sure the $77 billion pension fund includes plenty of social and environmental justice. With such heavy investments, the state can actually bully companies to change the way they do business. To show its might, the State Investment Council has pulled away from a company that makes high-powered firearms, pressured two private-equity firms not to foreclose on Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria and told Target to avoid trucking companies that classify their drivers as contractors rather than employees. All good, retirees shrug, as long as the returns stay strong. Meanwhile, when's that tee time?
SOMEWHERE - A very rare orchid's precise location is now a closely guarded state secret. An intrepid botanist recently stumbled upon a single "small whorled pogonia" somewhere in Sussex County's sprawling Stokes State Forest. DEP officials call it a "mind-boggling miracle," telling NJ.com that it heralds "a healthy forest ecosystem." But, they're afraid some wannabe Indiana Jones may try to find, trample or unearth this elusive orchid. Doubtful, right? This is Jersey. If we can't tax it or smoke it - to heck with it.
EAST RUTHERFORD - A player for the New York Giants has some colorful words for TSA agents, who spilled his mother's ashes while rummaging through this luggage. Taking to Twitter yesterday, A.J. Francis called the TSA workers "pieces of s--t," adding that "next time you a--holes feel the need to go through my mother's ashes for no reason, make sure you close it back so her remains aren't spilled on all my clothes." Francis also added, for good measure, "the least you pieces of garbage can do is your f-ing job." The TSA response? Offering "apologies and our condolences" via Twitter, adding "We understand the emotional stress travelers are under when transporting the remains of a loved one." The Francis response? "Under all circumstances, f--k yourself."
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
HUDSON, Fla. - Here's one way to avoid lawn work: Have a heart attack and hope the emergency responders do it. A Florida man was rushing to get the work done to avoid a fine from the homeowner's association. Apparently, the pressure got to him, prompting a heart attack. In the ambulance, still worried about that damn fine, he implored his wife to save the grass from dying, as he drifted in and out of consciousness. Pasco County firefighters took notice of the desperate man's plight, with seven of them later returning to his house to complete the lawn work. Nice, but now the homeowner's association wants to know the deal with those overgrown hedges.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2014 that the mobile game "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" became one of the top three downloads in the free app category on Apple. For the countless many who have never played it, nor even knew it existed, here is a snapshot: It's all about shamelessly increasing your fame, as you claw your way to the A-list. Like Kardashian, it requires zero talent.
WORD OF THE DAY
Transmogrify - [trans-MAH-grə-fye] - verb
Definition: To change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect
Example: For those of us with zero interest in cleaning our gutters, the captured leaves eventually transmogrify into fetid, fecund compost.
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
a Jaffe Briefing exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun